In 2010, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, a leader in the global luxury hospitality industry, began seeking an e-procurement solution to better manage their supply chain for their North American hotels. While Fairmont had some back-office and purchasing solutions in place at the time, they desired a user-friendly, industry-accepted, cost-effective, well-supported platform that could be integrated into their existing systems.
It was important for this e-procurement platform to work in tandem with Fairmont’s main procurement services provider Avendra so that purchasing processes could be efficient and offer product savings due to increased Avendra compliance. Fairmont was also looking for a platform flexible enough to allow other local and regional suppliers to be used to be incorporated into the e-procurement system.
Fairmont sought a true e-procurement partner who would listen to their needs and work with them to develop an adaptable platform at a reasonable cost.
In January 2011, Fairmont launched a pilot using BirchStreet’s e-procurement system at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston. The company opted to go with a “train the trainer” approach, to which BirchStreet assigned a senior member of its staff to work closely with Fairmont to develop a standard Fairmont e-procurement model and implementation procedure. Shortly after completion of the successful pilot in early 2011, Fairmont selected BirchStreet’s e-procurement solution as the standard for all its U.S. hotels.
After implementation, the learning curve for Fairmont staff was minimal. Managers in all departments – from Purchasing to Housekeeping to the Controller to the General Manager – were able to easily understand and utilize the e-procurement functionality. To further support accessibility, BirchStreet built a single sign-on interface with Fairmont’s corporate Web portal.
As part of the electronic purchasing component of BirchStreet’s e-procurement platform and its powerful tie-in with Avendra, Fairmont took full advantage of several supporting features including receiving, electronic checkbook functionality and advanced workflow approvals. The checkbook feature in particular was very effective for Fairmont, as it provided real-time insight into month to date spend, available balance, pre-purchase approval, and cost summary information.
To avoid replicating information into accounts payable, Fairmont wished to add AP functionality to the standard e-procurement module. BirchStreet’s standard, centralized AP solution provided more horsepower than Fairmont was looking for; as a result, BirchStreet worked with Fairmont to develop a streamlined AP module integrated into Fairmont’s on-property accounting system. In addition, a few of Fairmont’s larger hotels are adopting BirchStreet’s inventory control system to accurately track and cost perpetual inventory.
Greater efficiency – Due in large part to the electronic approval and simplified purchasing process of BirchStreet’s e-procurement system, Fairmont was able to improve staff efficiency.
Cost savings – Fairmont has realized a number of cost savings since implementation. Because BirchStreet’s e-procurement solution is cloud-based, it costs less to implement and maintain than on-premise solutions. Also, thanks to BirchStreet’s strong relationship with Avendra and the resulting increased compliance, Fairmont has realized significant product cost savings.
Reporting and analytics – BirchStreet’s ability to analyze tasks such as purchasing habits has enabled Fairmont to better understand the needs of their individual hotels. In fact, the response and overall satisfaction rate from Fairmont Hotels since implementing BirchStreet’s e-procurement system has been very positive.