Tighter control over how taxpayers’ money is spent is a constant challenge affecting councils throughout the UK, particularly with internal expenditure which is essential in order for councils to operate. Without effective and controlled business processes in place, indirect spend for office supplies and consumables can quickly escalate and exceed budgets.
Enabling greater control over indirect spend was the challenge facing Enfield Council when they contacted leading SAP® consultancy, Absoft, for a solution to streamlining purchase requisition and approval processes.
Established in 1991, Absoft specialises in developing SAP solutions which optimise business processes for organisations who plan to invest in, or already operate, SAP ERP software.
Absoft owner Ian Mechie said: “We take pride in immersing ourselves in our customers’ procedures to find the optimum solution. Our work with Enfield Council saw our consultants lead a Technical Design workshop which highlighted the need for a solution which could streamline purchase requisitions for office consumables, whilst ensuring that management have necessary budget information on hand to effectively approve or reject an order.
“Using the latest and intuitive SAP user-interface (SAP UI5) has improved navigation and accelerated user-adoption. Our consultants helped to achieve this by developing customised templates which were powered by Neptune Software, a specialist consultancy firm which develops cost efficient, secure and user-friendly SAP functionality for deployment on desktop and handheld devices.”
The self-service procurement solution consisted of several key features including a simple workflow, which guides users through creation of a shopping cart, eliminating the need for SAP training. The solution also integrates with vendor websites, allowing users to access online supplier catalogues and transfer items from their checkout basket directly into the solution before creating a purchase requisition.
Enfield Council ensured that the solution had cost controlled mechanisms in place – users can only create a shopping cart within their authorised expenditure limits and send orders to their designated approver. The use of an effective early warning traffic lights system also gives users an awareness of existing budget commitments.
The self-service procurement solution has superseded the council’s existing SAP Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) module – an aging version which was no longer supported by SAP without investment in an upgrade.
Maria Duke, procurement lead IT at Enfield council commented: “It’s been a great opportunity to work with Absoft to design a procurement system to fit Enfield’s needs based on the Neptune model. The Neptune Solution is a great basis to help staff to follow the procurement process, and with specific enhancements we have tailored our new procurement system to ensure all users have a clear understanding of the benefits it contains.”
The solution has already shown signs of improved efficiencies within procure-to-pay processes, including improved data quality capture in SAP, with less paper-based admin or over expenditure. As part of continuous improvement, Absoft continues to work with Enfield Council to evolve the solution and maximise the user-experience.
Absoft demonstrated the self-service procurement solution at SAP’s annual Scottish Special Interest Group in Glasgow, and will further showcase the solution this week as an exhibitor at Connect 2016, SAP’s flagship User Group Conference in Birmingham between 20th – 22nd November.
Find out more about our Self Service Procurement Solution or download the case study below.