A.T. Still University - ATSU

Ariett Solutions:: 
ReqNet
AP Invoice Automation
Kirksville, MO
250
University
-
Challenges: 
  • University with two campuses and 1,900 employees had a cumbersome, paper-based purchasing approval process that took time and resources away from the procurement team.
  • Having visibility to spending data in order for the Purchasing Director to have an informed contract negotiation with a vendor was extremely challenging.
  • Employees did not have easy-to-use tools for quickly requisitioning items from preferred vendors with contract pricing.
  • With more approvers traveling and working on their mobile devices, the University required a purchasing solution that could be accessed from anywhere and any device to expedite the process.
Results: 
  • Procurement team easily tracks all 12,000 POs processed annually with Ariett eProcurement, allowing them to focus on sourcing best vendors and negotiating contract pricing.
  • Purchasing Director utilizes reporting on spending to assist in negotiating better pricing to generate savings.
  • Easy online shopping and requisitioning from preferred vendors’ websites empowers employees to buy items with the greatest discounts.
  • Approvers gain efficiency and work the way they want to – from any phone, tablet or laptop – with Ariett’s responsive design interface for any device.
Staples is a good example [of generating savings through punch-out]; when employees search on the Staples site through Ariett, the results show which items have contract pricing and have the deeper discount. At the next step, approvers know it's the negotiated price when they compare the price to their budget numbers. ~ Corey Louder, Director of Purchasing at A.T. Still University (ATSU)

Situation:

Recently, we caught up with Corey Louder, director of Purchasing at A.T. Still University (ATSU), to learn more about his university and what led his team to adopt Ariett. Louder said, "A.T. Still University is home of the founding college of osteopathic medicine and now a leading health sciences university. Andrew Taylor Still, DO, was the first physician who took on the practices and principles of whole-person healthcare, which takes into account the body, mind, and spirit in the treatment of patients. ATSU is comprised of two campuses, which are located in Kirksville, Mo., and Mesa, Ariz."

"This leads me to our purchasing practices. For numerous years, we had mostly a paper-based process. We had a paper requisition form departments were required to complete with vendor information, expense codes and detailed information about their purchase. Of course, the form had to go through various levels of approval and receive a formal signature on each form. Then, the form was received by the purchasing team via fax, email, or through the inter-office mail. It was a pretty cumbersome process, and, as we know, when it involves paper and desks, things can easily get lost or misfiled, which always causes a lot of stress for people trying to meet deadlines."

Solution:

"Our goals were to simplify procurement and move away from paper to electronic – to have a process that is trackable and improves the workflow. We have a hybrid centralized-decentralized program; there are some items that come to procurement to be finalized and other items where we [the procurement team] issue the PO and departments finalize the order. Ariett has helped us better manage a decentralized process, because we can track who has placed those orders and when."

"Another goal of ours was for departments to have visibility to the system and our preferred vendors. Before, when we had a paper system, departments didn't have access to the financial and procurement system. Giving departments a secured, controlled method to see preferred vendors in the system helps them to make choices."

Budget-Stakeholders Make Better Purchasing Decisions:

"It's also really helped the decision-making process for approvers to have instant access to budget information. Ariett's budgeting tools allow approvers to click and generate an instant report on an expense budget. They can make better choices as to whether they'll make a purchase right now or set it aside for another budget. Or, approvers can say to the budget managers that they really need this item right now and need to move a different item to another budget."

Employees Use Punch-Out from Preferred Vendors:

Louder described the cost-saving benefits of using the industry standard, cXML punch-out, for purchasing. "Punch-out has been great, because it allows access to preferred vendors we have contract pricing with. When we went to the punch-out system, some of our vendors even offered us another discount on top of the discount for moving off a paper process. When employees build their requisition header and punch out to the shared site for the university, they can shop just like they're used to on Amazon. Staples is a good example [of generating savings through punch-out]; when employees search on the Staples site through Ariett, the results show which items have contract pricing and have the deeper discount. At the next step, approvers know it's the negotiated price when they compare the price to their budget numbers."

Using Ariett Touch for a Mobile Society:

In addition, approvers frequently take advantage of Ariett's Touch interface for any device during the review process. "The Touch application allows offsite approvers – a department chair or dean [or any other approver] – to review approvals on their phone and tablet without being back at the office. Once the requisition reaches our procurement office, we know that it's already been through all the steps and approvals. For instance, if we needed a review of a CapEx expense, we know finance has already reviewed it, and we're ready to place the order. I think as we become a more mobile society, Ariett Touch will become vastly important in helping people to be more efficient with their time and to have access to the system."

Leveraging Reporting to Negotiate Discounts with Vendors:

Louder emphasized how Ariett can help ATSU develop positive, cost-effective relationships with their vendors. "I am planning on using Ariett moving forward in order to go with preferred and partnered vendors and to negotiate with them. We can look at the reporting to say where our spending is and to ask vendors what they can do to provide some cost-savings for our university. We might choose a list of items they can give us a better discount on (because we've been tracking those items). Or, maybe, the vendor is currently charging a shipping rate, and we want to include shipping as part of our contract to help the school save some extra costs. In our old paper-system, we didn't have the functionality; the information was there, but it took a lot of time to gather all that detail to have a conversation with a vendor."

Procurement Gains Time for Strategic Buying:

"Lastly, on the procurement side, Ariett has allowed us to have a higher service value to our departments because we're not just placing an order into the system. Procurement can use their time, expertise, and knowledge of the vendors to possibly locate a better vendor. Also, my job as the Director is to search for possible GPO [Group Purchasing Program] programs and contracts the University can get attached to and will help with our pricing."

Stellar Experience with Ariett Accounts Manager and Support:

"Everything seemed to move in a timely progression during the implementation. Any issues we've come across, we've put out support tickets, and if not by the end of the same day, we'll have a response by the next morning. From my experience, we've had a very good relationship with everyone we've worked with at Ariett. I can sum it up in one word–excellent."