E-auction adoption saves Probrand time and money

19 January 2012

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19 January 2012 | Angeline Albert

Purchasers at IT supplier Probrand have stopped “wasting” 50 per cent of their day placing orders for goods and saved money by adopting e-auction software.

The development of the Acumen software by the company’s technology supplier Mercato Solutions has meant Probrand’s buyers have been able to focus on more strategic procurement work, instead of ordering 500 items each day to meet a 48-hour turnaround time to customers.

Probrand is a reseller of branded computer products to the private and public sector, and was highly commended in the Best purchasing initiative by an SME category at the 2011 CIPS Supply Management Awards.

The company now accesses more than 5,000 quotes for goods per day without the need for multiple phone calls and emails from the company’s purchasers to suppliers.

Ian Nethercot, purchasing manager at Probrand - which has an annual procurement spend of £40 million - said: “Acumen has meant we have saved buyers’ time and therefore not needed to take on any more purchasers in the last three years. In recruitment costs alone we’ve saved £100,000 per year for the last two years.” There are currently eight staff members in the procurement team.

With daily price fluctuations for 150,000 products, the e-auction helped the company source hard disk drives quickly at a good price and quantity, despite the floods in Thailand that resulted in price increases of up to 200 per cent on certain hard disk drives.

“We have virtually eliminated any supplier disputes,” Nethercot added, explaining that quotations through Acumen are date and time stamped and a full history is recorded. Because of this the business can pay its suppliers early which results in higher credit limits and better cash flow.

Distributors also benefit by using the software’s quotation history to determine what business they are winning. Nethercot added: “Distributors see where they need to adjust pricing to win more business. This drives business to the distributor and gives Probrand a cheaper price in the long term.”


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