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procurement

How Easy Can Implementation Be?

As well as reducing pricing dramatically, the rise of stand-alone, best-of-breed tools to strengthen procurement processes and improve efficiency has brought another key benefit - easy implementation.

Whenever we’re talking to potential customers, one question we’re always asked is “How easy / quick is it to implement?”. The answer is: “It’s very easy (you don’t need any involvement from IT on your end), and it’s very quick (you can be up and running in a fully configured environment in as little as one day)”. This is still a surprising answer to some, but it’s becoming increasingly normal for this kind of technology. Gone are the days of lengthy, complex and costly projects just to get the thing off the ground.

To give a real-life example, recently we were contacted on a Monday evening by an organisation who were looking for a more robust and efficient way of managing and reporting their savings than their current spreadsheet-based process. On the Tuesday we provided a demo of our system via a web meeting. On the Wednesday we discussed the data we needed to build and configure a tailored environment for them (their category taxonomy, organisation structure, savings types, approval rules etc). On the Friday we received their data, built and configured their environment, and provided access to their super-users to check everything out.

During the week after we conducted web-based training sessions for all their users and they were up and running in the Tracker, having taken a huge step forward from their spreadsheet process in just a handful of days.

So just because something falls into the ‘technology’ bracket, doesn’t mean it needs to be complicated to buy and implement. If you’d like to understand how our Tracker can help your procurement team manage its cost reduction activity in a more efficient way – just get in touch and arrange a demo. If you like what you see, you could be using it this time next week!

News: Savings Tracker Version 5.3 Released

Managing your savings pipeline just got easier than ever as we release version 5.3 of our Savings Tracker this week. All our customers automatically receive the new version and can immediately use the added functionality.

At Provalido we’re not ashamed to say that we lean heavily on our customers to shape the future of our Savings Tracker. Almost all our upgrades come from ideas and suggestions made by our global user-base of more than 1,800 procurement and finance professionals. One of the reactions we often get from customers when we discuss pending changes is “We hadn’t thought of that but we would find that really useful!”. That’s the beauty of using a cloud based system where everyone benefits from an idea, whether it originated in your organisation or not, and best practise can quickly spread across the user community.

Highlights in this upgrade include the ability to configure and save multiple dashboards (both personal and organisation-wide), greater flexibility when managing project plans, improved reporting capabilities and an easier workflow. We’ve also added some more control functions for admin users so you can tailor your environment even further.

Although our Savings Tracker is now far more advanced than the original version 1.0 that we released back in May 2014, we have always been guided by two key principles. Keep it simple, and keep it flexible. Despite the generous functionality it’s now easier to create and manage projects than it was in the first version, and the system remains incredibly versatile so that no matter how you manage and report your savings, our Tracker can fit to your process.

If you’re still using spreadsheets to manage your cost reduction, or if you have another system that’s hard to use or not giving you exactly what you need, please do get in touch. We’re always happy to chat and provide a demo of our system so you can see for yourself just how it could help your organisation, and of course we hope that you too can help shape our future developments!

Managing that other Funnel

The sales funnel. It’s familiar to all of us, even those who have never worked in sales. The principle is easy to understand. Sales opportunities start at the top of the funnel. Some of the these opportunities fall out as the funnel narrows, until the actual sales drop from the bottom of the funnel. The funnel can also be referred to as a pipeline, but the principle is the same. It’s impossible to imagine a sales function not actively managing their sales pipeline in some way.

Yet what about procurement? There are direct comparisons with sales. The “opportunities” tracked and measured within a sales function are potential benefits to the organisation, usually in the form of increased revenue. These opportunities have a value and they have a likelihood of success that increases the further through the funnel they go. Each opportunity is managed by a person or a team of people, potentially going through a series of review points where approvals are made, and the benefits delivered to the business are forecasted and reported.

In procurement, our “opportunities” take lots of different forms from simple cost reduction, to demand reduction, to other forms of quantifiable value. These opportunities also have an increased likelihood of success as we progress through them. They are also managed by a person or team and go through a series of review points, and the benefits are forecasted and reported.

The parallel is striking, and yet how many procurement functions actively manage their pipeline? If it’s unthinkable for a sales department not to have full control and visibility of their pipeline, why should it be any different for a professional procurement department?

