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How Proudfoot Accelerated Digital Procurement Transformation to Save 70% on Costs

About Proudfoot

In 1946, Alexander Proudfoot envisioned a way to help companies achieve their operational goals. For almost 80 years, through a practice of developing human talent and alignment to key initiatives, Proudfoot has helped create higher business performance across a range of industries all over the world. 

Today, Proudfoot is a subsidiary of Management Consulting Group PLC, where the driving philosophy behind the company is still a focus on improving processes and engaging people while also leveraging new technology to transform business operations. 

With experience in implementing proven operational improvement solutions for a global client base, Proudfoot has the insights to develop the capability of their clients’ people so that they can better manage themselves. Proudfoot helps people change the way they work to transform business for the better.

To date, Proudfoot has worked with more than one million business leaders and delivered over 30,000 assessments.

 
 
Mike Shuber

Global IT Executive

Mike Shuber is a Global IT executive with over 25 years experience guiding technology solutions to improve efficiencies across all departments of the organization. With a strong background in a variety of technologies and a core understanding of HR, Finance, and Marketing departmental needs, he is well positioned to identify full cycle solutions that truly enhance the business.

Mike Shuber

Global IT Executive

The Challenge

While Proudfoot prides itself on accelerating digital and operational transformations for their clients, they also make sure to update their own systems and processes. 

“I've been with the Management Consulting Group of companies since 1999. So quite a while,” explains Mike Shuber, CIO at Proudfoot. “My role has always revolved around IT with internal projects, vendor management, licensing, and complete oversight of the global infrastructure including hardware, software, and security.”

With a legacy of almost 80 years, Proudfoot has gone through its own share of transitions. One of the major initiatives in the past decade has been to move its processes and systems from on-premise solutions to the cloud to better support a global user base. 

“Our knowledge management document repository is a huge focus from an IT perspective. We've done an incredible transition over the last couple of years moving things from on-premise to cloud. That's all been in executive alignment to reduce costs and improve efficiency.”

The procurement department at most companies is responsible for a lot of money that is spent, and that was no different at Proudfoot. With requests and approvals going through emails and being tracked on a few spreadsheets, there wasn’t much visibility throughout the purchasing process. The amount of manual effort and the cost from a human resourcing perspective to support the procurement process was also starting to add up.

Having found success with rolling out other SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions, Mike wanted to come up with a better solution for procurement.

Original Process

Prior to Procurify, Proudfoot’s procurement process involved a lot of manual work to upkeep:

  1. Requests and approvals were done via email
  2. Spreadsheets were used to log orders
  3. Purchase Orders were physically produced in Word documents
  4. Spreadsheets were updated and managed between just a few stakeholders

While they had Oracle to manage finances, they weren’t using a system for managing the procurement process.

Pain Points

“Our purchasing process was completely through email and excel. The central people weren't even routing spreadsheets to the requesters. The approvers were maintaining them as logs more than anything and they would be firing off emails to the various participants to provide their approvals, modifications, or budget numbers to work with. So the process was very manual and heavily email oriented,” Mike recalled. “Excel was a good friend for a number of years.”

There were several major problems that came with an email based purchasing process:

  • Email based requests took a lot of time with back and forth communication
  • Outside of email chains, there was a lack of visibility throughout the process 
  • Producing POs in Word was time consuming
  • Managing and reporting on orders in different currencies was difficult
  • The cost of administration to manage the manual system was adding up

Having recently updated their HR system to the cloud and uncovering time and cost savings, Mike knew that there was room for improvement in other functions at Proudfoot.

“We were keenly cost driven since there was such a huge savings on our HR platform change to SaaS. We started looking at what was next on the list. If we saved so much on HR, we knew there would  be a win on the procurement side,” rationalized Mike. “There's gotta be an answer out there.”

Searching for a Solution

In 2017, with Mike’s leadership, there was a big push to find SaaS solutions that could help streamline the operations of other verticals at Proudfoot. 

“When we were looking for products, we put it out to bid through a number of vendors,” Mike explained. “We sourced Google, conducted reviews of current trends, and talked to similar organizations. Procurify came back over and over on results as a quick and easy win, a simple solution that could really grow with your organization.”

