The company's CFO set a task to review procurement process and introduce a new IT-solution that would reduce labor costs and make the processes quick and usable. As part of the project, it was necessary to automate sourcing, P2P (procure-to-pay), and contract management. Changes in procurement processes should have helped to outperform a competitor in terms of profitability.
Major Russian food retailer. The company operated several retail chains, including “corner stores”, supermarkets, and hypermarkets. Over 5,000 stores in total.
Consulting in Procurement
October 2013 – November 2013
For non-market purchases, SAP ERP system and the in-house e-trading platform were used. At the same time, procurement process was complicated, time-consuming, and bureaucratized. Manual operations and paperwork took a lot of time. Most of purchases were performed by business units. In one category, there were 5-7 customers who purchased a similar range from different suppliers. No volumes consolidation took place. There was no single system where all specification requirements, bids, and contracts would be accumulated.
With the current ERP system, obtaining all the data on purchases was impossible. During the audit, we collected information from several sources. We conducted 52 interviews with the employees and reviewed 26 procurement regulations. We found out that the regulations were not respected, they contained duplications and contradictions. We assessed purchasing spend, staff time, procurement terms, and identified the categories critical for business.
We described the current process and pointed out the shortcomings – duplication of functions, incorrect distribution of responsibilities, paper-based processes, IT systems were used occasionally. We revealed systemic problems – only 20% costs coverage by the department, absence of a single procurement department for retail chains and functions, a large amount of one-time purchases – over 50%.
We reviewed the existing IT-systems and found weaknesses in terms of usability and functionality. We reviewed purchasing spend in the context of suppliers, categories, and contracts. We defined the potential for consolidation and cost optimization for specific categories.
We suggested that in that situation, the company was not likely to get the desired effect from automation. Therefore, we proposed to set up indirect procurement function and process and then to automate it. The company’s CFO agreed with this approach.
We developed an alternative procurement process model and responsibility split. We identified the categories to be covered. We introduced basic principles for procurement operations and then determined optimal organizational structure for procurement function. We set up a schedule for deployment of a new process model regarding automation. We identified pilot units, project team, budget.
Due to the limited budget and incomplete use of IT-system, it was decided to update the existing tool. As the next step, we planned to launch more advanced cloud systems for automation.
The project revealed deep-seated problems, so the recommendations were aimed at bringing the procurement system in order.
Recommendations made on:
Chief Financial Officer for Retail Company
“First, we wanted only to automate procurement. But after the analysis phase, we realized that the problem was much deeper. You cannot automate the chaos – you must first put the processes and structure in order, establish basic principles in terms of indirect purchasing. Our colleagues from PrECA helped us discover the problems that we did not see. And they showed us the functionality that we had but did not use. We realized that first you need to fully use what you already have before introducing something new”.
Procurement Methodology and Best Practices
Knowledge and experience in reengineering and procurement automation
Business Process Consultant
“In a big company, purchasing processes are always cumbersome and complex. They are associated with involving many employees who seek to control everything. We tried to simplify the processes and approvals, set up a clear chain of decision making. It was difficult to understand how things were arranged, so we took data from the ERP system and conducted interviews. When we had the total picture, we developed and proposed a new procurement model. This project demonstrated that procurement reengineering is a story about the whole company. The procurement department is responsible for a small part of procurement cycle, so the changes apply to all departments.”
Submit a request if your company faces similar issues. We will conduct express diagnostics of your procurement process and, will explain what can be improved at a consultation.