“In the past, it was sometimes pure luck that an invoice got paid on time,” Arnold van Atten, purchaser at WelThuis for over seven years, explains. “And if an order placer failed to register receipt of that order, no one but he knew whether or not the delivery had already taken place. We were two completely separated departments: accounts payable administration on the second floor and Procurement on the first. But we were keen to merge into a single department.” The changing climate ensured that this wish was fulfilled.
The care sector is changing, the hierarchy is slimming down, and the same is happening with the budget. For WelThuis, this meant that half the back office would be made redundant during the reorganization. “With half the number of people, we had to carry out the same number of actions. Support in the form of digital packages fits in well with the autonomous teams in the current care culture. The packages we had weren’t up to that task though. Furthermore, a number of the systems didn’t interface well with each other, and we wanted to reduce the number of packages anyway.”
“We were already working with a digital system, so the principle was the same. The difference was the user-friendliness of this new system. This resulted in a transition within a month. Everyone was already working with it.” Ton van Dorp, Manager Back Office, agrees: “I started as manager in January and haven’t had a course. I just sat down and got on with it directly. The system is very intuitive.”
The purchasing department specifically uses the link with the webshop for nursing materials and food suppliers. “This is because they already have an excellent interface with the system. And if a new link is required, that is ready within a day. I submit the name of a contact person and it’s organized just like that.”
In addition, they use a catalog for items they purchase from regular suppliers. “The funny thing is that more and more managers at our care homes are selecting from the catalog. They used to call someone in the directory and order from them. So we then had to add yet another supplier to the system which is a more administrative hassle.”
“Now that procurement and financial administration are sitting together in one block, there is far more interaction. We are receiving more and more digital PDF invoices, but that’s not where our focus is. We check to see whether an order was placed in advance of the invoice. If an invoice does not have a purchase order number, my colleague just has to glance my way. I then try straight away to find out why this is the case.”
For the 3-way matching, ProActive provides the option to register the receipt of orders. “Purchasers used to classify all orders as delivered once a month. I can see the progress in the analyses now. So if there is any delay I directly send a mail to the person concerned.”
“In the near future, we want to work with more reporting and analysis, especially the ABC analysis and Pareto charts. These are covered in all procurement courses. You have to be an Excel expert to work out 80%, and then after a day, you’ll be okay. You really want to make this work, but now the system does it for you. It almost makes you want to jump for joy.” According to Ton, this had been on Arnold’s wish list for ages, so this was “exactly what he wanted”.
“As an organization, we are well-known for our quest for innovation. The danger is that such pilots can be difficult to maintain. A system such as ProActive perfectly fits in with our vision: innovative, but at the same time also safeguarding effectiveness.”
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