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Mission Accomplished: Omni Hotels Achieves Seamless Purchasing Process with Help from E-Procurement Tool

Omni Hotels announces that it has now fully implemented BirchStreet's Web-based e-procurement solution. As a result, all of Omni's owned and managed properties are leveraging the new online marketplace portal to manage and process their purchasing transactions. A fully automated procure-to-pay (P2P) application designed specifically for the hospitality industry, the BirchStreet system is now being used by Omni for its hotel, restaurant and spa operations, including its Bob's Steak & Chop House restaurant locations.

According to Omni's vice president of procurement & capital finance, Jim Kuthy, Omni decided to investigate e-procurement systems in 2007, and "after a thorough analysis of e-procurement providers, we decided BirchStreet was ideally suited to help us automate all of our purchasing practices into a centralized solution.

"We needed to take all of our previous processes --from ordering and checkbook maintenance to approving, receiving and invoice reconciliation -- and integrate them into one seamless solution," says Kuthy. "We felt BirchStreet was the only vendor that could automate virtually everything in the procure-to-pay cycle from A to Z and provide value 'out of the box' without significant customization."

Omni's objectives
Omni identified three objectives it wanted to accomplish, and according to Kuthy, BirchStreet fully met all three. "In fact, we even identified a fourth objective during the implementation that turned out to be one of the most important benefits of the system, in terms of return on investment."

Omni's first objective was to automate all of its disparate purchasing practices and roll them into one centralized P2P solution. Its second objective was to increase procurement efficiency and productivity across the portfolio. The third objective was to obtain visibility into all spending and reduce off-contract spending. But according to Kuthy, another valuable objective that was achieved was that of "three-way-matching."

"This was one of the biggest successes," says Kuthy. "We discovered that we could automate the matching of purchase orders to receiving records to payment invoices. With the help of BirchStreet president, Doug Sanborn, and his technical staff, we customized the application so that it automatically compares invoice unit pricing and order quantities to the prices maintained by the suppliers in their online Omni Marketplace to the purchase order. As a result, we have avoided potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in discrepancies."

"The implementation and training went smoothly, the properties like it and we are already getting some great returns," says Kuthy. "Moving forward we are committed to using it strategically to better rationalize our spending, enhance property efforts and leverage the data to negotiate with suppliers. We also intend to consider BirchStreet's Capital Projects module for our future property renovations and refurbishments."

BirchStreet provides the ideal procurement solution for hospitality companies, food service organizations, hospitals, universities and other organizations that conduct a mix of food and non-food purchasing activity. The BirchStreet Application Suite is delivered over the Internet, using the "Software-as-a-Service" (SaaS) model, which reduces the total cost of ownership compared with the traditional method of buying and maintaining enterprise software. It can be run as a single-property package or as an enterprise-wide solution to help organizations identify their collective buying power, improve operational execution and lower costs. The software is designed for organizations in which food and beverage represents a significant part of purchasing activity, and accordingly, includes numerous features to accommodate the unique needs of the food service industry. Additionally, Birch Street customers can leverage existing interfaces with more than 130,000 registered hospitality and food service suppliers and distributors.
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