Prior to implementing Proactis, RPMI's process for buying goods and services was a largely manual system. Employees would simply pick up the phone or send an email to a supplier. Budgetary control was limited. Furthermore, the Finance department only got involved once an invoice was received.
There were a number of challenges. [Name], Financial Controller for RPMI, highlights some of the key concerns:
'There were poor controls around purchasing and insufficient linkage to budgets. Invoices would be received, and a report listing payments to be made would be sent to budget holders to approve. By this time goods may have been received and it’s a bit late to be saying "actually, I don’t agree with buying this"...
.. The system was also slow and provided insufficient information. The worst that could happen would be for a supplier to ring up and say "you haven’t paid us" and then for us to be saying "actually the invoice is lost or we don’t know where we are with it. Can you send another one?" In all likelihood the supplier was calling because payment was overdue; putting it through systems again was adding even more delay.’
Concerns about purchasing resulted in a decision to invest. The following summarises key requirements. The new system would have to...
In selecting Proactis, RPMI choose a system with proven integration with their finance system – Infor SunSystems. Importantly, they saw in Proactis a system that would be easy to roll out across the organisation and would provide a close fit to their requirements.
'If you are going from a situation where there is little control to one where you are making people follow new procedures it is important that the new system be easy to use. We looked at a couple of other systems but Proactis just seemed a much better fit for our needs. It seemed more user-friendly and is more intuitive than the other systems we looked at.'
Subsequent experience of the system has proved their initial assessment to be correct. Proactis has been well received. With nearly 50 people across the organisation using Proactis all purchase orders are being raised through the new system.
'We have been receiving positive feedback from around the organisation. People are finding it very intuitive and they understand why they are being made to use it. With only half an hour or an hours training session they have been able to pick the system up and use it.'
Consequently, RPMI are now enjoying the benefits of greater control and improved visibility.
'One of the great things about Proactis is that it logs invoices as they come in and budget holders get electronic copies of everything they are asked to approve. They can drill to an image of the invoice there and then. And when suppliers ring up and say "we haven’t been paid", my team say you haven’t been paid because it hasn’t been approved and it’s with "so-and-so" for approval. We now have much improved visibility of where invoices are in the system.'
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