Leading engineering and construction specialist North Midland Construction PLC (NMC)are implementing a sophisticated electronic system for exchanging trading documents with suppliers using Causeway’s Tradex e-Trading solution. The two companies are now working closely together on a range of customised features that will meet NMC’s precise requirements.

Operating on a national basis with head office based at Huthwaite, Nottinghamshire, the NMC Group undertakes construction projects throughout the UK, covering civil engineering, building and mechanical & electrical contracting. NMC has an extensive supply chain and recognised an opportunity to drive costs down and improve efficiency by introducing eTrading. Reducing paper usage also support’s NMC’s strong sustainability policy.

“There were obvious benefits to reducing the volume of paper invoices and improving our invoice tracking so we talked to a number of companies that were already using e-Trading systems,” recalled Gavin Clegg, NMC’s Group Executive Director for ICT & Improvements.
“We identified that the Hub Alliance was the standard we wanted to work with and, following a great deal of due diligence, chose Tradex from the Hub Alliance member companies. Causeway stood out for attention to detail and responsiveness - and the support they provided, even before the order was placed. This was clearly going to be a relationship that would add value to the process, and to our business. We also found that around 75% of our suppliers were already using Tradex,” he added.

A particular requirement for the system was the ability to check invoices line-by-line against received value, based on Goods Received Notes (GRNs) from site. In this way the GRN becomes the basis of invoice approval and, where invoices contain multiple items, NMC only pays for the goods it has received.

“We believe it should only be necessary to input data once. This system provides a great deal of automation, enabling us to capture data at the point that the order is raised and capture cost codes from our own financial system. The information then flows through the process so that we eliminate the majority of manual checking and duplication of effort. A number of our suppliers are unable to provide line-by-line invoices and Causeway is working with them to help them find a solution,” Gavin Clegg continued.

A further benefit to NMC is that the system will improve the logging of goods received onsite. To help with this, the company’s in-house software developers are producing an ‘app’ that will enable logging on mobile devices with synchronisation to back office systems when online.

The Tradex system is being phased in gradually, working initially with a few major suppliers to fine-tune the system.

“We are still in the early stages of the implementation but hope eventually to have at least 70% of suppliers on the system. We expect to see a significant return on our investment in Tradex, though at this stage we are unable to quantify that,” Gavin Clegg concluded.
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