User experience and engagement was fundamental to introducing a procurement-to-pay (P2P) system at Northumbria University, its commercial director has said.

Introducing a new P2P system was one of the first things Mark Gill, commercial director at the university, was asked to do when he joined the institution. The organisation had already tried and failed twice to bring a new system in, and was still dependent on paper-based procurement systems. 

Speaking via video link at eWorld, Gill said all 12 schools at the university were doing procurement differently and were “very reliant” on paper processes. It took five days on average for a requisition to be turned into a purchase order. “The majority of our invoices were all manually handled, so quite an archaic, reactive purchasing process,” he said.

After looking at why the last two attempts to introduce P2P systems had failed, Gill ran a procurement process followed by a university-wide rollout of a cloud-based system that concluded in April 2017. Purchase order times are now down to 24 hours after a requisition has been made.

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