[caf_filter id="165"]

Case Study

Nasco Education Case Study: Empowering Educators with Seamless Punchout Procurement

Who Is Nasco Education?

For more than 80 years, Nasco Education has made it their mission to empower teachers with hands-on solutions that prepare, engage, and inspire students and help them build a foundation for success.

Catering to PreK-12 educators and administrators seeking interactive learning solutions, they offer a wide range of materials and professional development resources in the areas of Art, Science, Math, SEL, STEM/STEAM, P.E., Health, FCS, AFNR, CTE, and Health Sciences. 

Visit their website to learn more: nascoeducation.com

Nasco Education’s Customer Relationships Go Beyond Just Products or Transactions

One of Nasco Education’s goals is to provide educators with affordable, streamlined solutions that make ordering classroom materials easier and faster so they can spend more time teaching. That’s why, when searching for an eProcurement system that would enable their customers to directly access their eCommerce site from their respective financial systems, they turned to EqualLevel GO.

eProcurement, or electronic procurement, is the process of purchasing goods and services electronically through online platforms or software systems. It simplifies the procurement cycle, from requisitioning and sourcing to ordering, receiving, and invoicing. eProcurement solutions offer educators and other businesses the ability to manage their procurement activities more efficiently, reducing paperwork, automating workflows, and enhancing visibility into spending.

PRIOR TO IMPLEMENTING EQUALLEVEL GO

When transitioning their eCommerce platform, Nasco Education wanted to find an efficient, user friendly eProcurement solution that would seamlessly integrate with their new platform. 

Enterprise Resource Planning Manager Scott Johnson explained that “Nasco Education’s challenge was finding a new solution to replace our approach of bolting on a punchout adapter to our eCommerce system, which was housed on our old platform.

Learn more: The Power of Punchout

THE KEY FACTORS DRIVING NASCO EDUCATION’S DECISION:

In their search for a new system, Nasco Education conducted thorough market research and easily identified EqualLevel GO as a strong, promising solution.
 
  • Stability: EqualLevel GO offered a reliable and robust punchout system that instilled confidence in the procurement process.
  • Smooth Transition: Switching to EqualLevel GO was straightforward, ensuring a seamless migration from their previous platform.
  • Consistency in User Experience: EqualLevel GO closely mimics the look and feel of Nasco Education’s eCommerce site, enhancing familiarity for customers.
  • Easy Onboarding: The platform facilitated hassle-free onboarding for new punchout customers.
  • Technology Backend Systems: The punchout system established bidirectional communication with both the ERP and eCommerce platforms.

ACHIEVING OBJECTIVES WITH EQUALLEVEL GO:

EqualLevel’s values and mission aligned seamlessly with Nasco Education’s commitment to providing educators with budget-friendly, optimized solutions. EqualLevel GO’s product checked the boxes we were looking for,” stated Carrie Rue, Nasco Education’s Chief Information Officer. “GO aligns with our goal to provide educators with affordable, time-saving solutions that make finding and ordering learning materials easy.

By providing an effective punchout system for placing orders, Nasco Education is able to cater to the growing demands of their customers. According to Infrastructure Manager Brandon Desrosiers, “EqualLevel GO offers a stable and robust punchout system that can be utilized by our customers to easily place orders with us. The platform will allow us to grow and expand our use of punchout.

By simplifying the procurement process and making it easy for people to get what they need,” explained Rue, “teachers are empowered to focus their time on teaching and enhancing students’ learning experience!

Future Plans for Nasco Education:

EqualLevel GO has proven to be the ideal solution for Nasco Education’s punchout procurement needs. “We are excited to maximize the use of our punchout procurement platform by both existing and new customers. This expansion will enhance the customer experience and boost efficiency and accuracy when processing orders,” asserts Johnson.

With EqualLevel GO’s best-in-breed integration, we have empowered Nasco Education to achieve their mission of providing top-notch educational resources to educators, helping them prepare students for success. With the continued partnership between Nasco Education and EqualLevel, the future looks bright for streamlined and efficient procurement processes in the education sector.

Further reading:

  • For more information on PunchOut, check out our blog post, or review our website punchoutcommerce.com.
  • Click here to learn more about EqualLevel solutions and how they can help you!

Our team of experts is always happy to help, contact us to get started.

