Caroline Hastings, CPO for the States of Jersey – the biggest procurement job in the world (part 2)?

We explained yesterday about  procurement in the States of Jersey and how Caroline Hastings, the Procurement Director, kicked off a transformation programme in 2010, with an eProcurement initiative as a key strand of the programme.

So Caroline’s team decided to launch a formal tender process for an eProcurement  platform . JD Edwards would remain as the financial core system, but a new system would provide requisitioning, ordering, a catalogue buying capability, supplier portal functionality and invoice matching (although payments would still be made in the ERP system). And some of this required a change in process and the way people worked. For example, there will in the future be more controls built into the system around requisitioning and approvals.

After a full restricted tender, structured evaluation and selection process, Wax Digital won the contract, which was signed in June this year. That was after extensive work with the firm before final agreement. “We held around 15 workshops to get the functionality right. We had lots of requests for bespoke requirements from users – we looked at the costs and accepted some but not others. We didn’t want to make it a bespoke system, but it had to be highly configurable,” said Caroline.

The solution is planned to  go live in in a phased roll from June 2014. Operational testing will take place in  November and user acceptance testing January – March 2014.  A number of pilot sites have been identified and these are planned for  April / May 2014.

The eSourcing processes are still remaining with Due North as the preferred system. “Everyone is familiar with it and there didn’t seem a pressing reason to change,” she said.  But as well as the user facing catalogues and ordering facility in the Wax Digital system, the aim is to implement  a supplier portal from day one, which gives suppliers benefits as well as buyers, such as the ability to ‘flip’ purchase orders to invoices quickly and easily

While this is by no means a finished transformation programme, I also asked her what she’s learnt from the process so far. Here is her list, with some useful points for anyone in a similar situation I suspect:

  • “Wax have been very helpful and talking to their other customers was invaluable.
  • We put time and effort into really getting proof of the technology prior to final contract signing – checking integration etc. That helped us get business buy-in and sign-off.
  • The project manager is a key role – getting an experienced person who can work closely with the solution provider is essential.
  • We’ve involved lots of different staff, not just senior people but many users who have come up with very useful suggestions and ideas to improve the processes.
  • Identifying the different business drivers for each of the departments and selling the benefits of the new solution around these.”

So, good luck to Caroline and her team, and we’ll follow their progress with interest as they move towards full implementation.  And is it the biggest procurement job in the world? Well, maybe not by some obvious measures, but there can’t be many with more breadth and variation than this one.

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