Eurostar on track for big savings from online drive

18 March 2004
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18 March 2004 | David Arminas

Cross-Channel train operator Eurostar has pushed 60 per cent of its spend through its e-procurement system a year after installation.

Hugo Del Mar, corporate services procurement category manager, said the target was to move 80 per cent of its £255 million spend through e-procurement by the end of this year. He predicts substantial savings as the Oracle web-based system has replaced a manual one that relied on ringing up suppliers and faxing orders.

"We were using an older Oracle product for some business. This was updated and expanded for all procurement," he said.

Eurostar also set up supplier catalogues online and reduced suppliers from 8,000 to 4,000.

"The aim is to get this down further to 2,000 suppliers by the end of 2005."

A real benefit has been the amount of spend information allowing procurement to be more strategic, such as with accommodation spend, he said.

A recent restructuring called Project Jupiter put in place a single management team running across the UK, France and Belgium regions of the company.

The UK team leads procurement for corporate services including sales and marketing, IT, professional services and travel and accommodation, as well as on-board services including terminal and train security.

Train maintenance continues to be split between Eurostar in the UK and the train operators SNCF in Paris and SNCB in Brussels.

But SNCF and SNCB are no longer part of the operating company Eurostar, and are now suppliers of both light and heavy maintenance for Eurostar trains.

"This will give Eurostar greater flexibility and more visibility of costs from the London office," Del Mar said.



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