Case Study

Arlington ISD Chooses eProcurement Excellence

Step into the world of Arlington ISD and hear the unfiltered narrative of Lisa Philips, the Purchasing Director, as she recounts their procurement transformation journey. In her candid testimonial, Lisa sheds light on the intricacies of the challenges they encountered before EqualLevel’s intervention. With transparency, she unveils the complexities of vendor management and purchasing streamlining that plagued their growth. However, the partnership with EqualLevel proved to be a game-changer. Our team of experts stepped in with tailored solutions that not only addressed their pain points but also elevated their procurement efficiency to unprecedented heights.

Lisa’s account is a genuine portrayal of how EqualLevel’s expertise can reshape an organization’s approach to procurement. Her testimony underscores the strategic value of our solutions, highlighting the collaborative journey from obstacles to triumphs. Through this firsthand experience, we invite you to witness the tangible impact that can be achieved when innovative technology and a dedicated team converge. Join us in exploring how EqualLevel empowers businesses to transcend challenges and embrace procurement excellence.

Case Study

District Saves Time, Money with eProcurement

Arlington Independent School District (ISD) has completed implementation of its new eProcurement software. Arlington ISD worked with developer EqualLevel to implement the software with the goal of streamlining the district’s purchasing processes. 

About Arlington ISD

Arlington ISD is the 11th-largest school district in Texas. It is located in Arlington, Texas, 13 miles east of Fort Worth and 20 miles west of downtown Dallas. The district serves 60,000 students spread among 76 campuses including 13 high schools, 10 junior high schools, and 53 elementary schools. They are the largest employer in Arlington, with a staff of approximately 8,500 and an annual budget of over $550 million.

In February 2022, Arlington ISD contracted with EqualLevel to integrate its eProcurement software with the district’s financial system, Frontline TEAMS. Working with district Director of Purchasing Lisa Phillips, set-up was completed in May 2022 and implementation was completed in August 2022. The district has already started seeing benefits, including capturing immediate savings that are being redirected back into the classroom.

One Marketplace for All Approved Contracts

Arlington ISD’s new marketplace brings together the catalogs of 28 district-approved vendors into a single, user-friendly interface. The new system provides a consumer shopping-like experience for teachers and staff. They will now utilize a single search box to comparison shop across district-approved contracts from both local and national vendors and add items to their cart, where they can then be transferred to administrators to approve and execute the purchase.  Administrators no longer have to look up items for end-users, returning valuable time to their busy days.

Savings

Savings with the new eProcurement marketplace are projected to be significant for Arlington ISD. The system will put an end to non-compliant purchases and maverick spend by limiting purchases to only district-approved vendors. That alone will help them save by ensuring that every purchase is benefiting from contracted prices. However, the software also includes an AI-powered savings advisor, ELSA (EqualLevel Savings Advisor), that automatically identifies, in real-time, the lowest price for items, or best available substitute, from approved suppliers. Arlington ISD’s Executive Leadership is particularly excited about ELSA’s ability to uncover potential savings for the district.

Accounting

On the accounting side, seamless integration into the Arlington ISD’s financial system means requisitions and purchase orders will be automatically captured, eliminating the need for manual entry and thus freeing up district staff for more high-value tasks. The district is already processing hundreds of POs per month through their marketplace and plans to expand to service categories later this year. Leadership expects this number to grow as end-user adoption continues to increase.

Case Study

Mesquite Independent School District Chooses eProcurement to Improve Efficiencies

For years, the Purchasing Department at Mesquite Independent School District (ISD) had been searching for a way to maximize staff time and budget dollars with technology. The procurement process at district campuses included a mix of manual and electronic processes, and some requisitions even had to be handwritten and routed to several team-members for approval. It was difficult for staff to obtain multiple quotes for compliance purposes, much less comparison shop for best values. 

eProcurement: The solution they were looking for.

In summer 2021, Mesquite ISD’s Purchasing Department leadership, made up of Director of Purchasing Darci Hooten, and Senior Buyer Kelly Burks, met with EqualLevel to discuss its procure-to-pay compliance platform. Mesquite ISD learned EqualLevel could create a platform that would offer them easy access digitally to approved vendor partners, as well as commodity codes at the product level, all in one location. They quickly saw how EqualLevel’s platform could potentially save the district thousands of dollars in both time and money. 

