Arora

 


Infor SunSystems iPOS Case Study

Arora

Solution Snapshot

Infor SunSystems™ iPOS eProcurement.

 

 

Organisation

Arora Hotels is one of the fastest growing privately owned hotel companies in the UK and is the largest provider of hotel accommodation and conference facilities at Gatwick and Heathrow Airports with over 7 hotels.

 

Objective  

To improve control of the group-wide purchasing process and to rationalise suppliers to negotiate better commercial terms.

 

Challenge

Arora International critical part of this growth strategy has been the procurement activities within the Group. Traditionally, multiple suppliers with varying pricing, a lack of a central purchasing function and manual processes for requisitions and order placement, has led to a lack of control over the procurement process. This was characterised by rogue purchasing and management control at the "wrong end of the process" i.e. at the point of invoice as opposed to the point of requisition approval.

 

Solution

After extensive review of the market, Infor SunSystems™ iPOS was chosen on the recommendation of business partners, TouchstoneFMS. iPOS was chosen because of its multi-level approval processes, based on both items and requisition totals.

 

Key Wins

  • Seamless integration with Infor SunSystems financial management suite
  • Full audit trail
  • Greater visibility and control of the costs within the business
  • Accelerated the speed of approval with the new procurement process enabled group wide
  • Standardisation of suppliers and more uniform pricing
  • Reduced direct labour costs within the accounts team, making better use of employee time 

 

Arora International Hotels fly high with Infor SunSystems iPOS eProcurement

 

Arora Hotels offer luxury bedroom accommodation at London Heathrow Airport, in Crawley close to Gatwick Airport and in Manchester City Centre. In total today the Arora Hotels portfolio represents 7 hotels with 2,850 bedrooms providing luxury accommodation, and 111 meeting and conference rooms, in 3 key locations in England.

 

The Challenges

 

The Arora growth strategy is based on identifying opportunities for hotel and property development, preferably by building rather than acquisition, and then pursuing them quickly and cost-efficiently. Accurate, quick decision making is therefore critical in order to maximise potential growth.

 

Against the backdrop of healthy growth, Arora has a corporate strategy to extract the maximum benefit through supply chain efficiencies. A key part of this has been a programme to ensure that the business sources products and services at the optimum price.

 

A critical part of this growth strategy has been the procurement activities within the Group. Traditionally, multiple suppliers with varying pricing, a lack of a central purchasing function and manual processes for requisitions and order placement, has led to a lack of control over the procurement process. This was characterised by rogue purchasing and management control at the "wrong end of the process" i.e. at the point of invoice as opposed to the point of requisition approval.

 

Clearly at odds with the Arora ethos of the continual optimisation of systems and procedures to produce greater efficiencies, senior management realised that the business required a system and processes in place across the Group for all hotel and food and beverage operations.

 

By enabling centralised contracting and purchasing, Arora sought to improve the visibility and control over procurement of over 5,000 items across 2,000 suppliers.

 

The Solution

 

Following a comprehensive review and analysis of the existing system and processes in place, complete with a detailed breakdown of requirements going forwards, Arora established a set of rules for new procurement processes from requisitioning through to invoice payment. Arora then presented the same set of requirements to a number of solution providers.

 

As an existing Infor SunSystems user, Arora sought a solution that would interface, not only with its financial management application, but also other applications such as Microsoft Outlook. As time was a critical factor, Arora looked for a proven solution offering a quick route to market and a short timeframe for implementation.

 

Based on a lengthy and successful relationship and that the solution offers total integration with SunSystems, Arora chose to invest in iPOS with TouchstoneFMS.

 

The iPOS solution offers a complete 'order to pay' process workflow for all business processes. The only product built exclusively for, and providing seamless integration with, SunSystems on an MS SQL platform, iPOS delivers business benefits with the lowest cost of ownership of any procurement solution for SunSystems.

 

iPOS was chosen because of its multi-level approval processes, based on both items and requisition totals. The ability to separate two distinct categories of items (contracted and non-contracted) and then process these categories in different ways was also critical. In addition, the facility to approve requisitions remotely was key factor in the decision.

 

Delivered on time and within budget for 150 users across nine business operations in six months, the solution is deployed on premise and accessible via a browser at each hotel.

 

The Benefits


Since its implementation, iPOS has enabled far greater visibility and control of costs. The placement of orders is now subject to full approval of requisitions, meaning that Arora can track purchasing before money is spent.

 

The integration of iPOS and Outlook as well as mobile devices has accelerated the speed of approval from requisition to order placement and also reduce administration and paper chasing at the point of invoice as each purchase now has a full audit trail of approval. This has in turn accelerated the speed of payment processes.

 

As part of the new procurement regime, iPOS has helped enable a group wide standardisation of suppliers and more uniform pricing. This has made processing easier and again, improved the speed of requisition approval.

 

The approval of requisitions has eliminated rogue purchasing and enabled Arora to set an ambitious target for standardising suppliers - to have 90% of its suppliers to be contracted, defined as a specific supplier with a Group wide pricing policy in place.

 

With less time spent on chasing paper invoices, Arora has been able to reduce direct labour costs within the accounts team and make better use of employee time. This productivity improvement is set to increase as all Arora Hotels business units are using iPOS and it is now the standard method of purchasing.

 

Clive Davies, iPOS Project Manager at Arora explains: "Overall we now enjoy the benefits of far more disciplined pricing and supplier relationships with a structured approach to purchasing. We have seen some supplier rationalisation but, more importantly, those that remain are moving across to our contracted category so we can start to take advantage of better pricing because of volume discounts.

 

Our purchasing processes are now far smarter and the integration with SunSystems means we have much tighter control on what is being spent.

 

With regards to the implementation, much of our success has been dependent upon the skills and technical ability of the invaluable TouchstoneFMS consultants assigned to us for both iPOS and SunSystems and enhanced by the strong account management. There has always been a solution found even when our requirements were outside the standard iPOS operational functions."

 

Sonny Roda, Group IT and Purchasing Director at Arora adds: "The integration of iPOS and SunSystems has been a crucial element in our success with this project, saving substantial amounts of time that would normally be spent re-entering data on the two systems.

 

Many facets of this project have been based on specific iPOS functionality, from the different requisition authorisation protocols to the remote approvals. The common thread has been that all have been deployed intelligently, and we are now examining where else we can deploy iPOS to increase the return on our investment."

 

Looking to the future, Arora will integrate iPOS with TouchstoneFMS' ETL Agile, the data warehouse solution, that will combine data from multiple operational systems including Myros Fidelio and Opera. This project was part of a bigger finance transformation programme that included areas such as budgeting, forecasting, eProcurement and business intelligence.

 

Arora now has a scaleable back office systems infrastucture that will support its ongoing expansion plans.