After evaluating different procurement vendors, Mike and Proudfoot’s CFO decided that Procurify was the right solution. Proudfoot started the Procurify implementation as a pilot to test the response with a few internal team members.

We saved approximately 70 percent on our procurement process compared to what we were spending prior to Procurify. The savings are a combination of reduced internal labour and outsourced resourcing for a number of technical elements required to keep all systems running.
Mike Shuber

Mike Shuber

Chief Information Officer at Proudfoot

Results

Significant Cost Reductions

While there is a cost to moving from a “free” process such as email and spreadsheets to a software solution, Proudfoot has always followed the philosophy of empowering people within organizations. When organizations leverage technology to remove manual steps, it gives people more time to focus on the creative work that fuels business growth. 

Most companies realize that technology improves the bottom line compared to the cost of trying to maintain informal, manual processes.

"Procurify helped us save approximately 70 percent on our procurement process compared to what we were spending prior. The savings are a combination of reduced internal labour and outsourced resourcing for a number of technical elements required to keep all systems running,” exclaimed Mike. “Other savings came from our team members doing investigative work on vendors... so that was definitely an easy win for us.”

Improved Visibility throughout the Procurement Process

Before Procurify, requests and approvals were routed through email to managers and then logged on spreadsheets. Email chains were difficult to keep track of and spreadsheets had restricted access to prevent data inaccuracy or human error. On top of that, spreadsheets were not always up-to-date and pulling relevant context from email threads was very time consuming.

After Procurify, requesters, approvers and administrators now have access to real-time data on all relevant orders throughout Proudfoot’s global operations. 

“One of the major areas of improvement has been with the visibility capabilities that we now have,” explained Mike. “You can see where things sit. If there are any pending orders, or any pending approvals, you can see what has been submitted against projects. You have some reporting capabilities which you didn't really have before. So visibility is a huge piece. The second improvement which plays well into that same process is approvals and the notifications that come along with them.”

Collecting data allows Proudfoot’s team to draw insights to make better decisions. When approvers are able to see how a request will impact the budget before any money is committed, managers are able to make more informed decisions without slowing down the team.

Qualified Vendor Selection and Compliance

Proudfoot currently has projects operating in 13 different regions with 13 different currencies. Budgets are approved by regional clients with their respective currency that projects are tracked against. 

Working in a variety of regions also means that the vendor selection process is constantly changing. A system that can keep preferred vendors on file and historical records of purchases by user, department, region, and vendor means less maverick spending is being done by the organization.

Mike offers the following example: “We used to have an issue with vendor sprawl, where we would end up with quite a bit of unapproved vendors in our pipeline. And we saw when we initially rolled out Procurify, the number of unapproved vendors dropped by 40%, right out of the gate,” “It’s not happening anymore because Procurify allows our team to keep processes tightly controlled on a system that is visible to everyone.” 

Working with approved vendors means that Proudfoot can now implement higher discounts by consolidating their volume of purchases.


Procurify was a quick adoption. There was a lot of excitement from the users seeing that they had the ability to check on orders throughout the process without needing to call somebody or email someone 10 times. From the pilot alone, the interest was high to immediately roll out Procurify.
Mike Shuber

Mike Shuber

Chief Information Officer at Proudfoot

Learn How Strategic Procurement Delivers Efficient Spend Tracking

According to the Hackett Group, organizations with a strategic approach to procurement have seen operating costs lowered by 18%. Download our white paper and learn how strategic procurement benefits the whole company.

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COMPANY

Proudfoot has a 75 year old legacy serving a global clientbase. Proudfoot integrates new approaches and a unique know-how in digital and operations transformation to provide innovative insights, proven solutions and lasting positive change for their clients.

INDUSTRY

Management Consulting

LOCATION

Global | Headquarters: London, UK

SIZE

51-250

WEBSITE

www.proudfoot.com

CHALLENGES

  • On-Premise System
  • PO & Spend Visibility
  • Time Wasted

RESULTS

  • Automated Spend Processes
  • PO Visibility
  • Vendor Management
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