“Seeing maverick spending reigned in would be huge,” said Hooten. “With the current system being so tedious and labor intensive, the marketplace could potentially speed up everything for everybody.” 

Other features

The district was also excited to learn about other features of the marketplace:

  • Compliance: The marketplace would drive end-users to the district’s approved contracts.
  • Community Inclusion: The marketplace would give end-users the ability to shop from local vendors so more budget dollars remain in the community.
  • Savings: The marketplace’s AI-powered EqualLevel Savings Advisor (ELSA) would identify the best price among all district-approved suppliers for users while they shop. 

In February 2022, the initiative became critical when a new district policy mandated the use of commodity codes on all requisitions and purchase orders. In a typical month the district was processing between 2,200 and 2,500 purchase orders. Hooten and Burks quickly realized campus staff simply could not absorb the additional coding work and faced the reality that the task would likely fall to their own overtaxed department. They were relieved to hear EqualLevel could sync the district’s commodity codes, automating the task and eliminating the need for any manual intervention. Now it was time for a decision: either automate to sync the codes, or hire a new team member to take on the extra work. 

Mesquite Chooses EqualLevel

In mid-2022, Mesquite ISD chose EqualLevel to automate its procurement process, including full integration with its Munis ERP system. “The ability to lessen the load at the campus level and execute the commodity code project were critical points in getting buy-in from our CFO,” said Hooten. With the commodity code crosswalk, the savings that would be generated, and the flexibility and ease-of-use at the campus level, procurement would be able to deliver on multiple district initiatives in one program. “We conservatively estimate 10 to 15 percent savings just in hard dollars. That doesn’t include all the soft savings associated with the time our departments and campus staff will be saving,” said Hooten. “It’s going to be a major game changer.”

Update

In fall 2022 EqualLevel developers began building the commodity code crosswalk for Mesquite ISD. Unfortunately, they discovered the district’s financial system, Munis, would not support passing the code. EqualLevel was able to quickly create a custom solution for the district so their codes could be converted into their system. This work-around allowed Mesquite ISD to still meet its target go-live date. 

Case Study

Small Business Sees Yearly Sales Increases Since Creating PunchOut Store

There are not many businesses today that can claim to have employed five generations of people from the same family but, after being in business for over 113 years, Midwest Technology Products can say just that. Today, Midwest Technology Products works exclusively with educators worldwide, providing quality products, furniture and supplies for makerspaces and fab labs, as well as Career & Tech Ed and STEM instructional spaces. In 2013 when their customers started transitioning to eProcurement, which favored vendors with the capability to PunchOut to their marketplaces, Midwest Technology Products knew it was time to create a PunchOut store for their 500-page catalog.

About Midwest Technology Products

Located in Sioux City, Iowa, Midwest Technology Products is a small (just under 20 employees), woman and minority-owned business that offers 11,000 products from 700 vendors. Through their unmatched customer service, they have built relationships with a broad network of school purchasers including teachers, administrators, purchasing agents, and curriculum directors.

Unlike a lot of their competitors, Midwest provides consulting for the layout and equipment requirements of their clients’ projects. They have designed and installed hundreds of specialty workspaces filled with durable, trade quality tools and equipment and their project management team can see a project through from specifications to coordinated delivery. They also offer kits, so customers have everything they need to make labs or makerspaces on their own. In addition, their products are unique; many of the items in their catalog cannot be found anywhere else online.

Midwest Partners With EqualLevel to Create eCommerce Site

In 2013, in order to continue to reach their customers who were transitioning to private marketplaces, Midwest Technology Products partnered with EqualLevel to create a PunchOut store. EqualLevel’s catalog management software, EqualLevel GO, offers small OEMs or distributors who may have limited IT capabilities the opportunity to establish a PunchOut catalog store, or PunchOut store, that integrates with ERPs. This allows the products from small companies to appear alongside those of their bigger competitors in the eProcurement marketplaces of large-scale buying organizations such as purchasing cooperatives and school districts. 

To transfer their catalog, Robin Peterson, former President, was tasked with creating the line item data for Midwest’s 11,000 products including creating key words, sourcing images, and writing short- and long-form descriptions. The information was then sent to EqualLevel and through EqualLevel GO, they were able to create Midwest’s PunchOut store.

