Peabody Trust is completing the implementation of a new procurement and financial management system from Touchstone. The long-term project, which began in 2008, has involved the integration of Touchstone’s Proactis procurement software with Peabody’s existing SunSystems financial system. Touchstone reported that the contract value was in the region of £70,000.
In common with many housing providers, Peabody’s procurement model is de-centralised; the majority of Peabody’s workforce operate onsite and therefore need to buy goods and services while away from the office and depot, including ordering repairs and maintenance services from external contractors as well as ad-hoc supplies.
Cutting out manual processes
In the past, Peabody had very manual procurement processes, with staff using order pads, paper requisitions and purchase orders to buy from suppliers. This made it impossible to have an up-to-date view of spending, consequently causing problems with accountability and financial planning. The subsequent manual input of purchases into an Infor FMS SunSystems finance system also used up valuable staff resources.
Peabody approached Touchstone after recognising the need for a more automated approach to purchasing. Touchstone recommended Proactis in order to streamline purchasing procedures, manage Peabody’s procurement, and control spend.
James Harper, finance systems analyst, Peabody Trust, said, “Proactis has allowed us to centralise our purchasing function and operate commitment accounting. As a company, we make every effort to use local, community-based suppliers – this adds to the number and diversity of our supplier base but Proactis has enabled us to manage these relationships well.
“Accountability has been greatly enhanced, with each order fully auditable and so eliminating ‘maverick’ spending. These features have combined to improve financial control and ultimately deliver better value for our customers. The system is also really intuitive and this has meant that user adoption has been great, with a half-day of training sufficient to get each member of staff up and running on the system.”