Balfour Beatty Opens the Path to Digital Transformation with P2P Solutions

Warehouse workers checking clipboard at loading bay

My name is Evan Sutherland, I’m Producement Director at Balfour Beatty. My responsibility is all category management across the group. We operate across many businesses from our Major (Projects) business to our UK Construction business, to our Rail business, to our Power business, to our Gas and Water business. We are quite a diverse infrastructure business. We are the UK’s leading construction provider and well-known across the industry.

We have two major challenges. One is budget, we are a relatively low-margin industry, it’s well documented. Our challenge will always be budget, margin and achieving the best possible result for the customer in very challenging circumstances. I think the other challenge for us is technology and innovation. The construction industry, some would argue, is playing catch-up. It is an industry that probably isn’t as forward as other industries so as an organisation how do we progress from a technology perspective to the next stages? They’re the two major challenges we face from a procurement perspective.

We made the decision that we wanted to make it much easier for users to procure and use goods first of all. We knew that catalogues existed, we didn’t know enough about them but we wanted to make it easier for our users to buy products and reduce leakage. On top of that, we wanted to start managing and automating how we manage the performance of our contractors and suppliers. We wanted one system, one way of working and a consistent approach across the group.

I think it’s important to say first of all that we ran a full tender and JAGGAER performed very well. It was simpler than a lot of other systems that we know in the market but easier to use. And when we took into account the cost but also, more importantly, the usability and technical side of things, it scored the highest in overall marks. So the decision was fairly straightforward in the end.

I’m Rachel McSheaffrey, Head of Systems and Processes and, for the JAGGAER implementation, the project owner. With any implementation, there are three key areas of challenges: people, systems and processes. Change is always challenging and especially in the construction environment.

We were changing how the guys on site procure and encouraging to buy from the prices that we have negotiated. We changed the way that we received the goods as well, and then with structured orders and receiving in a timely manner [that] facilitates straight-through processing and payment of our supply chain.

What we wanted to do is to make sure that under the bonnet is very complex but that the front-end is as user-friendly as possible. With the help of the JAGGAER resources and our IT team working together, we came up with options and implemented and introduced the right solution that would work for the whole business.

Evan: JAGGAER has allowed me as a procurement leader, and my colleagues, to first of all get visibility of what we’re tendering across the group. Secondly, our purchasing card spend has reduced about 65%, since May, on the suppliers that now have catalogues in place. So five months ago when we started this journey.

The feedback from our users has also been positive because it’s like being at home and using Amazon or Tesco.

Stephen Mole, Project Manager, Audley Coopers Hill: In the past, we had to use a p-card system individually for each supplier so if you were ordering from ten different items you could have had to ring up ten different suppliers. At the end of the conversation you had to submit the number over the phone, there were many problems with the number not being taken down correctly. And occasionally the payment didn’t go through so the materials didn’t turn up. Now on JAGGAER, it’s all on one system, you can place several orders at the same time and it always goes through.

Evan: Our customers trust us to procure goods and services for them, in our supply chain, in a fair and transparent manner. JAGGAER does that for our customers.

Stephen: At the end of the day it’s as simple as shopping online at home. And that’s what we want.