PunchOut Opens Doors

Midwest’s PunchOut store has opened doors that were previously closed to them due to their lack of eCommerce capabilities. They have been able to get in front of public sector organizations as well as other markets previously inaccessible to them. It has also improved their bottom line in other ways. Just through having all the specifications of their 11,000 products online, they have been able to reach more customers and make more sales. “Even when people don’t order through the website, and call in an order instead, our eProcurement marketplace has still served a purpose as a marketing tool. Most of the time the client will have used the site to learn and discover first, before picking up the phone to order.” 

Since engaging with EqualLevel and transitioning to eCommerce, Midwest has not looked back. “Every year since creating our PunchOut store we have seen sales increase,” said Peterson. By utilizing EqualLevel GO to facilitate the creation of their eCommerce site, they now reach more customers in their target market than ever before.

Further Reading

About Midwest Technology Products

About EqualLevel GO

How EqualLevel GO “Levels the Playing Field” for Small/Disadvantaged Businesses

Case Study

District Utilizes Technology to Manage Supplemental Funds Accounts for Teachers

Too often the complexities of school district procurement processes compel teachers to pay out of pocket for necessary supplies. To combat this trend, Chicago Publics Schools (CPS) has come up with a plan to ensure teachers have the tools they need. According to Article 7-6 of the Chicago Teachers Union contract, “Each Fiscal Year, the BOARD shall appropriate sufficient funds to each school or unit to reimburse teachers, counselors, clinicians and speech-language paraeducators up to $250.00 per employee for instructional supplies and materials, classroom library books and therapeutic materials purchased by them for student instruction and support.” CPS will utilize EqualLevel’s MyFunds software to help manage supplemental funds accounts for teachers, including tracking spending and expediting reimbursements.

EqualLevel MyFunds

MyFunds is an optional feature of CPS’s existing procure-to-pay platform, EqualLevel. With MyFunds, each educator will have access to their own individual, pre-paid account. They will be able to make purchases within the district’s existing supplier marketplace or purchase outside of the marketplace and submit reimbursement requests. The mobile-friendly platform can route reimbursement requests and accompanying receipts to administrators for approval. Once approved, reimbursements will be deposited directly into instructors’ bank accounts. 

Shortening the District’s Supplemental Fund Cycle

“We will have access to accurate, up-to-date spend data on transactions occurring both inside and outside of our online marketplace, allowing funds to be distributed responsibly,” said Charles Mayfield, CPS’s Interim COO. “The district will also have the ability to track line-item spend down to the individual shopper.” CPS believes that the automation provided by the new platform, coupled with its transparency, will shorten the district’s supplemental fund cycle.

The district is hopeful that the efficiency of the program will eliminate the need for educators to purchase time-sensitive supplies from costlier brick and mortar stores, and instead encourage them to order via approved suppliers at a significant savings. Nevertheless, if purchases outside of the marketplace are required, instructors will be reimbursed in a timely manner. Orville Bailey, EqualLevel’s CEO, said of CPS’s new platform, “By marrying policy with technology, Chicago Public Schools has made leaps and bounds when it comes to simplifying procurement and providing educators with the resources they need.”

Click here for more information about EqualLevel’s MyFunds software.

Case Study

City Adopts Best-of-Breed eProcurement Solution, User Acceptance Soars

In 2021, despite having an end-to-end PunchOut system in place, the City of Sioux Falls’s procurement department was still processing thousands of purchase orders annually. Frustrated with the inefficiency of their system, procurement officers set out to find a best-of-breed eProcurement solution for the city.

The Problem

The city’s PunchOut system was ineffective and therefore not being utilized by employees in the field. Not only was it clunky, but it also lacked functionality, it was hard to access, and users found the checkout process cumbersome. It was easier to send requisitions for purchases to procurement than to try to make purchases through the system they had in place. The city was also limited in the number of catalogs the system could employ, leaving options for products also limited. Additionally, the procurement department found running reports to be a lengthy process in their former system.

