ABS Nautical Systems
(ABS NS) has taken the traditional purchasing relationship and automated it to provide shipowners and operators with a more efficient way of obtaining competitive bids and more responsive service with its eProcurement product, an extension of its Purchasing & Inventory software module.
Nova Scotia-based Secunda Marine Services Limited (Secunda) is the latest operator to implement ABS NS eProcurement as part of its overall fleet management strategy.
The SafeNet eProcurement solution simplifies the placing of Requests for Quotation (RFQs) via email to multiple sources. Savings flow from the automatic population of a client’s SafeNet database with vendor RFQs, eliminating the need for the re-keying of prices and delivery times. SafeNet eProcurement’s interaction with the SafeNet application and the user’s email provides an easily managed and uncluttered method of communicating with vendors. Users can also issue Purchase Orders (POs) via email directly to their vendors.
This represents a different approach by eProcurement than the competing third-party programs on the market, says ABS Nautical Systems President
Jack Kitchura. “We have provided our clients with a simple, low-cost means of communicating electronically with their already established suppliers and vendors. Requests for Quotation (RFQs) and POs are exchanged directly between buyer and seller without any middleman commissions or transaction fees.” The benefits from this IT solution are quickly evident. Secunda's Manager of Fleet Information Systems, Trevor Weissent, says his company has installed the software at close to 30 supplier sites, and in conjunction with the implementation of NS eProcurement, moved much of the purchase order processing functions to the individual vessels. "We regard our vessel Captains and Chief Engineers as part of our organization's management team, they just happen to manage our floating branch offices. NS eProcurement has allowed us to better equip and utilize our shipboard management personnel and provides our purchasing department more time to better source instead of process. Our plan is to double the number of supplier installations in the next month."
The reduction in paperwork and administrative costs was clearly evident for Secunda, as Weissent points out. "In the first two weeks after we modified our purchasing process to increase the involvement of our vessels in the creation, approval and issuance process, we saw more than 100 purchase orders processed by our vessel managers, each representing a reduction in transaction processing at the office and significant reductions in the length of the purchasing cycle.” He adds, “This improvement in cycle times is being realized at the front-end of the process too. Our eProcurement-enabled suppliers are responding to quotation requests quicker and are extremely pleased with our new paper-less relationship. It's been a win-win for us and our suppliers."