Just as sales teams are increasingly using cloud based solutions to manage their pipeline (62% of all CRM software will be cloud based by 2018), procurement teams should be doing the same. Managing your opportunity pipeline in such a system brings numerous benefits. It provides increased efficiency and visibility to cost reduction projects and also helps to embed a robust process, with the appropriate workflow and approval controls ensuring that opportunities are handled with a common approach, right from idea through to implementation. Ultimately it increases the credibility of the procurement function and the benefits being delivered.

Provalido’s Savings Tracker is designed to do just this. With decades of procurement experience going into the design our solution enables organisations to manage their cost reduction projects through their full lifecycle. It’s easy to use and also flexible so it’s fully compatible with your sourcing process, savings definitions etc.

We’d love to show you more, so for more information, or to arrange a demo, please contact us today.

News: Savings Tracker Version 4.3 Launched!

Version 4.3 of our Savings Tracker has now been launched and once again we have combined ideas from our customers into an enhancement package to make our Tracker even more useful and easy to use.

With now well over 1,000 users across the world, it’s more important than ever that our Tracker is a great fit for all shapes and sizes of organisations and the different savings reporting processes they employ. As with all our upgrades, we have placed huge focus on getting the right balance between functionality, usability and flexibility while retaining all the benefits of a pure one-solution cloud-based infrastructure.

Highlights of the upgrade include the ability to manually or automatically identify monthly savings as realised or validated, the streamlining of new user set-up, the ability to restrict the viewing rights of users if required and the addition of several new reporting parameters. We have also included numerous enhancements to the user interface to make it easier than ever to update project information and navigate around.

If your organisation is struggling to keep on top of its procurement cost reduction activity and is looking for a way to hold and update all that information in one place, providing levels of visibility and control not possible in spreadsheets, then please get in touch. We would be delighted to have a chat with you and provide a full demo of our Tracker.

Case Study: Sapa takes its savings reporting to the next level with Provalido

Sapa’s central strategic procurement function had been closely tracking savings for many years, but they were increasingly aware that their spread-sheet based system for collating and reporting savings was becoming difficult to maintain and manage due to the sheer amount of data and number of users. A decision was made to find a new solution for tracking cost reduction projects and reporting savings that met the following basic criteria:

·       Cloud based (software as a service)

·       Simple to use

·       Ability to handle local and central projects

·       Approval functionality

·       Ability to handle 200+ users at 100+ sites globally

·       Capacity to handle 1,500+ projects per annum, plus the upload of historic data

·       Cost effective

Following a robust sourcing process, Sapa selected Provalido as their new savings tracking provider.

In order to fully meet Sapa’s specific requirements, in particular the ability to manage projects at a central level with approvals at a local level, some enhancements were required to the Provalido tool. A workshop was held to fully discuss and identify the best way to implement these requirements. At the same time an implementation plan was agreed. From start to finish, implementation was achieved in 7 weeks, which was exactly on plan. This included:

·       Coding, validating and testing the enhancements.

·       Uploading Sapa’s category hierarchy, organisational structure as well as data from over 1,500 historic projects into the Tracker.

·       Creating bespoke User Guides to match Sapa’s processes.

·       Conducting training for 200 users via 14 web-based training sessions

Sapa went live in January 2015, and in the first 3 months following implementation over 80% of the users were active in the system, showing an extremely healthy level of adoption. As with all Provalido’s customers, Sapa continues to play an active role in suggesting further enhancements and new functionality within the Tracker.

Peter den Dikken, Vice President of Strategic Sourcing at Sapa said:

“The Provalido Savings Tracker has greatly enhanced the way we report our savings, giving us more control, efficiency, visibility and credibility. The service and collaborative approach that has accompanied the SaaS solution has also been outstanding, and I would whole-heartedly recommend Provalido to any organisation looking to upgrade their savings tracking technology and process.”

Paul Gurr, Managing Director at Provalido said:

“We are delighted to count Sapa among our customer base. They have a thoughtful and progressive approach to measuring procurement savings and their valued input continues to help our Savings Tracker evolve which benefits all our customers.”

About Sapa

Sapa A/S is the world leader in aluminium solutions, shaping a lighter future through a global reach and local presence within extrusions, building systems, and precision tubing. Sapa has 23,500 employees in more than 40 countries, with headquarters in Oslo, Norway.

