The Challenge

Westward Property Management is a rapidly growing company specializing in condominium associations in Chicago and Denver. With over 500 properties under management, old manual procurement processes were difficult, time consuming, and provided management no visibility into the sourcing processes of its managers. The increased geographical reach also meant that it needed to rely on an expanding list of properly vetted suppliers.

In an effort to improve operations, Westward centralized its procurement into a small group of buyers, each with a specific area of expertise such as construction or building services. Yet, centralization was only part of the solution: Buyers needed tools that could help them work more efficiently, collaborate, and minimize the risk of poor supplier performance.

The Solution

Recognizing that technology could offer a solution, Westward researched several sourcing software solutions. They finally settled on eBid Systems’ procurement platform because it’s simple and easily supports both construction type solicitations as well as traditional services.

Much like other firms in their industry, Westward is responsible for obtaining quotes and bids for service contracts, maintenance, and capital projects. However, while many firms only work with a few suppliers and have limited competition, a key differentiator for Westward is their emphasis of supplier competition to ensure building owners get the best value.

eBid Systems’ Supplier Management system helped Westward quickly increase the number of qualified suppliers in different geographical areas through its public registration. Key information is captured during the qualification processes, enabling them to hire the best suppliers and contractors while avoiding those that represent significant risk.

The Advanced Sourcing module, which enables electronic bidding, was implemented to help Westward increase the number of projects and services bid without increasing staff. Employees are able to save time by copying previous solicitations, automatically send solicitations to prospective suppliers based upon categories, service areas, and previous experience, then easily track results. All bid information is readily accessible, which is particularly important for Westward since the time from initial quotes to the actual project can be as long as a year.

The Results

Westward has come to realize the value of their vendor database and recently launched its Preferred Vendor Network program. The program emphasizes the quality of the company’s suppliers and underscores the company’s approach to bring more competition into the contractor and supplier selection process for the properties they manage. For instance, as part of their supplier selection process, Westward utilizes a rating system based upon previous experience with the company.

The combined practices of prequalifying of suppliers, centralizing all supplier data and documentation, and tracking performance also have the added benefit of reducing supplier risk. As a result, not only did implementing the eBid Systems platform improve the bottom line of their customers, Westward Property Management is now better positioned for future growth in an ever-changing environment.