Case study

ePurchasing cards help council cut invoice processing by 45%

ePurchasing cards accessed through a Crown Commercial Service agreement have helped North Ayrshire Council reduce late payments to suppliers and cut the number of invoices they have to deal with.

hand holding payment card

The customer requirement

With its catering service generating more than 17,000 low-value transactions each year, North Ayrshire Council wanted to find a way to streamline their purchasing and accounts reconciliation process.

For example, each time one of the council’s kitchens bought supplies, an individual purchase order had to be raised, which then had to be matched to the corresponding invoice. This took a lot of time and often meant late payments for suppliers - a particular concern if the supplier was a small business.

The solution

As a supplier on the Crown Commercial Service ePurchasing Card Solution(RM1095) agreement, and with lots of experience working with councils across the UK, the Royal Bank of Scotland was well placed to help them.

Having discussed the ePurchasing card option, the council decided to put the scheme to the test, as using ePurchasing cards would mean authorised catering staff would be able to pay suppliers more quickly. It would also simplify VAT reclaim and make it easier for the council to monitor spend instantly and online.

The benefits

Not only has the ePurchasing card solution meant that the council has 45% fewer invoices to deal with, 18% more are now being paid on time. Both kitchen staff and suppliers are benefiting from the easy-to-use system and, with fewer disputed invoices, the administrative burden is a lot lighter for the council.

“Now we can pay a whole month’s transactions with a single direct debit.”

Jill Houston, Procurement Manager, North Ayrshire Council

The council is taking the benefits of the new system beyond catering, with plans to extend it to other departments including schools and health & social care.

“Every commodity we purchase will be reviewed to assess its suitability for using an ePurchasing card.”

Jill Devine, eProcurement Officer, North Ayrshire Council.

Get involved

To find out more about how your organisation can make savings and process efficiencies by using ePurchasing cards:

Visit the ePurchasing Card Solution agreement (RM1095) web page

Email info@crowncommercial.gov.uk

Call us on 0345 410 2222.

Published 29 July 2016