For more information please visit www.sapagroup.com

About Provalido

Provalido is the provider of an on-line SaaS solution that helps organisations plan, manage and report their procurement cost reduction activity. Based in the UK, Provalido has customers in 6 continents.

For more information and to find out how Provalido's Savings Tracker can transform the way you manage your savings, please visit www.provalido.com

News: Provalido Announces Odesma Contract

Following on from our partnership agreement revealed earlier in the year, Provalido is delighted to announce a contract with Odesma Ltd to provide our Savings Tracker for use on a major procurement transformation programme Odesma is delivering for a global FTSE 250 customer.

Odesma’s team of category experts will be using Provalido’s cloud based Savings Tracker to manage and report their transformation projects, from the creation of ideas through to implemented savings.

Stakeholders at Odesma’s client will have access to the Tracker for real-time visibility of the programme and the benefits being delivered at a macro and micro level, as well as using the workflow functionality to approve projects at key milestones.

Paul Gurr, Managing Director of Provalido said “We’re proud to be a part of the best-in-class technology portfolio that Odesma is utilising to support this significant programme. This contract also expands our user base into a 6th continent making the Tracker a truly global tool.”

Ed Cross, Managing Director of Odesma said “Underpinning our delivery with the best technology is vital and the Provalido Tracker brings efficiency and transparency to our benefits reporting, being extremely simple for both our consultants and our client to use.”

Provalido Ltd is the provider of a cloud based savings tracking solution that helps organisations plan, manage and report their procurement cost reduction initiatives.

Odesma is a new breed of advisory business whose goal is to help clients create immediate and sustainable improvements in the performance of their business. This is done through a combination of experience and application of the best talent and technology in the market. Business & procurement solutions are enabled through the unique Procurement PeopleCloud TM.

For further information please contact:

Paul Gurr, Provalido Ltd

paul.gurr@provalido.com   +44 (0) 20 3287 7607   www.provalido.com

Ed Cross, Odesma Ltd

edward.cross@odesma.co.uk   +44 (0) 161 433 7833   www.odesma.co.uk

News: Savings Tracker Version 4.1 Live Today!

We are pleased to announce that version 4.1 of our Savings Tracker is now live. This is an incremental upgrade on the previous version and highlights include:

  • Additional Quick Buttons on the home page to take you straight into creating a project or managing your approvals.
  • Simplified approval functionality. Approvers can now see all their pending approvals in one list and are presented with an Approval Summary Report for each project, providing all the information needed to make an approval in one place.
  • Customised project creation process. Clients can now more easily select which information should be completed by their users when creating projects and in what order this should be presented.
  • Two new types of custom field have been added – number and multi-select dropdown. You can also now change the display order of custom fields.
  • Various minor improvements to the reporting including grand totals on project reports and the addition of countries as a filter.

Most of these enhancements are the result of direct feedback from our customers and help to make our Savings Tracker easier to use than ever. If you’re not a customer, contact us today to find out how our Tracker could transform your cost reduction planning, management and reporting.

 

6 Tips for Building Your 2016 Savings Pipeline

It’s getting to that time again when procurement folks, egged on by their finance colleagues, cast their eyes towards the next calendar year and start to put together a savings pipeline. For some organisations this in an ongoing iterative process, for others it’s typically an annual cycle. Whichever way you do it, here are 6 tips for building a savings pipeline.

1.     Tackle at least a third of your managed spend. It’s good practice to address most areas of spend at least every 3 years, so therefore at least a third should be looked at each year. In many cases, this should be more frequent, so treat a third as a minimum.

2.     Don’t be constrained. It’s easy to dismiss for example spend that’s under a long term contract, but although a long term contract may restrict what you can do, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no room for cost reduction. Savings can take many forms including demand management, efficiency improvement etc, so it’s not all about reducing prices. Equally don’t be constrained by what has or hasn’t been done before. Think creatively.

3.     Look for areas of spend where there have been changes. These could be commodities where supply & demand has fluctuated, or it could be supply markets where there has been recent consolidation or innovation. The change could also be internally driven like a dramatic increase in demand. Change often brings opportunities for cost reduction.

4.     Engage with stakeholders and other areas of the business. Ask them for ideas and discuss your thoughts with them. As well as generating more opportunities, communication and inclusion at the front end should help with buy-in further down the line.

