Car dealerships offering multiple motor brands – often from different locations – have, by nature, a wide portfolio of suppliers, so having the relevant digital purchasing systems in place to ensure fiscal controls by brand and outlet is critical.
Controlling variables such as inter branch transport with contractors, body shop requirements (often spread over elongated periods of time), can be difficult. Additionally, ensuring staff across multiple locations all work from agreed price lists, often proves a challenge for sales staff and accounts departments alike.
With a reputation for excellence, The Sinclair Group, operational since 1945, are the largest motor retailer in South Wales with 20 branches offering 9 new vehicle manufacturers brands as well as a wide range of used cars. In 2019 Sinclair took the decision to source a Purchase Order software solution, to replace more manual driven purchasing practices, in order to have greater approval controls and reporting.
Mark Rosser (Group Accountant) with Karen Jones (Group Purchasing Manager) and Sophie Tucker (Management Accountant) wanted to prioritise sourcing a private UK based Cloud Purchasing Solution, to cater for the wide spread of users in different locations, as well as providing the savings on internal IT support overhead, that a hosted solution gives.
Their research (Google of course!) brought them to Cloud B2B’s web site and the range of Purchase and Purchase to pay solutions on offer. Their initial research of the site indicated that Cloud B2B could offer the range of functionality required – including key reporting facilities – as well as a system that offered a flexible licence model to minimise cost per user .
After remote demonstration sessions of the generic systems, Sinclair decided to order the full Purchase Order transactional based solution from Cloud B2B. A full specification session was held and a test system, based on the tailored version required by Sinclair, was passed over for them to do their own testing. The system makes full use of the Budget module to control spend by department, with nominal codes being set at budget level to ensure correct allocations. Delivery notes associated with the correct PO’s was another key feature.
Following this the system went live in September, with the system initially being run just by the Bridgend head office to ensure that the system, not only met the company requirements, but gained acceptance by users there.
As with most clients, it was decided to add more features to the system, to meet additional practical needs. Facilities for Group Approval (so anyone in that group can deal with a PO) Bulk Receipting lines on a Purchase Order and ability to receipt without a formal document, were all added under Change Management.
A meeting of all the key staff at all the other branches led to the deployment of the system to every location with a concurrent licence pool of 40, and the rolled out system has been well received by everyone, adding greater visibility of the financial performance of the branches.
Whilst supplier invoices are currently handled in Keyloop’s REV8 DMS (a core platform) , the ability for the Accounts department to control these better, has come with the insistence that if suppliers do not put a genuine PO number (generated automatically in the PO system) then they will not be paid! The widescale reporting now available allows any odd ‘rogue’ or late invoices to be easily located - saving a lot of time. The forecasting of monthly profitability has also been enhanced, using the extensive system reporting suite.
Another key feature of the PO system is the ability to import supplier agreed prices lists and specifications, which has made the job of raising a purchase order not only faster and more accurate, reflecting Group negotiated prices. From office stationery to car parts, the PO system has created a more structured format to all purchasing.
Whilst Sinclair don’t currently use the Supplier Invoice and Credit note module, this is available to them in the future, which would mean carrying out the whole procurement in one system, with approved invoices and credit notes available for import to any modern accounts system.
Sinclair Group | Old Field Road | Bocam Park | Pencoed | CF35 5LJ