Columbus

Purchasing cooperative Columbus, founded by leading Dutch food manufacturers, and IT partner Esize, provider of Cloud Spend Management solutions, announce closer cooperation, with a view to further professionalising the services provided to Columbus members. Since 2013, Columbus has been using the integrated procurement platform by Esize to support tender projects and centralise the management of contracts and suppliers. By integrating all processes related to e-sourcing and contract management (Source to Contract) into one complete solution, Columbus aims to increase efficiency with strategic/tactical purchasing processes, reduce overall procurement costs for its members and ultimately improve their competitiveness.

Purchasing benefits
Columbus combines the procurement for Dutch manufacturers and trading companies in various sectors. Each has a prominent name and top brands such as Verstegen, Johma, Hak, Hero and Chrysal. The collective procurement organisation aims to improve the position of member companies in the procurement market, but also to further expand and strengthen the market position of its members. Wout van Groen, Director of Columbus: “We are committed to creating advantages for all of our members by reducing overall procurement costs of goods and services. We are also intensively engaged in knowledge exchange and the promotion of supply chain optimisation. The association currently has more than 20 members and dozens of joint product procurement contracts have already been concluded, e.g. packaging, flex workers, telecommunications, market data, vehicle leasing, energy and a number of raw materials. These product groups together represent significant procurement value, where we can achieve some significant savings.”

More efficient procurement process
Columbus is facing the challenge to increase efficiency in the strategic/tactical procurement processes, while bringing down overall purchasing costs. Uniformity and standardisation are key in doing so. Previously supplier and contract information was recorded in different systems, as a result of which the procurement value of contracts was not sufficiently clear and it was therefore difficult to measure. Wout van Groen: “Our procurement processes were too fragmented and therefore not efficient enough. That also made it difficult to fully understand the correct information to be able to analyse processes and make adjustments where necessary. An important objective was therefore to establish one central procurement process and a uniform way of working with supplier and contract information. This allows us to better steer on current facts and we expect to gain more control over our processes and budgets.”

Total solution
“We settled on Esize because this solution provides us with the right functionality to obtain overall support for our processes on one procurement platform. The system is also very user-friendly. This was important to us, because everyone in Columbus, including the members, should be able to work with the system. The solution runs entirely online and is always accessible. This means that you do not need to worry about administration or maintenance of the software,” explained Wout van Groen. Paul van Rietschoten, Commercial Director at Esize, sees great potential in enhanced cooperation with Columbus. “By making procurement processes more efficient and by ensuring continuity with suppliers, Columbus delivers added value to its internal organisation and its members. As Esize we are happy to do our share to support this. Our mission is to help organisations to gain greater insight and control over their procurement processes and spending. Thanks to our comprehensive proposition in the field of Cloud Spend Management, we can offer a suitable solution for that purpose.”