By: Veera Saravanan (Oracle EBS Lead – ennVee)
The client is one of the largest school bus operators and student transportation providers in the world, and operates across the United States in 32 states, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Its operations include 15,500 school buses in 32 states across US. The company also has transit and coach bus services across US. They have implemented Oracle E Business Suite 12.1.3 for their Financials, Asset Management and Procurement. Oracle iProcurement is used heavily by the client to manage its purchasing and Approval Process.
Users from multiple locations across US and Canada raise PO Requisitions in iProcurement to procure parts and materials to fix the fleet of buses. The Requisition goes for Multiple Approval Levels based on the Approval limit and follows the supervisory Hierarchy in Oracle. The Approval limits are maintained for each job title in Oracle Approval Management. Requisitions are created either as Expense or an Item Master purchase from the Approved Supplier list. Purchase quotes are created and maintained in Oracle for multiple Approved Suppliers. Users will select specific categories while creating Requisitions, each of them is tied to a specific GL account String in Oracle. Each location has an approved budget limit depending on the size of the location. Location level budget is maintained outside of Oracle by the Finance team and monitored weekly based on the purchases and expenses. After the Requisition is approved, the Purchase Orders will be automatically created in Oracle. No Approval Process is followed for the Purchase Order in Oracle and it will be automatically approved.
The Requisition needs to be reviewed by the Procurement team after being submitted for approval, if one of the following conditions is satisfied. The Procurement team is not part of the Supervisory Hierarchy.
- Requisition amount is greater than 5K, and for a non-Approved supplier.
- Requisition amount is greater than 25K, and for an Approved Supplier.
If the Requisition is raised for an Accident Category or Fuel Category, it has to go for additional Approvals from the regional manager of that location. When the Location exceeds budget, or the allocated fund is 100 percent utilized, then the requisition should include the CFO in the Approval Hierarchy. Self-Approval limits will be removed for all levels of the Requisition approval until it reaches the CFO. When the Requisition is created for the Capital budget Account in the GL string, the Requisition should go to the Financial Analyst Queue for review and approval.
- High volume of requisitions raised daily (more than 500/day raised by users across the US and Canada)
- Budgets were maintained outside oracle by a separate system.
- Multiple regions together were monitored by the same regional managers. By adding multiple approval Levels, the requisition approval process will slow down, which will have direct impact on fixing the bus that has to be in service immediately.
- Based on the Requirements, the New Approvers have to be inserted between the existing Supervisory Hierarchy.
- Approval Limits are different for US and Canada with Different Job Titles. Performance was a major challenge by validating each and every Requisition.
Budgets were brought into Oracle and were maintained by the Financial team. Our custom solution validates the budget information for each location and adds the Special Approver. The Special Approvers were maintained in the Profile option, so whenever there is a change in the person who will be reviewing the Requisitions, the change will be made only in the profile without any code change. The Approval notifications were also modified in the Work Flow to validate the number of days that the Requisition is pending with the Current Approver, and to send escalation notification to the immediate supervisor. The custom solution was also optimized to improve the performance in the overall approval process, and we recommended that the DBAs increase and close the open cursor on the JDBC connections to improve performance.
Outcome and Business Benefits
- Reduced Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) by effectively monitoring the Dollars in the Requisition approval process, and avoid the Requisition Approval process when the location exceeds budget, which controls the expense and maintains the budget.
- The solution is 100% automated and reduces the manual effort in monitoring.
- The process is streamlined by having additional Approvers, so that the requisition is validated at multiple levels before the PO is raised. The additional validation helped the client to select the right supplier and the lowest price for the item being purchased.
- The process also helped the client to recommend and demand use of the Item Master purchase with a lowest quote, rather than purchasing the product available nearby with a higher price tag.
- Overall, Approval time is substantially reduced with the quick notification process.