For the Belgian air traffic control Skeyes we implemented a digital purchase request process in line with both public entities purchasing policies and internal approval steps using Bizagi BPM Suite.
Paper-based purchase requests forms within Skeyes' organisation led to:
senior officials not being guided or limited by the internal rules as they were filling out the purchase request on a paper document;
purchase requests being handed over to the purchasing department that required additional steps to be taken by the back-office to further improve the content of the request;
no way for senior officials to track the progress of their request when received by the back-office other than e-mailing or calling the team;
purchase requests being allocated to purchasers manually and all further actions and overviews tracked using spreadsheets;
additional administration and communication leading the purchasing team away from their core duty of ensuring adherence to procedure and the actual ordering of the goods and services.
It became clear that the purchase request process had to adhere to thresholds and procedures determined by national public sector rules, but that it also contained company-specific elements such as cost and budget center allocation, approval flows and allocation to back-office team members. Process steps and variables needed to be easily configurable in view of how the purchase request itself could further evolve and integrate with other processes in the future. Having their process enrolled onto a BPM platform was the optimal solution.
Our team of analyst-developers carefully observed the as is process end-to-end including all existing forms and information repositories, actors and constraints, opportunities and potential pitfalls, in close cooperation with the head of purchasing. Together they created the data model and decision policies, which were required as a baseline when creating the process flow and associated forms in Bizagi.
Using Bizagi, the team was able to instantly execute new versions of the process flow and forms and get immediate feedback from the purchasing team.
For the senior officials who make purchase requests, we activated the Bizagi Stakeholder experience to make the user interface as intuitive as possible. Each form field comes with additional guidance, and process steps and fields that are not required are dynamically hidden. The information introduced is automatically compared to the required thresholds which further informs the process and the approval flow.
Those who give approval get an e-mail notification and can add feedback to their decision. Cases can be routed back to the requestor or can be rejected. Only when the content is completely validated by the
business, the purchasing team will be involved to handle the approved request.
The process provides further guidance to the back-office team on the procedure to be followed and the additional steps related to that procedure (e.g. dates and decisions in case of a tendering procedure).
The solution was rolled out to 10 purchasers and 90 senior officials who are allowed to perform purchase requests. We used the Bizagi standalone solution on Skeyes’ infrastructure. Excluding licensing cost, the implementation of the platform and roll-out of a first process amounted to a one-off cost equal to 1.5 FTE, which is still less than the presumed yearly effort reduction created by this first process alone. Costs related to the platform setup are not repeated for future processes. Licensing costs are account-based and therefore also not repeated for new processes involving the same accounts.