About the City of Sioux Falls

Boasting highly rated schools, low tax rates, affordable housing, and a dynamic parks and recreation system, the City of Sioux Falls provides its citizens with a great place to live, work, learn and play. It is no wonder that in 2020, the city was voted tenth among the 100 best places to live in the U.S. (livability.com). Situated in the middle of the Great Plains, the City of Sioux Falls is the largest city in South Dakota, with a population of 180,927. Its progressive city government, with a 2022 operating budget of $281 million, is led by Mayor Paul TenHaken. The Mayor has continually pledged his commitment to investing city dollars into technology to improve processes. 

Time for a Change

Purchasing Manager Scott Rust and Business Analyst Matt Newman knew that if they ever wanted to have a tool that made purchasing easier and that would be embraced by city employees, they would have to find one that was much more user-friendly. They set out to find a best-in-breed eProcurement platform that could provide an easy and effective shopping experience for end-users. 

User Acceptance Number One Priority

Because user acceptance was the top priority for the city, they evaluated their options based on end-user needs. Rust and Newman created a list of features they surmised city departments would need in a new system. Then, they took that list to city employees to see if they were on the right track, and if there was anything that they may have missed. Based on the feedback they received they modified their list. “We listened to our end-users. We wanted them to be in the driver’s seat,” said Rust. Besides end-user acceptance, it was also important to the procurement department that the new system offer robust reporting capabilities. 

Best-of-breed eProcurement System

The City of Sioux Falls set out to find a “best-of-breed” eProcurement system. They conducted a formal evaluation of systems recommended by their counterparts at various schools, cities, and states. One system that was endorsed, the EqualLevel marketplace, seemed to check all of the city’s boxes. With its ability to provide users with an easy and effective shopping experience with unlimited catalogs in one centralized location, along with its extensive reporting capabilities, EqualLevel’s system seemed like a win for both the city’s end-users and the procurement department alike. During a demo, the city looked at every facet of the software to determine ease-of-use for the end-user. The checkout process was simple and seamless. On the administrative side, they found the workflow worked well for routing purchases over a certain threshold to procurement. They were also impressed with the system’s dashboard and reporting features.

CFO Approval

Selling the product to the city’s CFO turned out to be an easy process for Rust and Newman. EqualLevel’s marketplace would cost less than their current product and it had a better ROI, making it a “no brainer,” said Newman. Having the ability to use a single sign-on through the city’s intranet, as well as the security certificate EqualLevel has in place, were selling points for the city’s IT department.

“We were surprised how fast it was adopted and how fast it earned a prominent spot on our city’s intranet.”

The City of Sioux Falls ultimately decided to partner with EqualLevel and signed a contract in fall 2021. The implementation process began with a kick-off meeting between the city and EqualLevel where the project was divided into stages and an aggressive timeline was established. The city supplied EqualLevel with the names of the suppliers that needed to be set up in the system. “EqualLevel worked closely with us and each of our suppliers. Some suppliers were more familiar with PunchOut than others. EqualLevel worked step-by-step with the companies that needed more help with the process,” Newman shared. In keeping with their timeline, the city was able to fully roll out the new system in April 2022. “The process was not too cumbersome at all,” said Rust. “We were surprised how fast it was adopted and how fast it earned a prominent spot on our city’s intranet.”

Launch

The City of Sioux Falls decided to launch its EqualLevel marketplace utilizing its pCard program for payment. Since the launch of the city’s new EqualLevel marketplace, there have been more orders, contract compliance has increased, and there has been less maverick spending.  “Now that we have been able to add so many more catalogs, the spend has gone up on contract considerably,” said Rust. In the three months the system has been in use, over $350,000 in spend has been executed through the marketplace. In the last 30 days alone, there have been over $30,000 in purchases. “EqualLevel was able to create an easy-to-use, Amazon-like shopping experience for the city. EqualLevel’s flexibility allowed us to create the system we need. The checkout process is seamless. From the field to the office, everyone can use it,” said Rust.

Today, with the implementation of the EqualLevel program, the city has removed over 600 purchase orders from the system. Buyers no longer have to wait for procurement department approval before making purchases. “Having 600 plus requisitions out of our system has freed up procurement employees to do other things. With supply chain issues and federal money that has become available, procurement is not getting any less busy. It truly couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Rust.

