Governing the vendor data from 14 different systems

AutoNation, is America’s largest automotive retailer. A constituent of the S&P 500 Index, it owns and operates 270 new vehicle franchises in 15 states, has 13 regional ERP systems plus a PeopleSoft system for head office, resulting in 14 accounts payable systems.

Context

Knowing their ERP landscape would remain complex, AutoNation needed a solution to consolidate and govern the vendor data from their 14 different systems.

“We have a centre-led procurement model. Our corporate procurement team currently manages about 40 plus categories of spend. Otherwise, the stores or business units can make the decisions locally about the suppliers they wish to use. We needed a system that could support the corporate oversight while still allowing for the local flexibility.”

Challenges Faced

Existing system landscape

AutoNation had 14 systems deployed on a more or less regional basis to handle the volumes of data they were dealing with. This meant that each time a supplier relationship was extended to a new region, the data had to be duplicated into the local system. This led to huge data redundancies and inefficient processes in trying to achieve a consolidated centralised view of the supply base.

Data quality

According to Jacy Bassett, manager, supplier resource department, AutoNation.

“It’s not until you’re in the midst of it that you realize the importance of not underestimating the data.”

For AutoNation solving their data quality issues was unarguably the most critical success factor in the project.

Data consolidation

With so many ERPs, AutoNation needed to devise an overall strategy to identify unique suppliers. “Having a holistic view of the supplier and the corresponding spend was difficult. This lack of insight had prevented us from being fully able to leverage our size and consolidate spend among our store and business units.” – Jacy Bassett, Manager, Supplier Resource Department, AutoNation.

The solution

Single system of truth

By implementing HICX platform with integration and master data governance, AutoNation achieved “a single source of truth, one point of data entry that feeds to all ERP systems through an automated process that ensures consistency in the data.

Going further, HICX enabled a seamless management of supplier record mismatches between the different types of ERP systems to ensure ongoing consolidation and reporting activities were possible.

Supplier portal

The HICX supplier portal has given AutoNation suppliers transparency into their invoice status and payment details. According to Jacy Bassett “It was a large part of our business case and ROI for the suppliers to depend less on our support desk and more on self-service in the portal” Denise Foley, CPO at AutoNation, said, “I think that the self-help portal is a very strong selling feature.”

Deployment approach

AutoNation on-boarded the suppliers into the fold gradually, by starting with the onboarding process for new suppliers gradually bringing existing legacy suppliers into the self-service model.

“Data doesn’t generally excite people – it’s very foundational. But the opportunities that come from the consolidation and enhancement of data can have a healthy impact on the bottom line.”

– Denise Foley CPO at AutoNation

Benefits

AutoNation have realised substantial benefits in terms of automating of the workflows and standardisation of the processes.

Through comprehensive reporting, AutoNation scaled the ability to tap into real-time information, equipping it with the information needed to manage and negotiate better with suppliers; for example getting access to insurance documents that vendors can upload into the portal.

The platform and portal have helped drive effective governance and better control with improved visibility at AutoNation. “The support desk was handling some 4,000 supplier inquiries a month – mostly from suppliers struggling to reconcile payments received from AutoNation’s 14 accounts payable systems with multiple outstanding invoices… ”

Moving suppliers on to a self-service portal has brought considerable savings and benefits for everyone.”

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