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    A healthy approach to mobile MRO purchasing

    Read how we helped reduce source to pay process costs by £24,100.

    End inefficient, costly procurement processes

    Procurement teams and engineers face a number of challenges when it comes to the maintenance, repair and operation of their organisation’s assets and facilities. The supply chain for indirect materials is complex due to the number of stakeholders involved, a fragmented supply base and the sheer number of products split across multiple categories.

    An MRI scanner is one of a hospital’s most significant assets. This diagnostic imaging and healthcare equipment is looked after by around 250 field engineers at a UK based firm. While a manufacturing plant is likely to have its own dedicated stores area and personnel, field engineers have no central facility to rely on. Yet there can be no delays when they need to get on site to repair or service an item.


    These impressive pieces of machinery require significant financial outlay. Taking one offline is not a small undertaking; when an MRI scanner needs to be serviced or repaired, time really is of the essence. The right product needs to be available at the right time to get it fixed. And engineers need to be able to access purchasing systems no matter where they are. The same time sensitivities relate to other important medical equipment too. If engineers can’t access an ordering system, they face a number of constraints and challenges.

    For this company, this often meant field-based engineers would travel to their nearest RS Local branch to see if a part was available. If it wasn’t in stock, they would have to return to base to place an order online. The costs and time involved in such an approach soon add up.


    When the engineer can’t get to the ordering system, the ordering system needs to come to the engineer. That became the basis for RS response to this customer’s situation. Building on an existing, successful relationship with this customer, RS developed a solution ideally suited to field engineers – a version of RS PurchasingManager™ optimised for mobile use. It takes all the capabilities office-based users of RS PurchasingManager™ are already accustomed to out into the field. From product identificationto raising purchase orders, and with a searchable catalogue that can be tailored to suit a customer’s requirements, RS PurchasingManager™ is a web-based order management tool. Using this system, the customer can now track, manage and authorise field engineers’ orders in a streamlined and controlled manner. It has also madeit possible to review demand in a more accurate way, through detailed purchase history analysis.


    Some results are measured in terms of stripping cost out of a process and saving money. This project has done that, helping reduce annualised source to pay process costs by £24,100, which is a reduction of approximately 25 minutes per order. Some of the other key achievements have been around the amount of time saved placing orders, and in establishing robust processes.

    The easier it is for an engineer to follow a process, the less likely they are to deviate from it. When ordering very specific parts, such as those used in medical equipment, there is a clear need to purchase from particular suppliers. But with smaller, low-value consumables, there are always going to be other potential sources to turn to. And when the pressure is on to get a job done fast, there may be the temptation to pick something up en route to a site, without thinking about following due process. Yet this customer’s use of RS PurchasingManager™ mobile demonstrates the success of encouraging engineers to stay within purchasing compliance.

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    70% of professionals state one of the biggest benefits of adopting a digital processes is better spend visibility*

    *2022 Indirect Procurement Report: RS & the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply

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    Digitise procurement with the power of RS PurchasingManager™

    Take a look at how our order management system can deliver efficiencies and save you time and money. No ongoing investment, no IT integration, easy on-boarding, can be used anywhere, anytime.

    How RS ProductPlus is helping our customers  

    With decades of expertise and trusted supplier relationships of our own, we are uniquely placed to cut through your complex procurement challenges. Find out how we enable customers to take control of purchasing.

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