5.     Be realistic. Treat the pipeline like a funnel. Just as a sales funnel narrows down, expect your savings funnel to do the same. Not every idea will come to fruition as a saving. Therefore, apply a probability to your ideas and make sure you have enough to ultimately reach your savings target. Also be realistic about timescales. Allow sufficient time for implementation and make sure projects are started in good time in order to maximize the return within the year.

6.     Track how accurate your forecast is. Your pipeline will produce a savings forecast. We all know that some people are prone to be too bullish about what can be achieved while others will naturally “sand-bag”, but in order to improve your forecasting capability for the future, keep a track of how your forecast evolves over time and how it compares to the realized numbers when they start rolling in. If you’re spot on, this will add credibility to your forecast next year, if you’re not, then find out why and figure out what you can change to become more accurate.

So have fun building your pipeline and creating a savings forecast, and if you'd like the convenience of doing this all in an on-line tool where you can also then manage your projects and report your realised savings then of course we'd be delighted to hear from you here at Provalido!

News: Savings Tracker Version 4.0 Now Live!

We’re delighted to announce another major upgrade to our class-leading Savings Tracker as it continues to evolve at a rapid rate. Highlights of the new version are:

  • A new reporting engine that provides over 2,000 variations of reports with an intuitive report-building interface.
  • Enhanced drill-down capability to get right into the detail of where your savings are coming from.
  • A fully configurable dashboard on the Home Page enabling you to see exactly the information you need each time you log-in.
  • Numerous other usability improvements to make creating and updating your savings projects easier than ever before.

If keeping your savings planning and reporting up to date is giving you a headache, take a look at our Tracker and see how easy it could be to get instant visibility and control of all your cost reduction activity. Take a free 30 day trial or ask us for a full demo today.

The Provalido Savings Tracker is an on-line solution that enables organisations to plan, manage and report their cost reduction activity in one easy-to-use tool. It’s suited to all sizes and types of organisation and is currently being enjoyed by customers in over 30 countries.

Why Procurement Savings are still Relevant

Apparently, best in class procurement has moved away from focusing on savings. Instead, it focuses on “creating value”. After all, just trying to spend less is not a good way to grow a business and it’s uncool to spend too much time thinking about procurement savings - you’ll look like a dinosaur. Besides, if procurement is doing its job right then won’t the potential for savings evaporate over time anyway?

I’d like to disagree.

While savings are not the only focus of a procurement department, they remain an important metric and will continue to do so. Here are 2 reasons why.

1. Change happens.

Why do we never reach that procurement utopia where the pricing is optimised and there are no more savings available? Because things change.

Change is inevitable, and this means adjustments need to be made. What made sense from a procurement perspective last year, may not make any sense this year. The change can relate to your own organisation, your suppliers, the markets you’re selling into or the markets you’re buying from. With change comes the opportunity to reduce costs. Just look at any press release about a merger or acquisition and procurement savings will be referenced as a key benefit.

Innovation also brings change. Innovation is a great buzzword for procurement but it’s not the innovation itself that’s the goal, it’s the increased profit that it can bring. This may be purely through revenue growth, but more often than not, it will also include cost savings.

2. Savings are a tangible measurement.

There are many KPIs that can be used to measure the effectiveness of procurement organisations, and I’m not advocating purely measuring on savings, but let’s face it, compared to other measurements savings are tangible, real, they’re actual money and (relatively) easy to measure. The fact we often make a mess of measuring savings is the topic of another article. Just as it’s easy to give sales professionals sales targets, it’s easy to give procurement professionals savings targets.

We look after our own money by switching to the best broadband deal, or using price comparison websites to minimise insurance costs and organisations expect their procurement departments to behave in the same way. CFOs will invariably look to Procurement for savings and the majority of advertisements for procurement roles today, both junior and senior, refer to “delivering procurement savings” or “setting savings targets” and such like.

Savings are like Lego 

Most of us probably played with Lego in our youth, and despite some tough times in the 1990s it’s as popular as ever today. Despite staying fundamentally the same, it’s reinvented itself over the years and become smarter in order to stay relevant. Savings may have suffered some image issues in recent years due to the lack of credibility in many numbers being reported, but by becoming smarter in the way we track and report, savings too have been reinvented and are as relevant as ever in today’s environment.

So go on. Embrace that savings target. Deliver that benefit. Those savings are here to stay.