Bauer Publishing Group Controls Spend & Streamlines Purchasing
UK's largest consumer magazine publisher controls spend and
improves visibility of the cost pipeline with PROACTIS.
With a worldwide publishing empire comprising 282 magazines in
15 countries with 6,600 employees worldwide and annual turnover of
€1.79bn, The Bauer Publishing Group is the number one consumer
magazine publisher in the UK.
Bauer's UK operation has a multi-million pound spend, which
accounts for the purchase of creative content (such as stories and
images), as well as high value services such as printing, marketing
Driven by tight operating margins, demanding weekly schedules
and an increasingly competitive market, Bauer embarked on a
comprehensive spend control programme with the goal of instilling
tight controls across all non-payroll expenditure.
This initiative started with a major systems review, led by the
company's Finance Director, Max Beddard: "Bauer already had a
market-leading financial accounting system, which enabled us to
manage and report on the accounts very well. What was missing
however was any ability to influence the company's costs before
they were committed and we had become reliant on an inefficient
paper-based process to manage supplier costs."
Bauer's systems review quickly identified the need for a
solution to streamline the company's purchasing processes. The goal
was not only to take control of expenditure, but also to improve
visibility of the company's cost pipeline and exploit new cost
But for Bauer, the requirements for such a system were not
straightforward. "Conventional purchasing solutions did not fit
the way we operated, as we needed something that would give us
centralised control but with distributed use. We also needed
something that could be readily adopted by staff largely made up of
artists, journalists and photographers, not employed for their
administrative skills," explains Beddard.
The PROACTIS purchasing solution was quickly identified as a
serious contender by Max Beddard and his team. Max recalls:
"PROACTIS stood out because it was flexible enough to be able
to handle our diverse processes using out-of-the-box software.
Moreover it was the only solution capable of integrating tightly
with our financial accounting system - to share supplier details,
budget data, invoice information, etc. - without the need for
complex development work."
Beddard continues: "The PROACTIS purchasing solution has
great functionality and a technical environment that gives us much
needed workflow for approving spend. This, when combined with
PROACTIS' impressive approach to implementation and their clear
understanding of our business needs, made the choice
PROACTIS is currently being used by 400 members of staff and the
company continues to add new PROACTIS modules to derive further
benefits, including the introduction of a document scanning tool
for streamlining invoice management and the implementation of the
employee expenses module.
The results of the project have been clear to the team at Bauer,
as Max Beddard summarises: "The system offers us complete
transparency of information, affording budget holders a real-time
view of actual and committed spend to date. Administrative time has
been dramatically reduced which means the system has been welcomed
by the user community, and perhaps the biggest win has been our
ability to eliminate the ghastly trail of unauthorised invoices
that previously existed, with complete confidence that our spend is
Since expanding its portfolio further by acquiring Emap's Radio
and Consumer Magazine divisions, The Bauer Publishing Group, is
currently rolling-out PROACTIS to a further 1,000 users.