Mace, one of the leading and most innovative project and construction management companies committed to exploiting the benefits of e-commerce, have realised savings of 20% on transaction costs through the use of Asite by streamlining and automating business processes.
Best known for providing construction management services, Mace is developing a service whereby they can deliver a solution for serial procurers of buildings at a fixed price. As they are taking on more project risk and working closely with selected members of their supply chain more intensively, Mace wanted to trial an e-procurement scheme to both reduce its transaction costs and to obtain better control of the purchases made by its head-office and UK project offices. Asite's e-procurement solution was implemented to streamline the repeat purchase process and make critical savings for Mace and their suppliers.
The challenge for Asite was to review the systems and processes of six suppliers involved in the delivery of indirect goods and provide an e-procurement solution enabling staff at Mace headquarters or from any of Mace's project offices to order any of the suppliers' products electronically rather than rely on the phone, post or fax. The trial was successfully completed and Mace considered extending Asite's use throughout its business.
Asite allows Mace to make the transition to e-purchasing without having to invest a penny in new IT equipment. All that is needed is a PC with an internet connection and the right authorisation codes for Asite's security checks. Asite worked with Mace to configure the purchasing authority given to different users of the system to reflect internal hierarchies. In this way, purchasing can be controlled by product and level of expenditure, defining who can buy what within the company and who it should be authorised by.
Around 70 of the Mace staff were trained to use Asite - from procurement managers to admin staff, as well as staff from the six suppliers. To make a purchase is very simple, Mace employees log-on to Asite, where the bespoke Mace catalogue is hosted, and use the Asite eProcurement. They then select products from hosted suppliers' catalogues that have been created specifically for Mace, showing only pre-negotiated prices. Next, they raise purchase orders, which can be accessed by their suppliers, again through Asite.
When suppliers receive an order, they can check availability, send instant confirmation back to Mace and inform them of delivery schedules. Invoicing and payment is also done electronically. Mace can also use Asite to send suppliers orders by fax in the event that this is needed.
Mace saved approximately 20% of transaction costs on items produced online. Contributing to the cost savings, Ian Eggers from Mace reports that the number of queries and delays to orders has reduced; accuracy has increased and reconciliation of invoices to purchase orders, and orders to deliveries, is now streamlined. There is also far greater transparency in the buying process. Using Asite enables Mace to access and gather vital management information from all their purchases across the organisation by product and supplier.
The practice of ad-hoc buying from non-approved suppliers is eradicated, eliminating the risk of inappropriate goods being ordered. This allows the organisation to negotiate advantageous prices with a limited number of preferred suppliers. Mace is able to submit all its reimbursable preliminaries promptly to its client without the risk of stray invoices from suppliers turning up weeks or months later.
Ian Eggers says staff have adapted rapidly to e-purchasing: "Now you walk around the office and see Asite on people's screens. We didn't have to invest in new hardware or software. You don't even need to be in a Mace office to use the system, you plug your laptop in, log onto Asite and away you go."
Mace is a professional management company that works predominantly in the property and construction sector. Its business is the management and delivery of the development, design and construction process from project inception to post completion aftercare.
Mace has formal and informal partnering arrangements with a number of clients, trade contractors and suppliers. These arrangements vary in scope, but are principally based upon the ability of the supply chain to deliver continuous improvements – to deliver projects faster, at a lower cost, to a higher quality and more safely.
"I thought it would take a lot longer to take off, but its already starting to happen." Ian Eggers, Director at Mace.
"There used to be paper everywhere, now you walk around the office and see Asite on people's screens." Ian Eggers, Director at Mace