Purchasing Automation and Analytics Helps Protect Brand Image

March 24, 2009
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Hospitality Managers know protecting their brand image is the most important part of their jobs. Brand image ranks as one of the highest priorities in the industry because it is a reflection of everything companies do.  A brand image should be consistent from property to property, reflected in everything from fliers to registration forms to the confections left on the bed pillows.  A brand image reflects the perception the public has of the property, and even a subtle shift in perception can affect a property’s image and, ultimately, its bottom line.  Shifts in perception are largely caused by differences from property to property or even within just one property itself, resulting in brand image changes or brand corruption.  Simple things, like the soap used in a property’s room in Florida should be the same as the soap used in a property’s room in California.  Customers expect consistency.  They form a certain perception or image of a business, so properties that may be experiencing shifts in image need to review their business processes, especially their purchasing cycles because the purchasing process is an area where image or brand corruption can

Hospitality Managers know protecting their brand image is the most important part of their jobs. Brand image ranks as one of the highest priorities in the industry because it is a reflection of everything companies do.  A brand image should be consistent from property to property, reflected in everything from fliers to registration forms to the confections left on the bed pillows.  A brand image reflects the perception the public has of the property, and even a subtle shift in perception can affect a property’s image and, ultimately, its bottom line.  Shifts in perception are largely caused by differences from property to property or even within just one property itself, resulting in brand image changes or brand corruption.  Simple things, like the soap used in a property’s room in Florida should be the same as the soap used in a property’s room in California.  Customers expect consistency.  They form a certain perception or image of a business, so properties that may be experiencing shifts in image need to review their business processes, especially their purchasing cycles because the purchasing process is an area where image or brand corruption can easily take place. 

Brand corruption

Brand corruption is big problem, especially among multiple property businesses because in larger organizations, management orders become less and less clear as they trickle down through the hierarchy.  If managers are forced to improvise due to lack of clarity in the purchasing process, brand corruption can easily occur.  Maverick spending, spending with unapproved vendors, paying too much – all of these things can start a downward spiral of quality and image if clear cut policies are not in place. As hospitality businesses become more global and, therefore, more complicated to run, manual processes must make way for automated business processes, especially in the area of purchasing.  Hospitality businesses that have automated purchasing cycles realize not only brand image consistency, but also process improvement, accountability and huge dollar savings in time and materials.

What else can purchasing automation do?

Protecting a brand image is only a part of what an automated purchasing system can do.  Managers will appreciate the improved management of inventory, the ability to find the best pricing, the timely delivery of orders and ease of tracking orders.  A fully integrated system can cut cycle time in half and save 20% – 50% in administrative costs.  Purchasing Management eXtra (ePMX) is Sarbanes-Oxley compliant, so Financial Managers can feel assured that complete, detailed audit reports are available to them in real time with just a keystroke.  Because ePMX is a modular system, customers can buy what modules they need now and add more as their needs change.  ePMX can be used as a stand-alone system, or it can be integrated with an accounting package to become one large seamless system.  ePMX consists of  these modules:

Requisitions                                                      Receiving

Request for Quotations                                     Inventory

Purchasing                                                          Accounts Payable Interface

The Requisitions Module is the first module in the series, and it is the beginning of the purchasing process, providing the basic infrastructure for the cycle of ordering goods and services.  While many more modules comprise the complete the series, it is readily apparent how implementation of just the Requisitions Module can help maintain brand consistency while improving the purchasing process.

Requisition Module

Individual user departments can requisition items directly from on-line catalogs or in free-form mode.

  • Requisitions can be imported directly from ePMX’s Inventory module for items at or below their reorder points.
  • Purchase requisitions can be printed, or handled without paper.
  • For users of ePMX’s Inventory module, requisitions for stock items are automatically routed to your warehouse.
    • Stock availability and subsequent stock commitment is performed real-time.
    • If warehoused items are unavailable when requisitioned, the outstanding portion will be automatically filled when re-supply occurs.
    • Disbursement reports identify which items to pull from stock, their stocking locations, and delivery information.
  • A multi-level, on-line approval process prevents items from being ordered prior to all necessary sign offs.
    • Requisitions are automatically routed by e-mail to the next approver listed in your business rules.
    • If rejected, requisitions can be returned to the original requisitioner with a rejection reason.
  • Users can review requisitions on-line and convert them into purchase orders or requests for quotations without re-keying any data.
  • Multiple requisitions for similar materials or services can be combined in one order, or a single requisition can be split up into multiple purchase orders for a number of vendors.
  • On-line status inquiry and printed status reports make it easy to track the progress of requisitioned items, including expected delivery dates, back-order conditions, and assigned buyers.
  • ePMX’s Requisition Software shows which requisitions are on hold waiting for approval, approved but not ordered, and ordered but not received.

The Requisitions module is one part of a complete system that supports vendor management, inventory, budgets, contract compliance, receiving, RFQs and other essential procurement processes.  All ePMX modules help ensure the protection of your brand image. 

Internet Impact    

The impact of the Internet has opened the door for technology.  In Hospitality 2010, Deloitte, states that technology will become more and more important in the future.  It states that technology is the fastest weapon the industry has for material product differentiation and that tomorrow’s traveler will be far more influenced by brand. Additionally, Deloitte states that consistency in brand is paramount but not easily achieved because there are so many touch points.  That is why a technological approach to solving business issues is needed.

Consistency remains the single most important factor in brand delivery.  Like all successful organizations, hotels and other businesses must ensure everyone in the value chain delivers the brand promise, and the Purchasing Department, especially, can help make it easier for the hospitality industry to live up to its promises.

  

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