Online Procurement System for Newark Public Schools

About the Client

The Newark School District, with a student population of 42,000 and origins dating back to 1676, is the largest and one of the oldest school systems in New Jersey. Barringer High School, in Newark’s North Ward, is the third oldest public high school in the nation. The ethnic diversity of the city provides a rich educational experience for pre-kindergarten to secondary school students.

Client Challenge

To improve manual and inefficient textbook procurement during the annual Advanced Orders process, and streamline tracking with publishers.

eProcurement and the Advanced Orders Process

Newark Public Schools (NPS), the largest school district in New Jersey, processes over 15,000 purchase orders each year for 75 public schools and 30 non-public schools. To help streamline the procurement process, NPS partnered with CherryRoad to implement PeopleSoft Purchasing and eProcurement, and then enabled punch-out integration within eProcurement for seven key vendors. These vendors, which represent the majority of school purchases other than textbooks, enables NPS to acquire office supplies, industrial supplies, and various school supplies from companies such as W.B. Mason, Staples, Office Depot, School Specialty, and Lakeshore Learning Materials.

Every spring, the Newark schools place a mass order for the next school year. Known as Advanced Orders, this is the district’s peak ordering time, particularly for textbooks. Ensuring the timely and accurate ordering of textbooks is critical to the district’s operations. However, because the textbook industry has been slow to adapt to e-commerce, the NPS purchasing department was required to send out quotes, update and maintain an item master, and then print and fax purchase orders. The large book order volume made the procurement process manual, slow, and cumbersome, with purchasing staff spending two to three days on phone calls, emails, and other manual tasks in order to complete the textbook Advanced Orders process.

Incorporating Punch-Out Functionality within eProcurement
  • NPS recognized that the punch-out feature of eProcurement would be an effective tool for streamlining the ordering and tracking process with the textbook companies, similar to the way that office supply companies operate. Yet they discovered that their key textbook publishers did not accommodate punch-out and instead only offered electronic data interchange (EDI).
  • Regardless, the efficiencies inherent to punch-out made NPS determined to incorporate its functionality within PeopleSoft eProcurement. Only Pearson, the global leader in educational publishing, was willing to take on the challenge.
Joint Effort between CherryRoad, NPS, and Pearson

Though Pearson did not have the ability to support punch-out, they were eager to acquire the technology. NPS offered them a joint development effort and requested that CherryRoad collaborate directly with Pearson to create a punch-out system that works with PeopleSoft eProcurement and the publisher’s home-grown OASIS application.

CherryRoad guided Pearson in the design and testing phase and also provided overall expertise on how to develop a punch-out system that works seamlessly with PeopleSoft eProcurement. In addition, CherryRoad developed minor customizations in eProcurement to accommodate the unique requirements of textbook sales, free books, discounts, and the identification of contract versus non-contract items.

Project Completed On Time and On Budget

NPS needed to streamline its textbook ordering process to realize improved efficiencies prior to the 2010 Advanced Orders in May. The total project spanned eight months and was executed from September 2009 through April 2010. Phase I, the EDX transmission of purchase orders, was completed in three months. Phase II, the development of the punch-out functionality, was conducted in parallel with Phase I and spanned eight months.
Pearson and CherryRoad completed the project on time and within budget. By May 2010, the district was using the system for textbook Advanced Orders. The success of this project benefited both Pearson and Newark Public Schools.

Improved Efficiency and Accuracy for NPS, and Competitive Advantage for Pearson

By implementing punch-out for textbooks, NPS no longer needs to:

  • Maintain online catalogs
  • Write quotes
  • Maintain items on the Item Master
  • Print and fax purchase orders

The punch-out implementation reduced order processing time from two to three days to one day. In addition, eliminating POs with incorrect prices and item numbers significantly improved accuracy.
The district benefited by reducing the timeframe for both order placement and follow-up, as orders are now transmitted to the vendor the same day they are approved. NPS also receives an automatic email confirmation from Pearson when an order has been placed.
Pearson benefits from a new competitive advantage, as they are currently the only textbook publisher to offer punch-out functionality. With this new technological capability, they plan to approach their existing PeopleSoft customers to offer punch-out integration and increase their own efficiencies across the supply chain.

CherryRoad Solution

CherryRoad helped NPS enable punch-out integration within eProcurement, then collaborated with Pearson to develop a system that works between the NPS application and their home-grown OASIS application.

Client Benefit

NPS reduced order processing time and significantly improved accuracy. Pearson gained a competitive advantage as the only textbook publisher to offer punch-out functionality.

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Streamline books and publisher tracking