The Metropolitan Police has introduced a purchase-to-pay (P2P) system to transform the way it procures goods and services.
Vicky Morgan, director of procurement operations at the service, said the iBuy system has helped improve customer service, reduce processing costs, improve financial reporting and balance costs.
Speaking at the eWorld Purchasing and Supply conference in London yesterday, Morgan explained that she thought introducing such a system would be the main part of the transformation project. But she soon found out business process and change management were bigger hurdles.
To further improve the system, Morgan launched iBuy Plus to introduce “a very different way of working”. Staff are now required to make every purchase order themselves, and Morgan has reduced the numerous levels of approvals. Before this system, an order would have to be approved by around three people.
“That’s been a huge challenge for our customers to understand because it’s taking account for their own ordering,” said Morgan. “The way [I look at it is] how much does it cost the borough commander to approve an order?”
Morgan, who joined the Met three-and-a-half years ago, aims to have 85 per cent of items in the catalogue for the P2P system, and has currently reached 50 per cent.
She explained the transformation has taught her a lot about customer culture. “If we can [avoid] affecting the way they work then it’s very good,” Morgan said. Another learning curve was “challenging the as is”. “We have to stop doing things the way we have always done," she added.
“I think [the staff’s] attitude to risk is very low. When I look back they have not gone mad [when ordering]. Some have ordered quite a lot of pairs trousers, but I’m not here to question what they should buy, I’m here to help make that process easier.”
Morgan also said the one thing she would have done differently was not to begin with such a large and emotive item such as uniform, which is the Met’s biggest spend.