The Housing sector is under increased pressure in the next few years with the directive from the Government for Rent Reduction and reduction in funding generally, the sector needs to quickly look at alternative and innovative ways to make savings.
Clearly as a B2B spend management provider we know there are savings to be realised but why is now the right time for the Housing sector to get serious about eProcurement, eMarketplace and Spend Analytics solutions?
The sector needs to deliver more with less but without impacting the quality of service to tenants. Thoughts turn to the back office and how can you drive both bottom line and efficiency savings that mean you can still deliver a quality service.
Enabling controlled and accountable buying, removing paper and manual processes and having the ability to really forensically analyse spend will enable the quick wins that the Housing sector needs to be focused on up until 2020.
So what have you been waiting for?
The majority (but not all) eProcurement and eMarketplace solutions are Cloud based which means that the reliance on ICT resources or knowledge to implement or support such a solution is minimised.
Being Cloud based means you can embrace both centralised or field based working by those that need to access the solution with just a simple internet connection.
Integration to the main ERP solutions for the sector generally comes as standard either for an eMarketplace or a wider eProcurement solution meaning that you don’t need to spend money on creating or maintaining bespoke integrations and can leverage solutions you already have in place.
Having a Supplier engagement Model that allows you to engage with suppliers of all sizes and complexity is now something that can be achieved with the right support from your provider.
Supplier Onboarding is key and having technology that supports you through this process to make it as painless as possible for both Buyer and Supplier now accelerates the time to value for Housing Organisations.
Being able to trade with your suppliers large and small via the same platform gives efficiencies around areas such as electronic trading with eInvoicing and solutions to suit all sizes and technology capability (XML, PO Flip, PDF / XML).
Ease of Use
As a Housing organisation you want to be able to roll something out that requires very little (if any) end user training and encourages your users to purchase via the contracted route giving you more visibility over the spend on categories, contracts, suppliers and drives compliance.
An easy to use search facility is key, but also features, such as the ability to very quickly filter by price, pack size, category, Supplier etc. will help users navigate quickly to what they need and not look to source via alternative methods. Advanced eMarketplace solutions will also offer ability to easily compare products is also a feature to look out for so you can help users make an informed buying decision.
Not everything fits in a catalogue
There are some things that your users will need to order that just don’t fit well in a traditional catalogue. Advanced solutions can now offer you the ability to capture more complex areas of spend (Plant / Skip Hire, Estate Services) as well as all the standard catalogue items (Catering, Furniture, Office Supplies, Equipment Hire, Electrical). Now Housing organisations can capture more spend and again realise more value and savings from an integrated solution.
To PunchOut or not to PunchOut?
There are some very good reasons for having PunchOut facilities directly from the eMarketplace. For example, where items are highly configurable (e.g. IT equipment) or where live stock updates are required.
Where eMarketplaces just become a series of PunchOuts, then the “ease of use” suffers as users have to navigate different websites and the ability to compare across Suppliers becomes much more difficult so users tend to go for what they find first rather than looking across available Suppliers.
A marketplace that can provide the right mix of Supplier and Buyer Managed Catalogues and provide PunchOut where needed can accelerate both the initial savings and drive the longer-term efficiencies needed.
Analyse that spend!!!
The use of Artificial Intelligence is now becoming mainstream and integrated into Spend Analytics solutions to help you organise, validate, categorise large volumes of potentially disparate data sets. This would allow a Housing Organisation in as little as 6 weeks to have a forensic view of their supplier profile and spend. Identifying areas of spend consolidation, immediate savings and also alerting potential risk around supplier engagement.
Why Science Warehouse?
Science Warehouse has been supporting customers (and their Suppliers) through their Spend projects for the last 17 years and have a wealth of experience in this area. We have, for a long time, been expanding our procurement services away from our “Science” background and support organisations in delivering savings in a wide range of sectors including Education, Government, NHS, and Housing.
Contact us for a free Procurement Readiness Assessment.
Science Warehouse are exhibiting at the CIH Housing event on the 27th-29th June