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Stop looking and start finding

Scout24 offers its customers a place to find whatever they’re looking for. It was time to do the same for its own procurement team as well! The platform operator Scout24 now uses Mercateo to cover its indirect procurement needs.

Let’s say you’re looking to rent a flat. The Scout24 platform lets you browse its huge range of offers, using filters to narrow your search. And in just a few clicks, you’ve got it: 2 bedrooms, no more than 500 euros basic rent, balcony included. The platform needs to make it easy for users to compare several offers so they can find the flat that suits them best.

Help yourself: employees can place their own orders online

Scout24 wants to make a “simple, efficient and hassle-free” search as the new normal for its users. And this approach should also apply to its employees’ procurement needs, such as buying office supplies. “We want to give our employees the same choices as we do our customers. They shouldn’t have to deal with long-winded searches. Everything should be as quick and easy as possible,” says Mareike Wüste, Senior Procurement Project Leader of the Scout24 Group. Simple also means transparent. Employees must be able to compare all the deals to find what they’re looking for.

For this purpose, Scout24 plans to turn its Coupa e-procurement system into more of an internal ‘self-service’ solution by connecting web shops as well as the Mercateo Marketplace. “For this to work, we need standalone shops like Mercateo,” says Mareike. The goal is to simplify procurement processes by setting standards and driving digitalisation. “The more we can automate, the more time we’ll have to focus on our strategic goals and big negotiations rather than restocking our stationery supply.”

We don’t want our procurement team to be limited to authorising purchases. We want them to be a strategic partner within the company.

Mareike Wüste, Senior Procurement Project Leader, Scout24

Employee acceptance is key

In 2017, the Scout24 Group first introduced a procurement system for 3 of its companies: Scout24 AG, ImmobilienScout24 and AutoScout24. Before that, each of them had different procurement processes in place. Orders went out via email or a document management system, causing confusion and inconsistency. A cross-location and cross-company procurement system was to change all that. Connecting several online shops in the process allowedScout24 employees to place their orders quickly and easily.

Before that, Scout24 had another B2B marketplace to cover its office supply needs. “But that didn’t go as planned,” says Mareike. There were delivery and invoice processing issues. At some point, the complaints got out of hand and the digital process – which was supposed to streamline everything – started to inflate again because manual input became necessary. Our users were frustrated with orders arriving late or going missing. So, they started buying their office supplies at local stores and then handing in receipts for their ‘ad-hoc’ to get reimbursed by accounting. It was a disaster for the procurement team whose job it is to avoid free text orders and maverick buying.

Now Scout24 gives its employees more procurement autonomy, taking the pressure off its operational purchasing department.
Now Scout24 gives its employees more procurement autonomy, taking the pressure off its operational purchasing department.

“Our back office suggested Mercateo”

Mareike knew there had to be a tool to cover basic operational procurement tasks with the right partner. “Our back-office team suggested we use Mercateo,” says the procurement manager. After a trial run, Scout24 decided to use the Mercateo Marketplace. “When we put something new in place or connect to a new online shop, we make sure it supports our workflow. Everything needs to be intuitive for our employees to use,” says Mareike. Scout24 knows that customers who experience a sense of achievement will return to the platform. Mercateo was able to offer this type of buying experience.

Automated ordering from start to finish

Connecting the B2B marketplace via a Coupa interface only took a few weeks. “It was done with minimal effort,” says Mareike. Did Scout24 have an easier time implementing this tool seeing as it’s an online company with a large IT department? “I don’t think we had an edge here, but we did have the right partner on our side. Mercateo has a lot of experience. The systems run super smoothly – especially when compared to others,” says Mareike. Scout24’s employees use Mercateo a lot more now when stocking up on office supplies. The result: a decrease in ad hoc purchases and maverick buying. Mission accomplished!

To make the ordering process as smooth as possible from start to finish, Scout24 also plans to introduce an EDI-supported invoice interface that connects with the Mercateo Marketplace. This will allow invoices in cXML format from the Mercateo Marketplace to be matched with the corresponding orders in Coupa. “It’ll be a big milestone, bringing down our admin efforts tremendously,” says Mareike. Because invoices connect via Mercateo, orders will automatically go through the approval process set by Scout24. No need for paper invoices or filing folders in the office.

Scout24’s marketplace of choice needed to have a high-performing search feature.
Scout24’s marketplace of choice needed to have a high-performing search feature.

To get the most out of its new procurement solution, Scout24 gives all employees the freedom to order the office supplies they need. Everyone gets to buy what they like best, whether that’s a particular type of sticky note or chocolates as a welcome gift for new employees. And up to a specific spending limit, the purchasing department doesn’t need to keep a watchful eye on all company orders. That’s what the marketplace is for. “This allows us to use the system to its full potential. We don’t want our procurement team to be limited to authorising purchases. We want them to be a strategic partner within the company,” says Mareike. By taking over some of these mundane day-to-day tasks, Mercateo frees up more time for the Scout24 procurement department. “Mercateo has helped us automate our procurement.”

Scout24 logo

About Scout24

  • Founded: 1998
  • Headquarters: Munich, Germany
  • Legal form: Stock company, member of the M-Dax, part of the German Stock Exchange since 2018
  • Headcount: 1,244 (as of 2017)
  • Annual revenue: €447,5m (as of 2017)
  • Website: www.scout24.com