Nissan Europe choose Wax Digital for major Purchase to Pay project

Wax Digital, the privately owned and Manchester based procurement software and services firm, announced a very good client win this morning. They’ve been chosen by Nissan, the huge auto manufacturer, to provide P2P technology to cover all of Nissan’s indirect spend across Europe. “The Wax Digital “web3 P2P” will handle Nissan Europe’s entire multi-billion Euro non-production spend, with 3,000 users in 16 territories”.

That will enable 3,000 Nissan employees (in offices plus factories in the UK, Spain and Russia) to raise requisitions electronically, ensure they are authorised and approved according to a strict corporate approvals hierarchy and issue approved orders automatically to suppliers.

This project is integral to the Nissan Power 88 midterm business plan through which the company aims to achieve a global market share of 8% and increase its corporate operating profit to 8% by 2016.

Nissan's Sunderland Plant

We spoke to Barry Wilmer, Purchase Systems Development Manager at the firm, to get more insight into what Nissan are looking for from this initiative. Wilmer is a Nissan veteran, joining 29 years ago when the Sunderland plant was in the design phase. He’s worked in engineering, then procurement operations, before moving into the purchasing “planning and control” side, which includes future systems and strategy work. I asked him to explain the drivers behind this new systems approach.

“We’ve got a global alliance with Renault – sharing technologic and components, but operating very independently from a sales and marketing point of view. When that started, Nissan was using many different systems across Europe for indirect purchasing, but we moved to the SAP platform run by Renault. Whilst that had some positives, it has also caused a few issues in terms of getting changes implemented, and some of the linkages between purchasing and payment weren’t as integrated as we would have liked”.

So what finally tipped you into looking for an alternative?

“Until recently, we thought it might be too expensive, but a new project to re-develop our whole finance infrastructure made us realise that we couldn’t really do that and ignore the purchase to pay aspects. So with technology functionality improving as well in terms of what’s available in the market, we felt the time was right to look for a new solution”.

What key capabilities were Nissan looking for?

“Getting the delegated levels of authority built into the system was key – driving user compliance is an important part of the business case. But at the same time, we wanted the technology to be user friendly – we talked about the “Amazon experience” that our people are familiar with at home. Good visibility of spending and budgets was something else we were looking for. Then we also want to convert as many invoices as possible to electronic format. So there were quite a range of capabilities we looked for when we went out to the market”.

How did you run the process to select the suppler?

“ We started with a long-list based on analyst reports and market research. We got that down to a shortlist of around 5 or 6 firms for the final tender process, but we also invited all candidate suppliers to a one day workshop for them to present their wares so the Nissan subject experts to quiz them - this was part of the selection process".

Stay tuned for more tomorrow when we’ll learn from Barry Wilmer just why Wax Digital won the contract... and how Nissan plan to implement the system.

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