More City Dollars Kept Locally

The city currently has 20 supplier catalogs onboarded with plans for more in the future. The fact that there is no limit to the number of catalogs that can be added equates to time savings for employees who can now utilize the procurement software as a one-stop-shop. Of the suppliers that have been onboarded, 12 have brick and mortar stores within city limits, allowing more of the city’s dollars to be kept locally. “Doing business with local retailers has been a priority for our city. With EqualLevel’s tool we are able to satisfy that goal,” said Rust.

Reporting

On the administrative side, the marketplace’s dashboard includes reports that show up-to-date spend for the month or for the week, or by user. Easy-to-run reports and the ability to customize ad hoc reports means the product is not just a fit for departments in the field, but also for city administrators.

User Acceptance

With 250 active users, the city has achieved a 70% user acceptance rate which is better than they had anticipated. End-users are taking ownership of the system including suggesting catalogs to add and providing ideas to make the software work even better for them. “With everything in one system, users are motivated to use it. People feel good about saving money with the built-in savings advisor, ELSA, and administrators like seeing their savings accumulate  through the ELSA reporting,” said Newman.

pCards

The ease of using the pCards through the marketplace has provided other benefits as well. “The rebate with our pCard program has grown exponentially through the increased use of the marketplace,” said Newman. “This additional rebate further increases the product’s ROI.”

“The possibilities are endless.”

Now that phase one implementation has been completed, Rust and Newman look forward to watching the marketplace continue to evolve and to seeing the savings achieved after the system has been in place for a full 12 months. Phase two plans are in place to add more catalogs and more users. “The system will continue to evolve and get better as we use it. The possibilities are endless,” said Rust.

The city sought to build a best-of-breed procurement solution for their community and they believe they have found it. “The product provides ease-of-use for both the end-user and the administrator. The analytics of the tool are amazing. We now have so much information at our fingertips.” Rust and Newman are excited about the future and the growing benefits that the EqualLevel marketplace will provide.

Case Study

eProcurement Platform Automates Cooperative Purchasing

The Interlocal Purchasing System, better known as TIPS Purchasing Cooperative (TIPS), selected EqualLevel to help automate and streamline purchasing for its members. The TIPS eProcurement system allows TIPS members to easily access the cooperative’s approved suppliers within a single, intuitive marketplace to ensure compliance and best value purchasing decisions. 

About TIPS

TIPS is a national purchasing cooperative that offers its 10,000 members access to competitively sourced purchasing contracts. TIPS members consist of organizations in the education, government, and non-profit sectors. The cooperative began as part of the Region 8 Education Service Center (ESC) and is one of 20 regional education centers in Texas. Jensen Mabe, VP of Sales & Business Development for TIPS, said of EqualLevel’s selection, “We wanted a cooperative marketplace and directory platform that was comprehensive, easy-to-use and administer, and adaptable to our individual member needs. EqualLevel was the easy choice.”

The EqualLevel Marketplace

The EqualLevel marketplace will provide TIPS members with a consistent, consumer-like shopping experience across supplier storefronts. The new system will ensure members are purchasing from contracts that have been awarded through TIPS’s stringent competitive bid process. Further, guided buying navigation and supplier contract profiles will provide shoppers with the necessary steps for purchasing. 

In addition to contract compliance, TIPS’s new marketplace features the EqualLevel Savings Advisor™ (ELSA), a patent-pending technology that combines the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and a growing database of commonly sourced products to automatically identify in real-time the lowest price for items, or best available substitute, from approved suppliers. 

“EqualLevel is excited to partner with TIPS to create a one-stop-shop for its members. The marketplace will ensure compliance, drive productivity, and deliver hard dollar savings,” said EqualLevel CEO, Orville Bailey.

Case Study

School District Procurement Department Uses Technology Streamline Process

School district procurement departments often struggle with processes that are inefficient and not user-friendly. El Paso Independent School District (ISD) was no exception. When Ron Gatlin (now retired) was appointed Executive Director of Procurement and School Resources at El Paso ISD, he quickly realized the district’s need to transform procurement. Gatlin had heard about emerging technology that could help simplify and control spend, and expedite shopping, while also complying with Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) and other state purchasing requirements. 

Gatlin’s required features for the new platform were:

■ Easy implementation
■ Punchout capabilities
■ Multiple catalogs for EDGAR compliance
■ A one-stop-shop
■ The ability to identify local suppliers 

Solution

Gatlin and colleague Leticia Rivera (Assistant Purchasing Director of Procurement and School Resources), took the lead in innovating El Paso ISD’s outdated procurement process. Their first step was to implement an electronic bidding system along with a K-12 enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, “TEAMS by Frontline,” for organizational management. Their next step was to integrate EqualLevel’s procure-to-pay solution to further extend their ERP system.

