Learn about what e-supply platform can do and how it works.
Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) for property managers is often an afterthought. Marketing a property, signing up new tenants, and collecting rent are top priorities and exciting because these activities drive revenue and value for the company. When it comes to maintaining and operating a building or property, managers aren’t as excited because it means money is going out instead of coming in. However, MRO spend is the largest controllable expense for a property and smart spend management of maintenance and repairs can dramatically increase NOI.
What is e-supply Platform technology?
Technology known as e-supply or e-procurement has stepped in to streamline purchasing for the day to day products needed to keep a building or property operating and looking good. The ‘e’ in ‘e supply’ and ‘e procurement’ is an abbreviation for electronic; adding electronic or online technology to a typical supply chain process . Similar to what we know as eCommerce (electronic commerce) has made it easy and convenient to shop online, e-supply or e-procurement (electronic supply or electronic procurement) technology has made it easy and convenient to manage the process of buying products and supplies for a business, non-profit, or government. An esupply platform builds off ecommerce by adding internal controls set by the head office to be sure property managers and maintenance staff are buying the right MRO products for the right prices. This means the corporate office has greater visibility and data analytics into purchasing for more intelligent spend management.
How does an e-supply platform work?
First is the groundwork to set up an esupply platform for a business or organization. This may sound daunting, but it really is easy. Once the data is setup properly in the eprocurement system, the foundation is set to add on workflows, spend thresholds, product standardizations and expense reporting. Here is a step by step example of how an e-supply platform may be setup for a property management company.
- Upload Company Data – Including property names, addresses, managers, maintenance staff, email addresses, regional managers, accounting
- Set Spend Threshold – Establish how much each person can spend in the esupply platform before a supervisor approval is required
- Set Workflow – create the flow for an order to be approved from the lowest level to the highest level. Approvers may be a supervisor, regional or asset manager
- Upload Accounting Data – General ledger data or chart of accounts is setup so MRO products in the esupply platform can be automatically assigned to the right expense account
- Standardize Products – Quickly tag products that are the corporate standard the should be purchased by all locations, taking the guess work out of purchasing for managers and helping to keep costs in line with budgets
- Invite and Train Managers – Each user will have their own login that ties to their locations, spending limits and workflows. While most esupply platforms are intuitive and user friendly, additional training via screen sharing or PDF may be offered by the eprocurement software vendor to highlight key features and time saving tactics.
Once this foundation is set up, managers can start shopping and buying products through the eprocurement system. The esupply technology then takes over: Managers can quickly find the standardized products they are supposed to buy, supervisors are notified when an order requires their attention and approval, and accounting staff can quickly classify purchases to the correct expense account.
Since cloud computing is the backbone for many esupply platforms, all users can access from any device, be it mobile, tablet, or desktop. This is quite convenient for property managers and maintenance staff that are constantly on the go. They can shop and buy when they need to, and know that the technology enables the correct processes to be followed for order approval and expense classification.
Why is an e-supply platform for MRO a no brainer?
After discussing what e-supply technology can do and how it works, it’s easy to see why eprocurement makes sense for managing MRO spend for property and facilities managers. Making an e-supply platform a top priority in your organization is a no brainer for these reasons:
- Greater visibility into what is being bought, who is buying it, where it is being purchased, and how much it cost
- Stronger internal controls to direct purchasing the right items for the right prices and the ability to monitor and approve spend in real time
- Automated expense classification streamlines record keeping, freeing up time for both property managers and the accounting team
An e-procurement software will simplify purchasing for everyone and the MRO expense account will see significant savings. Staff will be more productive and asset managers will have greater data and insight into maintenance, repair, and operations in their portfolio. Esupply technology will drive consistency in purchasing across the portfolio, and save countless hours in invoice processing. All this adds up to smarter control of MRO spend and boosting NOI.
Interested in how an esupply platform can impact your specific portfolio or company? Reach out to us today for a free consultation!