Affinity Sutton has reported the successful implementation of a new procure-to-pay (P2P) system from Capita IB Solutions as part of a group amalgamation project last year. The new system replaces an older OpenText-based system and, latterly, a manual paper-based system for purchase ordering.
Affinity Sutton’s amalgamation project has been one of the biggest change projects in the whole housing sector. Its aims were to address the management, systems and governance of the group organisation which meant combining staff structures, bringing systems and processes into a single Affinity Sutton approach and legally amalgamating the three large registered providers within the group into one.
Chris Battye, head of business systems, Affinity Sutton, said, “The old OpenText-based R-KYV system for purchase ordering suffered from a number of outages and was no longer supportable other than on a time, materials and best endeavours basis. Following a significant outage earlier in 2009, we decided to decommission the system before it decommissioned itself which would have caused us lots of problems.”
Affinity Sutton then adopted a paper-based purchasing approach which meant printing and distributing a huge number of order pads. Battye said, “While this was a backward step, compared with the risks of the old system dying unexpectedly without any alternative in place, it was something we had to do. Unfortunately, while the paper-based system was a necessary evil, it was a heavy administrative burden which was not sustainable in the long term.”
Having decided to adopt a new solution, Affinity Sutton wanted one that could be used across the newly-amalgamated group for greater consistency, accuracy and efficiency and to ensure that all purchasing decisions would be based on sound information. The housing provider also wanted to enable better control over expenditure from all budget holders.
Battye said, “To ensure we selected the right solution, we included the business in the selection process and therefore included a number of end-users on the selection team. Workshops were conducted over a number of weeks with the aim of listening to a variety of views and trying to understand everyone’s needs.”
Following the OJEU tender process, Affinity Sutton decided to work with Capita IB Solutions. Battye said, “Implementation began after Capita IB Solutions first arrived on site in August 2011 and the system went live on a phased basis, starting in October 2011 and was completed on time and under budget in December 2011. The implementation has gone very well and we are already realising the benefits of the new P2P system.”