How WebContractor is Helping the Industry
Osborne is one of the UK’s leading construction, civil engineering, homes and property services companies. As a large and growing business, Osborne faced an increasing challenge to manage the multitude of associated applications for payment it receives from subcontractors. Processing these applications manually had become not only labour intensive and hugely time-consuming but also incredibly inefficient and prone to error.
Osborne utilised the services of more than 1,200 different subcontractors in 2016 – from major businesses working on a number of projects right down to small, niche companies working on one-off projects.
The £350 million turnover company found processing payment-related paperwork for each of these subcontractors without error or issue to be no easy task and was looking for a solution that would ensure compliance with the UK Construction Act, fairness to its supply chain and also give them greater ability to forecast liabilities and cashflow effectively.
Osborne is utilising WebContractor, an innovative online portal designed to comprehensively manage the end-to-end process of subcontractor orders, applications and payments.
Subcontractors have access to the portal, based on the appropriate user permissions, and can quickly and easily upload their applications directly in the system. Once submitted, the in-built workflow, notification and approval functionality ensures that the application is reviewed and processed by the relevant personnel in a timely manner, helping to drive the application through the organisation smoothly, efficiently and in compliance with the UK Construction Act. WebContractor has enabled Osborne to seamlessly integrate with their core financial system, Coins. Key processes like payment notices and pay less notices are automated and all relevant parties – including subcontractors and Osborne’s internal commercial, finance and management teams – can check the progress of the applications submitted with ease and in real time.
WebContractor is underpinned by key dates and events and allows users to upload source documentation, which is then available to other relevant personnel keeping all the application documentation in one place for ease of reference in the future should the need arise.
Osborne has found that by using WebContractor they do not miss any timelines for issuing paperwork for the various types of contracts they enter into with their subcontractors, for example payment and payless notices. As a result, they have ensured compliance with the UK Construction Act.
Thanks to Open ECX’s skilled on-boarding team’s support provided to subcontractors, adoption has been smooth. Relationships with subcontractors have also been strengthened, with Osborne’s supply chain given access to the progress of their application for payment through the WebContractor portal.
Osborne is also benefiting from WebContractor’s additional administrative capabilities, by gaining greater visibility of the payment process throughout the project cycle. From a finance point of view, this allows Osborne to have a better and real-time understanding of cash flow forecasting.
WebContractor also provides Osborne with a single, cloud-based and uniform way of storing all paperwork and supporting documentation and information. After rigorous testing of the system in a planned pilot phase, Osborne are now looking to roll the solution out across their business in the coming months.
“By placing WebContractor at the heart of our subcontractor management, we are taking very positive steps towards more effective, compliant and straightforward interactions with our subcontracting partners, allowing them to check the status and progress of their applications at any time, no matter where they are.”
Stuart Hammond, Group Finance Director
“Internally, WebContractor provides real-time payment information to help cash flow forecasting, allows us to reduce the administration time and cost associated with payments, and ensures industry best practice and compliance.”
Mark Mitchell, Operations Finance Director