Procure to Pay
- May 11, 2012
New York—Recently, MHN hosted a webinar sponsored by NWP titled “Procure to Pay,” which featured Michael Fortinberry of eSupply Systems, Chris Elmore of AvidXchange and Chris Finetto of NWP, who discussed how e-procurement systems can benefit multifamily.
Fortinberry described how, on average, properties go over budget four times a year. Most of the industry deals with this by negotiating prices with vendors and using discount programs. However, these discount plans aren’t procurement plans, and put small- and medium-sized companies at a disadvantage because they can’t always take advantage of the discounts.
The solution, according to Fortinberry, is to sign up for an e-procurement program. This will allow group purchasing for small owners. Other benefits cited are that e-procurement programs are web-based, making them easy to manage. Additionally, they provide budget visibility and allow managers to control the products.
E-procurement programs, when executed correctly, can end up saving time, because all the products can be purchased in one order, instead of having to make separate orders through individual companies. Additionally, major vendors are part of these programs, so managers will usually be able to find everything they need.
Elmore explained the steps needed to determine the cost per invoice (CPI) so that managers could see the actual cost of ordering supplies, and see how much time and money they could save with a procurement plan. To determine the CPI, managers should map out their current program, trace where the invoice is coming and going, and track the time and money spent on it to get a conservative number. A simple formula he suggested was to take the total cost and divide it by the total number of invoices to get the CPI.
According to Elmore, automation in terms of an e-procurement plan, is only as good as driving down the total cost and time of doing invoices. Ultimately, e-procurement plans come down to having more time to be dealing with other more important building-related issues.
Finetto suggested that property managers look for solutions that are quick and easy to apply, and to limit the risk by keeping it easy. They should keep track of the service provider performance, and if it isn’t simple to use, to move on to the next provider. Additionally, only allow preferred providers and establish a set pricing schedule so that the charges are always consistent.
Finetto concluded the webinar by echoing Elmore’s sentiment: The purpose of procurement plans is to allow operation teams to have more time for their other duties. Having an e-procurement plan would result in a better work experience and a better-working property.