PostNL opts for pan-European roll-out of Esize Sourcing
Reacting today to the changes of tomorrow, in order to be the best postal and packages company in Europe. That is the PostNL mission. It is no mean feat. While the ever diminishing letter postal market necessitates reorganisation processes, rigorous expansion of the packages and e-commerce sectors must offer the company a fresh future perspective. Efficiency and transparency become an even more important driving force when cost savings also put pressure on the organisation. This certainly applies to the Group Procurement team, responsible for coordination of the Dutch, German, Italian and Belgian markets of PostNL. Until recently, there was insufficient insight into the progress booked in purchasing processes. Each of the purchasers worked with their own information sources, while purchase reports were compiled using a variety of systems. Group Procurement recognised opportunities for increased efficiency, and opted to switch to a new purchasing solution in order to support sourcing projects and to centralise the management of contracts and suppliers. The aim was to arrive at a single uniform and integrated purchasing process for all national organisations, so that the company would always have access to comprehensive, real-time information, and steering could be based on actual facts.
Efficient and transparent purchasing
Group Procurement is responsible for optimisation and professionalization of the purchasing process and the purchasing organisation at PostNL. The team of professionals conducts the tactical purchasing activities, its main target being to gain maximum benefit from the purchasing power of PostNL. Before the introduction of Esize, each of the purchasers had their own methodology and their own source files. Various applications were in use, including the recording of purchasing processes, the registration of contracts and the recording of supplier evaluations. Reports were generated from these individual systems, using Excel and PowerPoint. Wilfred van den Brink, Manager Business Support PostNL: “We were missing the necessary transparency and standardisation in the purchasing process; the possibility to record information in an unequivocal and structured manner and also to communicate issues more effectively. This does not mean that information was not previously available. However, if you wish to work more efficiently with a limited number of people, you need to look at smarter options. This will make time and space available for new purchasing activities.”
Integrated purchasing system
Following a very thorough selection process, PostNL opted for Esize. The deciding factors were not only the advantages of an integrated e-sourcing system, but also the user friendliness of the application. With Esize, PostNL discovered the functionality required to simplify the purchasing process and to standardise it on a single online platform (Source to Contract).
During the pilot phase, PostNL and Esize worked together to discover how the platform could optimally support the requirements of the postal company. By jointly working to further develop the platform, the system has been effectively tailored to the day-to-day practice of PostNL. During the bidding phase of a tender for example, it was not previously possible to view the bids already made. This flexibility has now been incorporated and can be used as an option, if required.
The organisation now also has the possibility of retrieving financial reports from Esize, in keeping with the method developed within Group Procurement. “The reports on purchasing results are vital for the purchasing department in order to prove its added value internally and to contribute effectively to the cost saving targets as a company,” explains Wilfred van den Brink. “I feel very positively about the flexibility with which Esize works towards further development of the platform, together with our customers”.
Following successful completion of the pilot phase, the solutions for sourcing, contract management and supplier management were implemented in Group Procurement. The team will also provide the first reports based on data from the Esize platform, early in 2014. Van den Brink does not rule out the system being rolled out to other company units, also in Italy, Germany and Belgium. “Of course, the system will have to prove itself in practice. If the project is a success here, other departments within the organisation must be able to profit from the available purchasing know-how gained by the Group Procurement team,” says Van den Brink. “However simple and low threshold the system may be, people always struggle with change processes. They may not truly appreciate the benefits of the system at first sight. They need to become aware that tender projects can be reused and a new tender prepared within a few seconds. At that point, the added value of the system will be recognised.
“We are of course delighted that PostNL has expressed such confidence in Esize”, says Paul van Rietschoten, Commercial Director of Esize. ” Quality is the name of the game at the world’s most modern postal company. The choices made by PostNL is therefore once again confirmation for us of the quality of our software and our services.”