Optimize Electronic Signatures in Your Company’s Procurement Process

  • by M. S. Baraneedharan, SAP Consultant, Infosys Ltd.
  • January 10, 2013
Discover how to implement electronic signatures into purchasing documents. Learn the steps involved in implementing e-signatures into SAP purchasing documents. Learn how to store signatures in Business Document Server graphics and then append signatures into forms.
Key Concept
Electronic signatures are about capturing images of buyers’ signatures, storing them in a repository, and appending them to forms whenever a purchasing document is printed, transmitted through an Intermediate Document (IDoc) to an external system, or emailed. Capturing images involves managing Business Document Server graphics and processing them in the background. Signature repository management function involves adding signatories, changing signatories, viewing signatories, and deleting signatories.

I was recently involved in the implementation of electronic signatures (e-signatures) into the SAP procurement processes of a major auto company. When e-signatures were implemented into new purchasing documents, I noticed the need to extend this functionality to old active purchasing documents so that when they are changed or viewed, they can be printed or emailed with e-signatures.

Current purchasing scenarios of major auto industries involve manual signatures (buyer needs to print, sign, and scan) in purchasing documents such as purchase orders, contracts, and scheduling agreements. Adding e-signatures functionality into purchasing documents benefits companies by saving time, meeting urgent business requirements, increasing security, archiving functionality of the documents, saving money on paper costs, and promoting a green environment.

This article focuses on implementing e-signatures that append buyers’ signatures to purchasing documents when they are printed or emailed to vendors using Business Document Server (BDS) graphics and functionalities in SAP scripts and smart forms. This e-signature functionality fits into direct procurement, indirect procurement of purchasing scenarios, and purchasing documents such as purchase orders, contracts, and scheduling agreements. The following topics will help you in implementing e-signatures for your company:

  • Functional requirements
  • Technical requirements
  • Storing signatures in BDS graphics
  • Background processing of BDS graphics
  • Signature repository maintenance
  • Forms, image specification, and standardization
  • Releasing documents
  • Security considerations
  • Additional features

M. S. Baraneedharan

M.S. Baraneedharan has more than 13 years of professional experience, including more than eight years of SAP consulting experience in materials management (MM), Supplier Relationship Management (SRM), Warehouse Management, and sales and distribution (SD). He has been an SAP consultant at Infosys since July 2008. Currently, he is the SAP MM lead in a transfer price setup automation project to reflect the market price changes and any material economics-related price changes to the appropriate material groups for a leading automotive Fortune 500 client. He has worked in an SAP implementation project for one of the largest energy companies and SAP global roll-out projects for the largest chip manufacturing company. He holds a business technology degree from the premier technical university from India.

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