A user-friendly and cost-efficient procurement system to simplify the ordering process of goods and services by the employees of the Enexis network company. That is the principle behind the Digishop project, initiated by the Procurement department staff of the network operator, in 2014. The objective is to achieve a uniform and simple ordering process for all non-primary goods and services. Therefore, Enexis has switched to a new integrated procurement platform which supports company-wide digital ordering from centrally contracted suppliers. IT partner Esize, supplier of Cloud Spend Management solutions, is responsible for realisation of the project. By standardising the ordering process and organising all contracted purchases via the ordering system, the Procurement department expects to achieve more efficiency and transparency in the operational procurement process, which will save costs at the end of the day.

As a link between the market and the energy supplier, Enexis is responsible for supplying energy to more than 2.7 million customers. The company operates the energy network in the northern, eastern and southern Netherlands, and supplies gas and electricity from energy suppliers safely to private households and companies. The 4,300 employees ensure the development and construction of energy distribution networks, but also their maintenance and management. In order to support business processes, Enexis makes use of an ERP application. Until recently, non-primary goods and services (ICT, facility and other services) were also purchased via this system. The design of this application was historically unnecessarily complex and outdated, so that it was no longer in keeping with the current procurement processes within Enexis, while there was also a lack of necessary functionality to ensure optimal support of the application. Moreover, it had become clear that the outdated catalogue system required replacement. The Procurement department therefore took the initiative to undertake thorough market research into possible alternative procurement systems, in order to arrive at a suitable replacement solution. An important principle in doing so was that the ordering process was simplified where possible, and geared to the best practices in the market.

User-friendliness was a deciding factor in the choice for the new solution. Roel Goessen, Procurement Operations Manager at Enexis: “The platform makes it easier for employees to order products or services and helps us make the most of supplier contracts. In the past, employees or departments would sometimes place orders outside of existing contracts. This made it difficult to gain clear insight of the agreements reached and the outstanding commitments”. From now on, employees have Internet access to the Esize platform from their own workstation, and can place order requisitions simply via an internal requisition form, and subsequently track their status. The Procurement department then passes on order requisitions to centrally selected suppliers. “This has the advantage of the authorisation process taking place beforehand. Approval is required at the time of the order requisition, before the order is actually placed. The final objective is that all non-primary purchases are centrally steered via the platform”, Roel Goessen explains. Thanks to management reports, the procurement organisation has direct insight into the status of requests and orders (per product group, suppliers, etc.). This better grip on supplier agreements and added transparency in the procurement process allows the Procurement department to steer quality more effectively, but also to make the best use of economies of scale. In the end, the objective is to boost efficiency and reduce costs.

Hiring of external personnel
Later this year, Enexis will also deploy the Esize platform in order to support the hiring process of external personnel. From personnel requests and contracting, all the way through to timekeeping and invoice processing. “We recognise opportunities for improvement in terms of chain optimisation, and will be making an efficiency drive in time keeping, for example. We also wish to get better insight throughout the hiring process. A special service desk will play an important role in coordinating the hiring process, with automated support via the platform in order to facilitate the process”, explains Roel Goessen.

Software as a Service
“What makes this project special for Enexis, is that this is the first company-wide roll-out of a SaaS solution within the organisation”, says Roel Goessen. “We consciously opted for a standard solution. Just like any organisation, Enexis is unique in the way it works. Together with Esize, we have been able to successfully gear people, processes and technology to each other”. Paul van Rietschoten, Commercial Director of Esize: “Esize is distinctive in that it is one of the few market parties to integrate a complete suite of Source to Pay software on a single cloud platform. More and more clients are recognising our solution to be a comprehensive and cost-effective alternative for downsizing and even replacement of complex ERP environments. Important considerations are the reduced lead time of implementations, but also the scalability and lower operational costs of the solution.”