“This eliminates several steps and immensely speeds up the process.”

With the help of EqualLevel, Gatlin and Rivera created a procure-to-pay marketplace that offers a single, seamless platform to facilitate all processes associated with the shop-order-pay transaction. By eliminating any maverick spending and ensuring that staff is only purchasing through approved contracts, the district can demonstrate that they are being fiscally responsible with public funds. “Our staff can now go in and shop for what they want, push a button and it automatically turns into a requisition. They no longer have to type in the description, specs, or pricing, and can be ensured that all of those details are accurate and compliant,” Gatlin said after implementation. “This eliminates several steps and immensely speeds up the process.”

Savings

El Paso ISD also utilizes the EqualLevel Savings Advisor (ELSA) in their marketplace. ELSA is powered by artificial intelligence to automatically optimize spending and comparison shop punchout items to identify the best savings. In the first six months that ELSA was in use, the district saved $44,000.

Additional Benefits

Accounts Payable
Fewer purchase order changes and less invoice reconciliation.

Local Suppliers
EqualLevel’s marketplace was able to integrate more local suppliers, enabling El Paso ISD to support the community in which they work and live.

Morale
“The purchasing department was viewed as slowing down the process. Now campus staff is happy to have a more streamlined and efficient procurement process in place,” said Gatlin after implementation.

COVID-19 Ready
When the need arose to work remotely, procurement staff were able to continue their operations without interruption.

“The campus staff love it. They can go into the marketplace and shop for whatever they want in the online store and know that they are getting the best savings on products that are EDGAR compliant,” said Rivera after implementation. “We went from horse and buggy to the Starship Enterprise.”

Conclusion

Digitizing the procure-to-pay process has put El Paso ISD at the forefront of public procurement. Not only has it improved its complete purchasing process and the support provided to their campuses and classrooms immensely, it is allowing El Paso ISD to deliver efficient and effective management of its funding.

Click below for a printable version of this case study:

Case Study

DonorsChoose Uses eInvoicing Technology to Automate Order Management

DonorsChoose, a non-profit organization with an online platform that allows individuals to donate directly to public school classroom projects, has selected EqualLevel’s eInvoicing technology solution to automate its supplier orders and invoice processing. The move will streamline both its accounts payable processes. The new solution has been integrated with DonorChoose’s existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and automatically transmits invoices to accounts payable for reconciliation and payment.

“The sheer volume of invoices and variety of sources that they come from, makes the accounts payables process a daunting task for organizations,” said Orville BaileyEqualLevel Co-Founder and CEO. “Digitizing this process streamlines the workflow and frees up valuable time for these financial professionals to spend on more strategic tasks.”

EqualLevel’s eInvoicing solution manages supplier enablement to ensure that DonorsChoose suppliers are set up to send eInvoices. The solution can also create rules-based exceptions for suppliers such as price thresholds, or where to route an invoice for review. Automating invoice entry and reconciliation has proven to reduce errors, shorten processing times, and decrease processing costs by up to 60 to 80 percent.

“For years, we handled large vendor payments outside of our ERP system and had to manage two separate accounts payables processes,” said Geoff Hill, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, Fulfillment at DonorsChoose. “EqualLevel was able to help quickly integrate eInvoicing into our existing ERP system saving us time and money. We now have a fully integrated system that allows us to focus more time on our mission–getting much-needed materials to public school teachers.”

About DonorsChoose

DonorsChoose is the leading way to give to public schools. Since 2000, 4,831,527 people and partners have contributed $1,103,209,997 to support 1,945,688 teacher requests for classroom resources and experiences. As the most trusted crowdfunding platform for teachers, donors, and district administrators alike, DonorsChoose vets each request, ships the funded resources directly to the classroom, and provides thank yous and reporting to donors and school leaders. Charity Navigator and GuideStar have awarded DonorsChoose, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, their highest ratings for transparency and accountability. For more information, visit https://www.donorschoose.org.

Click here for more information about EqualLevel’s payables solutions.