Compliance Opportunities Increase your Procure-to-Pay ROI

As we’ve discussed procure-to-pay (P2P) ROI in previous blogs, the aspect of compliance – both internally and with suppliers – will greatly benefit your business, along with operational process improvements. Automating P2P provides clients with the tools to improve operational compliance, at the location level, as well as to corporate standard operating processes (SOPs).

The following grid represents the broad spectrum of these opportunities.

Compliance ROI

BirchStreet’s platform has the capability to increase efficiency, provide controls and compliance. All of these combined benefits contribute to overall business process improvements (BPI). Trends show that many of the larger enterprise companies are moving to procure-to-pay solutions, but there is a huge opportunity for mid to large sized companies to bridge the gap they face with new technology.

For more information on eProcurement and industry trends, click here to see PayStream Advisors’ research and report on “Electronic Procurement: Creating Buyer/Supplier Collaboration Through Procure-to-Pay Solutions.”

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Part II: P2P Stories from the Road

Many of BirchStreet’s employees spend a lot of time on the road conducting sales presentations, meetings, implementations and customer trainings. This blog is the second in an ongoing series focused on encounters around the world from different perspectives and positions within BirchStreet.

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Profile

Employee: Tiran “T”
Length of time at BirchStreet: 1.5 years
Title: Trainer

 

Tiran, who goes by his nickname “T,” was born and raised in Dalian, China. At the age of 10, his family moved to the small remote town of Rio Hondo, Texas. With his only language Mandarin, his parents enrolled him in a bilingual school where he learned English.

For BirchStreet, employees who are bilingual are a huge asset when your customers are spread over 78 different countries. T was introduced to BirchStreet by a friend who had interned with the company. Shortly after that, T landed a job as a Marketplace Associate, dedicated to working on the AAHOA initiative and travelling to conferences around the United States. Six months later, the BirchStreet training team was looking to expand, and it was a natural fit for T to join that group.

As expected, T has become a very proficient traveler and has developed a routine when he’s on the road. Upon his arrival, he stays in the first night and tries to rest, sleep and prepare for the next day of training. He usually wakes up around 6 am, has breakfast with the Director of Purchasing or Finance, and a full day of training begins. For lunches and dinners, he keeps his eyes out for chicken pot pies and sweet potato fries, two of his favorite things to eat.

toronto raptorsIf T is in a big city training, he often tries to get tickets to the local sports stadium. Over the past year, he was able to see a Raptors game in Toronto and both Celtics and Red Socks games in Boston. T does admit that being on the road makes it hard to keep up your normal workout schedule, so he often finds himself doing pushups in his room. He’ll also try to use the hotel gym, and it’s always great if there happens to be a basketball hoop to shoot around. There’s an ongoing joke in the training team that a trainer’s essential items are diet pills (from all the great hotel food and travels), a bottle of wine (to relax with at the end of full day) and a roll of tape (to use for expense reports).

After conducting many training sessions around the world, T said that he has learned there are many consistencies across different hotels. In trainings, clients often ask the same questions, so he has learned to answer them and even address them before being asked. Having a business background in college proved to be very useful as a trainer because many of the accounting, budgeting and business processes that the BirchStreet platform is based on comes into question during training. Since he did not come from a career in the hospitality industry, he has embraced learning how hotel operations can become more efficient using the product.

When asked what his favorite place he has traveled to, there was no hesitation in answering the Shore Lodge in Idaho. Living steps away from the beach in California, T didn’t know what to expect when he arrived. Departing the plane in Boise, he drove to McCall, and even the drive was beautiful, relaxing and surreal with forests and snow-capped mountains. In a different trip to Sun Valley, Idaho, T was able to visit the room of Ernest Hemmingway, who used to live at the Lodge, which was especially meaningful because he is one of T’s favorite authors.

