“Epicor Advanced Requisition Management enables us to keep tight control over capital and operational expenditure. More importantly it has improved process efficiencies, optimised inventory levels, and reduced costs right across our organisation.”
Chief Operating Officer, Juniper
DEPLOY A FLEXIBLE TECHNOLOGY PLATFORM TO MANAGE GROWTH
Juniper is a major player in the aged care market in Western Australia, with 1400+ staff and 500+ volunteers supporting the provision of person centred care.
The scope of their services encompasses residential aged care, home care, and independent living accommodation, as well as specialised services in dementia, palliative and transition care. Whilst their day therapy centres offer a range of services to support wellness and vitality.
Since welcoming their first residents in 1949, the not-for-profit care organisation has grown to provide services to 4,000+ people across 56 business sites, including 20 aged care facilities and 14 independent living villages.
“Now Juniper can manage the maintenance of all their facilities from a central place and automates service requests,” Brian Ellison, Juniper Account Manager, Precise Business Solutions.
Juniper strives to become WA’s provider and employer of choice in aged care by consistently delivering the highest standards of care and support. In order to achieve this objective, it was essential for Juniper to have the correct technology platforms in place to manage growth and effectively cater for the changing needs of the business.
PAPER-BASED FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
An organisation operating 56 business sites has significant capital and operational expenditure, and aged care providers have a need to purchase a lot of supplies. It is extremely difficult to take control of spending and manage the procurement process of this many business sites using manual processes and practices.
It is especially difficult when there is no centralised system to provide visibility of inventory stocked in different locations, and no clear requisition authorisation protocols and workflows in place.
Having previously used a paper-based system to process all of its financial requirements including the storage of data pertaining to individual suppliers, requisitions and purchase orders, Juniper wanted to drive greater efficiencies, improve its existing practices, and gain greater visibility for management by moving to a fully automated electronic system.
“Juniper used to have a complete lack of control with regards to purchasing in their business – Epicor ARM has allowed them to address this,” says Brian.
Prior to partnering with Epicor, staying on budget and managing spend limits was virtually impossible for Juniper. Juniper’s legacy finance system was simply not equipped to handle the changing needs of the business or its continued growth.
Adding to the complexity was the increasing challenge of keeping up with changes to aged care legislation and reporting requirements.
INTEGRATION BETWEEN FINANCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL MANAGEMENT
Juniper identified Epicor’s Senior Living Solution (SLS) software platform as the one most able to fit its goal of deploying a strong, highly functional and low total cost of ownership financial and client/resident management platform. It was particularly important to Juniper that there was ease of integration between the company’s financial and resident management solutions.
“We were particularly impressed with the flexible nature and modular structure of Epicor’s ERP platform,” says David Fisher, COO, Juniper.
Juniper also implemented Epicor Advanced Requisition Management (ARM)—a core element within Epicor’s broader product suite which is designed and developed by Precise—with a view to improving its purchasing processes.
Epicor ARM is an online requisition management and workflow solution that delivers full-cycle procurement functionality securely to the desktop through an individual user’s web browser.
“One of the ways we helped Juniper to gain better control over their purchasing was by introducing ’global template’ customisation to the Epicor ARM product which is now a standard feature for all their users. Today, procurement at Juniper is locked down to maintain control over purchasing,” adds Brian.
The only way you can now raise a requisition at Juniper is using these global templates. Juniper has 30+ aged care and independent living sites, but instead of having 30+ site specific templates, there are now global templates that every site can access.
On top of the base Epicor ARM product, Juniper now also uses the External Integration Suite (EIS) Module, otherwise known as ‘PunchOut’ which has proved a useful addition for them. The big advantage of the module is it allows Juniper to ‘PunchOut’ from their ARM requisition directly to an external supplier’s e-commerce site, with checkout items exported back to ARM ready for approval.
Selecting the right ERP implementation partner was also a key consideration for Juniper.
