A common theme in my time with the NLPA has been how to go about reigning in maverick spending within an organization. Mikrofax takes this business inefficiency head on with its eBuyerAssist eProcurement system.
Mikrofax eBuyerAssist is designed to allow employees to purchase the items they need with proper oversight in place by assigned business rules enforced by the system itself. Thus, maverick spending is immediately stopped in its tracks, allowing for higher up approvers and management professionals to allow or disallow particular purchases. Auditing is a critical feature throughout eBuyerAssist allowing for many areas to be tracked with custom reporting features.
The eBuyerAssist user interface is very intuitive and looks very much like a standard paper purchase order. This design is based on a recommendation from a large customer who suggested the paper PO look. During our demo presentation, Michael Petter, Managing Director at Mikrofax, stressed the importance of client input into the design and upgrades to the system. It was quite easy to follow along with eBuyerAssist upon first look at the system and navigating through the various screens.
Management approvals for purchase orders can be done via email or on a smart phone/tablet device. Approvers can actually check budgets in a pop up to see if he or she should approve or reject item(s).
The system also includes something Mikrofax refers to as “Sanity Check approvals” for items that not only are allowed financially, but in the case of IT (for example) are supported by the group. Thus, before a final approval for purchasing servers is finished, specific IT personnel/executives are contacted to give their final approval or rejection of the item. This is a great way to build trust between the procurement department and the Information Technology department in this case.
In the course of our discussion of eBuyerAssist, Ray Anderson, Client Relations Manager for Mikrofax, pointed out, “Mikrofax eProcurement has developed a class leading supply chain management solution as an integrated set of tools that provide the full “Req-to-check” experience for requestors, buyers, approvers and vendors ; Our eBuyerAssist system has the power and features to get transactions put through with the highest efficiency allowing all our users to easily see the status of their work at any stage ; yet despite that power, the system is simple both to use and deploy at a reasonable cost.”
Mikrofax is a very modular product, thus there is no need to purchase multiple modules that your business will never use. While this is overstating the obvious, I have personally run into vendors who practically force you to purchase additional modules using unscrupulous scare tactics.
Mr. Petter stated that many of their clients find Oracle and SAP eProcurement too difficult to use so they turn to eBuyerAssist for their eProcurement needs. eBuyerAssist easily integrates into SAP or Oracle financials making payments to suppliers much easier.
Mikrofax offers a vendor portal where vendors can login, upload catalogs (level 1 and level 2 Punchouts are available) and attach other documents such as licenses, certificates and permits of sale. You can do complex historical analysis of vendors comparing and contrasting different fields and criteria to assure the best possible choices for your business.
Mikrofax eBuyerAssist is offered as a fully integrated cloud-based SaaS eProcurement system that is hosted within their data center except for clients who require cloud-based hosting on their own servers. eBuyerAssist is sold as a standard, off the shelf platform which is utilized by 65% of their customer base while 35% of clients request customized services. It runs Microsoft SQL server 2012 on the IIS platform. Client training is offered via webinar or an onsite visit to the client site.
Many of Mikrofax’s main customers are service solution providers, but they also have a strong banking and manufacturing client-base. Clients include BMW, Morgan Stanley, Sofitel the Palm Luxury Dubai Hotel and Haliburton International among others.
In regards to client satisfaction and retention, Petter stated, “we are very proud of the work we have done with some of the world’s leading companies and institutions in improving their supply chain management experience ; our consultants travel the world visiting both new and existing clients replacing their existing systems and improving their procurement workflow. The bottom line is we want to show savings on each transaction and lessen the “management time cost” of every purchasing dollar. That means providing systems that “simply work” and that’s important to our clients as they generally always have to justify their initial deployment. We run 24/7/365 – so every hour of day, someone around the world is using our systems to save their enterprise time and money.”
Overall, Mikrofax eBuyerAssist offers all the features a procurement executive would expect and more. Their commitment to strong system controls with the goal of eliminating poor procurement choices and the potential for fraud makes Mikrofax eBuyerAssist a product worthy of further investigation for your business. Visit Mikrofax at https://www.e-procurement.com