Value in eProcurement
Purchasing Platform was born in 2012 to simplify the procurement process.
Peter Hepner, our CEO, started the company out of the pain he felt as an asset manager when trying to control MRO spend (maintenance, repair, and operational) across a large real estate portfolio spanning the continental United States.
With loads of buying power behind him from over 150 properties, he had set out to identify and negotiate contracts with 40 MRO supply and CapEx vendors. While he and his team successfully obtained discounted pricing, he found it challenging to implement and gain buy-in at the property level. Imagine being handed 40 catalogs and directed to buy only specific products from each one, despite product overlap amongst the MRO suppliers. Overwhelming, right?
He realized the corporate office needed to provide a tool for the property staff that made it easy to shop for and buy the MRO products the facilities managers needed to keep a property looking good, operating smoothly and at the right cost. After researching and asking colleagues in commercial real estate about purchasing software, it was clear there wasn’t an obvious solution in the market that fit the multi-family housing industry needs.
Peter saw value in an online centralized marketplace that combined the catalogs of various MRO vendors and offered real time visibility into purchasing data. Consolidating purchasing into one cloud based technology platform meant a company could:
- Easily standardize MRO products for the entire company
- Set workflows to approve property manager orders before they are sent to vendors
- Quickly classify expenses specific to the company’s chart of accounts
Armed with robust internal controls, powerful data analytics into purchasing, combined catalogs, and negotiated pricing from vendors, Peter believed the corporate office and property staff would save time and money by having the proper tools to simplify the procurement process.
An eProcurement Company is Born
He decided to bring this vision to life in 2012 when Purchasing Platform was established. The first step was to build an offering of MRO supplier catalogs on one website. Understanding that many companies would be using this e-supply platform, he negotiated pricing contracts based on the collective buying power of the group. Competitive pricing was key to get price sensitive facility managers on board.
Next was to design and construct the technology that would facilitate the ecommerce transactions along side the approval workflows and expense mapping. After a year in development and testing, Purchasing Platform was rolled out to a larger audience of property management companies and real estate operators.
Today the company that Peter leads can best be described as eprocurement meets group buying for property management. The esupply platform lists over 200,000 MRO products in a variety of categories including paint, office supplies, appliances, janitorial, plumbing, hvac, electrical, hardware and more. With an intuitive design that makes shopping easy and convenient, Purchasing Platform has proven to be an intelligent buying tool for property and facility managers as well as his former asset manager colleagues in the corporate office.
The platform continues to evolve thanks to a team of super smart engineers as well as an intelligent operations and sales staff. While new products and features are added as membership grows, the goal remains to simplify the purchasing process for property management.