Internationally, T visited Istanbul, Turkey which was also amazing, as it was his first time in Europe. With the help of Hilton’s Director of Procurement, who also acted as his tour guide, he experienced the Grand Bazaar and was taught how to haggle with the vendors. One of the highlights of his trip was tasting a traditional Turkish dessert of quince with heavy whipped cream on top and drinking Turkish coffee with the coffee grounds in the cup. He learned that fortune tellers used to make predictions by the way the coffee grounds came out of the cup when they were dumped out.

T hopes that his travels will take him to Hong Kong, Brazil and Australia, but in the meantime, he is happy visiting any new place along the way. His favorite parts of being a trainer with BirchStreet is the ability to meet different types of people and cultures and the satisfaction of helping people learn procure-to-pay software that will make their daily jobs better.

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Part I: P2P Stories from the Road

Many of BirchStreet’s employees spend a lot of time on the road conducting sales presentations, meetings, implementations and trainings. This blog is the first in an ongoing series focused on encounters around the world from different perspectives and positions within BirchStreet.

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Profile

Employee: Andrew
Length of time at BirchStreet: 2 years
Title: Trainer
 

International air travelRaised in Southern California, Andrew’s latest home base is Barcelona, Spain. He has spent a majority of the last two years at BirchStreet on the road, travelling between Europe, Asia and South America, and estimates having visited approximately 20 countries – maybe more. Andrew is considered an expert on navigating through airports, airport restaurants, various mileage clubs and knows many tips about getting through airport security a little faster. Of course, he has a currency converter app on his phone, and knows to immediately go to the airport ATM and hop in a cab.

Most trips start with packing a full suitcase and a backpack containing his laptop and essentials. Upon arrival to the hotel, where he will typically spend 5 days training onsite, he unpacks and sets his framed picture of his family on a table, along with a wood-scented candle, which reminds him of home and building real fires in his fire pit in his backyard.

Despite any possible jet lag, the first day of training on BirchStreet’s procure-to-pay solution usually starts off at 7 am having a coffee with the Director of Finance or Purchasing before the main session starts to discuss the day, which begins at 8 am. The meeting room is typically set up in a class room style setting and sometimes a little hectic on the first day depending on the set-up logistics. But, it all settles down quickly with introductions and the team begins with 2 or 3 sessions in the morning, a lunch break at the staff cafeteria and another 2 or 3 sessions in the afternoon.

One of Andrew’s favorite parts of training is spending time with the hotel’s chef in the kitchen. He has a passion or cooking, so he tries to ask the chef for his favorite recipe – not from the hotel menu, but something he cooks for his family at home.

Adding a touch of humor into presentations helps customers get into the groove with a little joke that he claims to rate the quality of the hotel on its staff cafeteria – and, of course, this lunch is the best lunch he’s ever had. A typical day of training ends around 5 or 6 pm.

Usually, in the evenings, one or two nights are planned to have dinner with property team members. On unscheduled nights, Andrew’s favorite thing to do is to get “lost.” Wandering through new cities can be an adventure and he often ends up finding a local’s gem and meeting new people. Getting “lost” is a great way to explore off the beaten path.

When you travel as much as Andrew, you sometimes get a few extra perks at the client location. For properties who may know him from a sister property, they might stock his mini-bar with additional amenities – his favorite being Red Bull. He also has most of the hotels’ restaurant menus memorized. In Nevis, a Caribbean island, the resort put him in an amazing ocean view villa because there were no standard rooms available.

Hopping from hotel to hotel, trainers are bound to run into “strange and unusual” occurrences. One night, while trying to fall asleep, Andrew turned off the light. Bumping and fluttering kept him awake. He would turn back on the light and it would stop. This went on for some time, and proved to be a terrible night’s sleep. In the morning, the hotel staff found a bat trapped in the room!

All the travelling can take its toll, but Andrew has relished in his travels and meeting all sorts of wonderful people around the globe. BirchStreet’s hotel customers have treated Andrew to true hospitality by warm welcomes and stays, making the adventurous life of a trainer comfortable and ready for more.

