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TAFE NSW Streamlines Procurement with SAP Ariba Solutions

October 7, 2020

Lading Australian vocational education and training provider TAFE NSW is live with the full suite of SAP Ariba solutions from sourcing to payment, as part of a large-scale digital transformation to modernize and consolidate its procurement systems.

This announcement was made during Procurement Reimagined APAC, a new virtual event for procurement, supply chain and external workforce management professionals.

TAFE NSW is the second largest vocational education provider in the world, serving over 400,000 students across more than 130 campuses and online through TAFE Digital. It offers more than 1,000 courses — from plumbing to floristry, nursing to construction, aviation to fashion design. As a result, its supply chain is extremely diverse. In 2017, TAFE NSW operated as 11 separate units, with different technology systems, organizational structures and product portfolios with a combined operating spend exceeding A$500 million.

TAFE NSW did not have a centralized procurement function to manage its significant spend. Instead, purchasing was handled on an ad hoc basis through multiple, disconnected platforms. TAFE NSW turned to SAP Ariba solutions to integrate and standardize the end-to-end source-to-pay process across the organization and to consolidate all spend on a single platform in the cloud to help drive efficiency, cost savings and compliance.

In partnership with Bloom Consulting, TAFE NSW implemented SAP Ariba solutions for sourcing, contracts, buying, invoicing and payment, laying the foundation for a new procurement platform called TAFE NSW Checkout. By automating and simplifying the entire source-to-pay process for procurement and business stakeholders, TAFE NSW has been able to improve governance and compliance across the purchasing cycle. Furthermore, replacing its disjointed, manual, paper-based processes with a fully integrated, online buying experience has enabled TAFE NSW to increase savings, shorten the time to procure goods and free up administrative burden so staff can focus on its core business — teaching.

Since the rollout, TAFE NSW has trained 2,000 requisitioners and 1,300 approvers on the guided buying capability for SAP Ariba solutions, enhancing visibility and control across spend categories, with straight-through processing leaping from 2 percent to 44 percent within the first month and PO compliance rising to an impressive 93 percent. The organization’s network of suppliers are paid accurately and on time through invoice automation. TAFE NSW is also now better equipped to channel spending to Aboriginal-owned businesses and other local small businesses, thereby supporting the Australian community and economy. As a result of this digital transformation and the improved processes — from more competitive, strategic sourcing to digital contract compliance — TAFE NSW expects to achieve up to A$33 million in savings over the next few years.

“SAP Ariba solutions have enabled us to develop a robust and unified spend management platform, which helps streamline the organization’s procurement processes,” said Giles Curtin, TAFE NSW general manager of Procurement. “The improved user experience means we’ve been able to onboard thousands of remote staff onto the platform throughout COVID-19, with the end-to-end electronic workflow enabling them to focus on teaching, knowing their buying needs are being met while at the same time achieving significant efficiencies and cost savings for our business.”

The implementation of SAP Ariba solutions follows the successful rollout of SAP Fieldglass and SAP Concur solutions. With SAP Fieldglass solutions helping to manage its large contingent workforce, TAFE NSW has increased visibility into this critical workforce segment and improved talent management decision-making. Since the rollout in 2017, the organization has reduced the number of contingent worker invoices from 17,000 to just 24 each year, and has automated and auto-paid more than 50,000 timesheets per year. Additionally, since its rapid 15-week deployment of SAP Concur solutions in 2019, TAFE NSW has moved 1,100 purchasing cards for staff from a legacy system to the cloud, making business expense processing more efficient.

“By partnering with SAP to improve visibility and management over spend, TAFE NSW has achieved huge savings back to the organization,” said Henrik Smedberg, SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass ANZ regional vice president. “Furthermore, TAFE NSW Checkout has really raised the bar on user experience for staff and suppliers alike, and in the midst of a global pandemic no less.”

According to Bloom Consulting Managing Director Abid Ali: “The SAP platform has set a new benchmark for the higher education sector, significantly improving the day-to-day experience for staff and suppliers. The implementation has enabled us to successfully drive improved processes and cost savings for TAFE NSW.”

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