The system, from hospitality e-procurement company Makella, reduces the cost of the purchasing process as well as software licensing fees by enabling Thistle to move from SAP Enterprise Buyer Professional to a standard version of SAP.
Makella's Procure Lite software has been tailored to integrate with Thistle's SAP R3 system. "The cost was becoming prohibitive, and we needed to look for a lower-cost alternative with better functionality," said Quentin Neville, purchasing director at Thistle.
Thistle will save £150,000 a year in licence fees alone, said Neville. "We have still to quantify the additional savings from reduced staff input time and improved efficiency," he said.
The e-procurement system, which handles 300 orders a day, enables 200 staff across Thistle's 49 hotels to order supplies from 30 approved suppliers through a central website at any time of the day.
"This flexibility is essential in the hospitality industry, where vital food orders for the following day are often made by chefs after evening service," said Neville.
Makella has connected Thistle with all of the hotel's suppliers, ranging from small businesses with little or no electronic trading capability, to corporates with their own proprietary systems.
Liam Taylor, managing director at Makella, said electronic trading is used by about 10% of the hospitality industry, but this is growing as chief executives begin to understand the cost savings they can realise through e-procurement.
"Taking control of the supply chain, consolidating suppliers and product ranges, and improving efficiency through managing procurement across a group according to set policies and procedures, all helps to cut cost out of the process," he said.