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22 August 2011 | Angeline Albert
Weetabix is replacing a 30-year-old paper-based purchasing process as part of a wider effort to update its procurement systems.
The UK cereal manufacturer, owned by private equity group Lion Capital, will use a software-as-a-service (SaaS) process, a software delivery model in which software and associated data are hosted centrally and are typically accessed by users via a web browser over the internet.
The company hopes the e-procurement software will encourage staff to use its preferred suppliers. It will also save time by replacing paper purchase-orders and manual data entry, and give the organisation’s 400 users access to 1,100 suppliers.
Weetabix handles around 50,000 purchase orders a year.
Head of procurement Anthony Bowdidge, who manages an eight-strong team and oversees a £200 million-a-year purchasing spend, said: “Our number one driver is to gain visibility of spend and contract compliance. We want our percentage of spend through preferred suppliers to be more than 90 per cent and this system will enable us to manage those contracts and control that expenditure.”
He describes the SaaS system, hosted by Wax Digital, as similar to online shopping and said he hoped it would reduce the time taken to raise a purchase order by at least 50 per cent. The system is scheduled to go live in November and will be integrated with Weetabix’s finance system as part of a wider transformation of procurement’s IT processes.
In 2004, Latimer Group, a company incorporated by Lion Capital, acquired all of the issued share capital of Weetabix. The Latimer Group’s 2010 financial results, published in January, showed 2010 was the first year of a three-year efficiency programme, for which the company said it is already seeing benefits in the UK and US. During the year, a cost reduction specialist identified internal efficiency opportunities at the group, leading to programme management offices being set up in the UK to monitor and control progress on cost savings opportunities.