ProcureCon Indirect Highlights – Copenhagen Airport Uses GEP System To Drive Procurement Improvement

Mette Villebro Sievers, Head of Category Management, Contract Management and the Operational Procurement Group at Copenhagen Airport, spoke at ProcureCon Indirect last week.

The airport has grown strongly in recent years and having spent an hour or two there on the way home, we can vouch for its attractions, with efficient security and a very extensive shopping and catering operation - it felt like even more shops and variety than Gatwick. We took off and landed on or ahead of schedule on both legs of our journey too, thanks to EasyJet and both airports.

The airport handles over 80,000 passengers and 730 flights a day, with 5000 employees working for 700 different firms on site. They expect a doubling in passengers over the next 20 years and claim the “highest passenger satisfaction in the world”.

The internal management focus is on effective processes and digital development to make the airport attractive for airlines and travellers. Procurement handles 6000 contracts and 3500 suppliers, and until recently faced a number of challenges. Central to these issues were five different procurement systems, a lack of integration, and “user friendliness” of systems and processes was not really a consideration.

So Sievers and her colleagues went through a process of “defining the ideal” for procurement across people, process and technology. A key goal was to improve sourcing, with better and quicker negotiations, enabling results to be delivered to the business faster.

Adoption by users and budget holders was another objective, with better compliance driven by the  technology – “we wanted to make it easy for users to follow the right approach”, said Sievers. And “we had no desire to impose new complexity on the business”. She believes that it is the carrot, not the stick that drives success, so wanted to make sure stakeholders were central to the procurement improvements.

After a selection process, procurement chose the GEP software solution to support this transformation.  Sievers was asked “why” that choice was made in the Q&A session after her presentation and explained that really, it was its simplicity that was a big attraction.

Whatever they chose “just needed to work”, and after looking at a lot of systems, in some cases Sievers felt “users would just give up, it was too complex”.  GEP has a seamless system, which is easy to use but also helps the flow of data through system and facilitates reporting.  So GEP was chosen and so far “users love it”.

That platform includes full source to order capability, then there is integration between GEP and the SAP ERP system which still handles payments. There is an element of “stick” though (as well as the carrot) in that a “no purchase order, no pay” policy is being introduced; currently 84% of spend is on PO.

The business case for investment was not primarily driven by “savings” – rather, a key benefit was seen as getting better measures and control of spend (although we might argue that they are likely to be critical enablers for subsequent savings and value initiatives). But there were also “burning platforms” with some of the existing legacy systems, so everyone appreciated that something had to be done, which is a factor that can make a business case even more convincing.

A good case study then, some useful tips – and a brilliant customer reference for GEP of course!

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