Technology links Nationwide's 'fragmented' purchasing process

28 September 2012

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28 September 2012 | Anna Reynolds

Nationwide Building Society has changed the way it buys through implementing cloud e-procurement technology across the business.

Speaking at the eWorld Purchasing & Supply Conference yesterday, Barry Hooper, head of procurement at Nationwide, said the technology has “joined the dots of the fragmented procurement processes in our business”.

Hooper said rather than have consultants dictate the new system, provided by Hubwoo, Nationwide trained its internal procurement team to learn to use the technology and there are now 55 purchasing staff ready to support other users in the business when using the system.

Hooper said Nationwide’s existing procurement processes were largely manual and inefficient: “We had separate buying teams not talking to each other and didn’t have the ability to map our spend.”

While the incentive to change was driven by Nationwide’s procurement team, Hooper said the new system has brought the whole business together. “It is an integrated solution and requires engagement with all departments including legal, finance, HR.”

Nationwide has also introduced corporate credit cards for expenses and travel which direct spend to relevant suppliers.

Research by the Aberdeen Group has shown that switching to e-procurement can generate savings of between 5 and 20 per cent. According to Hooper, the benefits for Nationwide are already beginning to show. Through an automated procure-to-pay process, payment turnaround times are quicker, which has improved supplier relationships.

To implement technology well, Hooper advised: “Engaging procurement teams upfront is key to success.”

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