“Precise Business Solutions demonstrated its ability to implement the system with their formal and rigorous methodology during the demos and various meetings,” David recalls.
Juniper was an early adopter of Epicor SLS, having first implemented the business management solution in 2008, and works with Precise Business Solutions to manage and continually enhance their enterprise information system.
“We also enjoy a strong and productive relationship with Epicor’s Alliance Partner Precise Business Solutions, whose team demonstrates local expertise, impeccable on-the-ground support, and ongoing technical advice,” continues David.
Epicor helped Juniper to automate and streamline their financial operations, including invoicing, billing, and accounting. They were able to generate accurate financial statements, forecast cash flow, and manage expenses, ensuring that they had a clear understanding of their financial position.
Quality of care was also enhanced as Epicor SLS provided real-time access to resident health information, such as medical histories, medication schedules, and care plans. This helped staff make informed decisions about resident care.
Importantly, Epicor SLS supported Juniper in complying with regulatory requirements and industry standards by automating documentation and reporting processes.
TIGHT CONTROL OF PROCUREMENT PROCESSES
Since implementing Epicor’s ERP platform, and more specifically as a result of leveraging the full capabilities of Epicor ARM, Juniper has achieved a number of significant business benefits. Initially a secondary goal of the project, David Fisher describes ARM as something of a “surprise packet” in terms of the extent of those benefits.
The organisation has completely changed both practice and culture with its procurement processes, gaining full control of, and increased visibility to, all of the more than 2,500 suppliers associated with the business.
In fact, it has significantly rationalised the number of vendors and greatly improved the relationships it has with its key providers of capital equipment, operational supplies and services. Not only can Juniper better assess the status of various suppliers, it can also forecast more effectively.
With so much more accurate data available in real-time at its disposal, Juniper knows ahead of time what each facility needs and the various quantities that are required, and so can negotiate discounted rates with suppliers.
Plus, if there is a need to change or replace an existing supplier at short notice, Juniper can execute this immediately as the flexibility and robust nature of ARM and Epicor’s ERP suite ensures that all data entered is integrated into the system accurately and in real-time. All this is achieved while improving visibility to commitments, exercising authorisation levels effectively and, ultimately, making life easier for end users.
In terms of capital expenditure, operational supplies and R&M, Juniper believes it saved well in excess of $1 million throughout the 09/10 financial year due to tight control over the procurement and purchasing process.
In addition to greater control and visibility throughout its purchasing processes, Juniper no longer has to carry out accruals at month-end. Managers can also now access detailed information on history and trends for specific line items, cost categories, and individual people on a daily basis.
ARM is highly intuitive and helps detect and prevent errors that were being routinely made prior to its implementation.
“One of our facilities hadn’t purchased any toilet roll to date this year, however its costs for office supplies were particularly high. On further investigation it transpired that the wrong code was being entered for paper, and thanks to ARM, this error was identified almost immediately,” explains David.
Since Juniper went live with ARM it has raised more than 25,000 purchase orders. Had they not implemented this enhancement to their ERP, the organisation feels that it would not have had the resources or capacity to control this volume.
Juniper believes that its decision to move purchasing and requisition processes onto an electronic system has generated innumerable benefits through its ease of integration with other applications and access to real-time data on an ongoing basis.
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Juniper – A Uniting Church Community
Juniper is a leading provider of aged care facilities, retirement villages and in-home services for older people in Western Australia.
- Existing software couldn’t meet evolving needs
- No financial and client/resident management integration
- Business sites operated in silos
- Little control or visibility of procurement and purchasing processes
- Manual and paper-based PO and supplier management
- Low total cost of ownership financial and residential management platform
- Flexible and adaptable system for evolving needs and growth
- Complete integration of core business functions
- Full-cycle procurement functionality
- Online requisition management and workflow solution
- Control and visibility of 2,500+ supplier relationships
- Saved $1 million+ (2009/10)
- Ease of integration with other applications and access to real-time data
- Greater budget forecasting for expenditures