Making e-Procurement Make Sense with A Real-World Example

Thursday, September 22, 2016

4 minute read

Making e-Procurement Make Sense with A Real-World Example

Beginning our series on the WeProcurement™, my previous post took a look at what it means to build relevance into an e-procurement system to make e-procurement make sense to users. In this case study on e-procurement, we’ll look at a real-world example of how Cornell-Scott Hill Health Center (CSHHC) used relevance to meet their goals in automating purchasing and invoice processing.

Who is CSHHC?

Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center offers a range of programs including medical, dental, and behavioral health for 36,000 patients each year with over 550 employees across 19 care sites throughout the greater New Haven and Lower Naugatuck Valley areas in Connecticut, United States.

What were their goals for e-procurement?

CSHHC was focused on uniting their workforce with one purchase-to-pay (P2P) platform to automate the procurement process and:

1. Create a collaborative environment across purchase-to-pay

CSHHC wanted to bring the Purchasing and Accounts Payable (AP) teams together by creating a collaborate environment. They needed a way to gain full visibility into all spending and give their Purchasing and AP teams a solution that helped them work together to see how money is being spent, prevent duplicative efforts and payments, and ultimately collaborate in ways that save money for the organization.

2. Forge a user-driven process for stability and efficiency

CSHHC wanted to implement a system that is driven by the everyday users so that they could ensure efficiency for the employees and develop a procurement process that is stable, regardless of turnover in leadership roles. This will ensure everyone continues to get what they need to serve patients while invoices flow through for payment without any disruptions.

3. Reduce risk by ensuring compliance to industry regulations

Being a healthcare organization, CSHHC is subject to strict regulations and requirements of The Joint Commission. The organization needed a way to tighten controls for the types of goods/services being ordered, while still making sure that employees could select the types of items they preferred to use in doing their jobs.

How did Relevance as part of a WeProcurement approach help CSHHC meet goals?

CSHHC knew that the single most important key to the success of their e-procurement rollout would be getting employees to use the system. In order to get everyone using the system, it was critical for them to build Relevance into the e-procurement management practices and give users the right tools that truly make a difference in their daily work.

They created this relevance by:

Streamlining Daily Activities: CSHHC ensured that the system would be easy-to-use by designing electronic workflows that resolve challenges for specific roles. This was especially critical for their AP team who was previously chasing down other people in the company for approvals, vendor validation, and other data for invoice matching. Now, this information is at their fingertips in the e-procurement system – invoices that match up automatically flow through for payment and the AP team is able to focus more on value-add tasks.

With the system being easier to use than spending other ways, everyday users were also placing all of their orders through the e-procurement solution, which saved money in new ways, like ensuring that the organization wasn’t paying sales tax, when they are tax-exempt. 

The procurement team found that the time savings empowered them to be more strategic and focus on new ways to save the company money like leveraging volume buying, negotiating better contracts, and working on supplier consolidation.

Seeking User Feedback: CSHHC actively seeks input from their users to ensure they’re getting the items and support they need from the e-procurement solution. When they see employees buying certain items off-catalog when there is an on-catalog option, they ask if they would like to add it to the catalog to ensure they are getting the exact items they need. CSHHC also hides items not relevant to certain roles and locations to expedite the ordering process, help Procurement keep ordering on-contract, and ensure compliance to regulations. One example of this practice can be found at their rehabilitation facilities where all products used must be 100% alcohol-free for compliance purposes. CSHHC found 100% alcohol-free hand sanitizer and made it the only option available for those facilities to ensure employees had what they need and the organization is acting in compliance. 

Forming a Quality Team: To extend their efforts with users further, CSHHC formed a Quality Team that communicates with various types of facilities to understand what supplies they need and ensure that the products featured in the e-procurement system are not just cost-effective, but also the most relevant to the users. This team was instrumental in determining the best type of needles for use across the organization to meet quality, safety, and compliance standards. Prior to this determination, users had access to a variety of types of needles and were ordering different types. Now this product is standardized so users are getting what they need and CSHHC has control over what’s being used at their facilities.

How should organizations deliver relevance with e-procurement?

You are more likely to increase user adoption by building relevance into your purchase-to-pay process and e-procurement system through:

  • Giving information to users when they need it – in-line with the process so they don’t have to stop what they’re doing to go look for it.

  • Offering flexibility for different types of users, not a one-size-fits all approach

  • Solving challenges and removes the burden of manual activities

  • Providing feedback to users in the process to let them know when they do something right

  • Allowing users to offer suggestions for improvements.

To learn more about delivering Relevance as part of a WeProcurement approach, download our e-book "Putting the We in e-Procurement" and stay tuned for the next edition in the WeProcurement blog series including other e-procurement case studies as well.