Consultancy BMT Isis has produced the first 'Guide to sustainability in defense acquisition' which is about to be adopted by the UK's Ministry of Defence, as part of the Government's drive to become a leader in sustainable public procurement practice. Mark Hedges, Senior Environment and Sustainability Consultant, BMT, explains that the purpose of the document is two-fold: first, to raise awareness of sustainability issues and transfer knowledge to all defense acquisition programs, and second to serve as a tool to sustain the sustainability drive in the long term.
news Invoice Costs Under High Security A Sustainable Campaign Optimizing the purchase to pay process is a big and expensive headache for many ‘Sustainability’ in military circles is an organizations. HM Prison Service has made significant in-roads into the problem important word, but it isn’t usually associated using a solution from American company Brainware. with the Forces’ environmental footprint. This Set up in 2005, the HMPS Shared Service Centre, in Newport, is tasked with however is about to change. Consultancy achieving savings of £30 million while improving service across a range of finance, HR BMT Isis has produced the first ‘Guide to and, particularly, procurement services for 130 prisons. Steve Hodgson, Head of the sustainability in defence acquisition’ which is about to be adopted by the UK’s Ministry Service Centre, says: “We found the cost of processing an invoice to be roughly twice of Defence, as part of the Government’s drive to become a leader in sustainable public what we were expecting, closer to £5 than £2.” Analysis showed an extremely diverse procurement practice. supplier base, heavily dependent on paper invoices, and unwilling to absorb the costs Mark Hedges, Senior Environment and Sustainability Consultant at BMT, explains that of an EDI solution. Therefore, says Hodgson, “we decided that the automation of the purpose of the document is two-fold: first, to raise awareness of sustainability issues paper, rather than the elimination of paper, was the way we would go. There are more and transfer knowledge to all defence acquisition programmes, and second to serve as a than 10,000 vendors in the supply base with more than 5,000 regularly interacting; tool to sustain the sustainability drive in the long term. He says “The document will form building individual templates for thousands of suppliers would not have been a practi- an Acquisition and Operating Framework and will be available through an MoD public cal proposition. The feature of Brainware’s solution that attracted us was its ability to website not only to staff but also all suppliers and potential suppliers”. process invoices without having to build a template for each supplier.” The biggest problem, says Hedges, has been the huge diversity of defence Steve Britton, Brainware’s VP, Sales, EMEA, explains: “Our technology gives us a procurement. “Sustainability, rightly, means different things to different people: our unique ability to process very large numbers of invoices, regardless of whether they biggest challenge has been to create guidance that is meaningful to everyone”. The are electronic or in scanned paper form. Our software can learn from examples: we guidance builds on earlier work by the MoD with some 33 key suppliers such as BAe can ‘teach’ the system to recognize specific details, and it can then apply ‘handles’ and Qinetic which defined the high level intentions of suppliers and the MoD towards to information on documents that it hasn’t seen before. It’s a highly scaleable sustainable procurement. approach for customers with tens or thousands of suppliers.” Britton points out Sustainability considerations should be included at every stage from Concept and that ineffective invoice processing isn’t just costly. “If you can’t get out from under Assessment through Design, Manufacture and In-service use to ultimate Disposal, and the paperwork, you have no visibility at senior level. You damage supplier relations, include social and economic considerations. Hedges concedes that “probably some you can’t identify and work with strategic suppliers and, often, real money is going 70% of the document is about environmental
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