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Part I: Tips to Prepare for P2P Implementation

The first step after an agreement is signed is the kick-off call, which begins the transition from Sales to Implementation. The implementation process is spearheaded by the BirchStreet Project Management team, which has identified critical steps and tips to ensure a smooth procure-to-pay implementation. A few of these tips are contained in the first part of the series below:

  1. Frequently, the people involved in negotiating the agreement are a subset of the stakeholders will be responsible for the implementation of the project. Determining the key stakeholders on the client side is the first piece of the implementation process.
  2. Assign a designated client leader for the project. This point person, or project manager, should be a dedicated staff member that will make procure-to-pay (P2P) a priority and champion the process hand-in-hand with BirchStreet’s project manager. This step will have a positive impact on the timeliness, scheduling and Go-Live dates.
  3. There are various templates (other templates will be discussed in a later blog), but completing a GL template is another first step at the beginning of implementation. BirchStreet will provide a template that standardizes GL coding and description for all locations. This critical information will be used for coding purchase orders, invoices, budgeting and the approval workflow process.
  4. Prepare a listing of vendor/supplier information, including contact information. This list will be utilized during the process of Supplier Adoption, which brings suppliers into the customer marketplace.

Our Project Managers will help you with each step of implementation. The tips above are provided to help you understand the implementation process. Your feedback is always welcome! Stay tuned for the second blog in this series on more tips on preparing for P2P implementation. For existing customers, please join our BirchStreet User Group to share and receive more tips and feedback.

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Why the Casino and Gaming Industries Need P2P

Dice on craps tableThe etymology of the word “casino” comes from Italy, with the root word being “casa” or house. Originally, it referred to a small country villa, summerhouse or pavilion, but as time changed, the word changed to refer to a larger Italian building, which hosted civic town functions, including gambling. As we all know, not all business have the same functions and needs; this holds true in the hospitality and gaming industries. Casinos have evolved from small Italian villages to a multi-billion dollar industry. This leap deserves industry-specific technology tailored to casinos and hotels, including procure-to-pay solutions for the back of the house or “casa.”

With 12 years dedicated to hospitality and gaming under its belt, BirchStreet leads the technology curve for P2P solutions. Hotels and casinos have a unique relationship with suppliers, guest demands, food and beverage, catering, conferences, maintenance and finance. Combine these factors with their purchasing and processing requirements, and you may understand how difficult it is to streamline business processes with accurate efficiency and control.

With so many departments with purchasing needs, cloud-based systems are recommended for enterprise, multi-location businesses. Casinos typically have a large component of their business dedicated to F&B (food and beverage). BirchStreet’s eProcurement, AP, Inventory and Recipe Management modules allow streamlined purchasing, budgeting, reporting and overall better business processes across different locations to stay on target and maintain top levels of compliance. The system helps monitor buying programs with selected suppliers to ensure on demand pricing. In fact, there are 200,000 suppliers already connected and doing business within BirchStreet. A procure-to-pay solution is essential for maximizing profitability for the entire hospitality community.

For more information on how BirchStreet can help your gaming facility or hotel increase efficiency, gain control, increase compliance and maximize ROI, email sales@birchstreet.net or visit us in Las Vegas at the Gaming Technology Conference at Caesars Palace on March 17-19, 2014.

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BirchStreet Joins the Las Vegas Gaming Technology Convention

BirchStreet is excited to announce its participation at the 2014 Gaming Technology Conference, held March 17-19 at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. We will be exhibiting at Booth #200 and presenting in two breakout technology sessions.

GTC webThe Gaming Technology Conference is the gaming industry’s premier technology conference. The event features hands-on technology updates, insights and strategies, addressing real-world technology challenges and solutions for all segments of the gaming industry. BirchStreet will be showcasing their comprehensive procure-to-pay (P2P) platform, including eProcurement, AP Automation, Inventory Control, Recipe Management System and Capital Budget Management modules. BirchStreet’s P2P solutions offer cutting edge procurement technology for the gaming, hotels and restaurant industries as it is specifically designed with strong F&B (food and beverage) purchasing and addresses requirements specific to those industries.

Please stop by to learn why BirchStreet is a better procure-to-pay solution for the gaming industry than our competitors.

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