Tech and Telecoms
Business supplies specialist OT Group disrupts procurement tech marketplace
SmartPad 3.0 is the latest in a series of roll outs to enhance OT Group’s ecommerce engine, and marks a significant investment by the firm’s 20-strong digital team, over the last three years.
The release also coincides with SmartPad reaching its 10,000th account and 100,000 user milestone.
Hero features within the third platform iteration include custom print solutions, configurable furniture ordering, repeat deliveries, products chosen specifically for their CSR credentials, business intelligence for dynamic reporting, user-defined logins for the increasingly flexible workforce, and marketplace price benchmarking.
The tool is also more customisable than ever, with budget setting, approval rules, and cost centre management, to suit even the most complex of procurement frameworks.
“We exist to eliminate barriers to our customers’ strategic growth, and three years ago, we knew we could better leverage the power of technology to ensure the supply chain worked harder,” commented OT Group’s digital director Jason Stothard. “No existing platforms in the marketplace felt truly fit for purpose – particularly when it came to tail spend management – so we went back to the drawing board.
“We embarked on a roadmap to deliver a new procurement engine, with an ever-growing degree of functionality that would help our customers achieve greater efficiencies by simplifying, digitising and automating procurement processes. The investment represented a huge commitment for us as a business – not least because of the wrap-around support provided in addition to fresh functionality.
“However, fast-forward to the end of 2021, and we’ve delivered this ambitious plan ahead of schedule, so all eyes are now on what’s next. SmartPad is rapidly on its way to becoming the industry’s flagship product, and we will continue to advance our functionality so that it remains constantly fit for the supply chain of the future.”
Alongside new functionality, SmartPad recently benefitted from an interface refresh, to ensure the tool became as light touch as possible, for the user. It now contains more than 100,000 products – spanning everything from office supplies to state-of-the-art technology solutions – from over 10,000 suppliers – and can be integrated into customers’ ERP systems for wider business efficiencies.
“People say the days of a ‘one stop shop’ are over,” added Jason. “But perhaps that’s only the case when an organisation hasn’t found the right partner. There are many advantages of sourcing everything in a single place – the ultimate shopping basket – if that supplier can uphold a consistent quality of product and service across the board.”
Future functionality looks set to include Euro currency ordering, enhanced delivery tracking, and extended product options for environmentally-conscious procurement decisions.
The tech announcement comes as OT Group was recently unveiled as one of only two suppliers on the Crown Commercial Service’s (CCS) Tail Spend Solution framework.
CCS, an executive agency of the Cabinet Office, supports the public sector to achieve maximum commercial value when procuring common goods and services – not least by simplifying the supply chain, consolidating deliveries, and providing complete financial oversight. OT Group will provide the SmartPad solution to Government departments allowing them to quickly and easily order pre-approved products, with pre-agreed pricing.