Jo Gathern, School Business Manager at Glebe Primary School, discussed with us the simple way she is saving everyone’s time and her school money.
Glebe Primary School is a growing primary in Southwick, West Sussex. It is gradually changing from two form to three form entry and currently has 18 classes, over 500 pupils and 72 staff.
SBM, Jo Gathern has worked there for just over a year. Having been a Bursar for two and a half years at a previous school, she took on the School Business Manager role with the move. Her job encompasses everything from finance, premises, personnel, admin, health and safety and IT, to everyday problem solving.
Upon settling into her new role, Jo found time to be an extremely precious commodity and some of the more laborious but necessary day-to-day tasks were eating into the time she needed to commit to more impactful, strategic tasks.
A large demand on both hers and staff time was the procurement of school supplies. Staff would take time to search for products online before passing her their order, only for Jo to have to visit the websites and select those same items. She would then go through the whole process again via her finance system to generate a PO, before finally returning to the website to ‘checkout’.
In a bid to drive some efficiency into the process, Jo decided to test out Hope Education’s new Smart Ordering solutions. A range of free online tools, Smart Ordering transforms a school’s office with a smarter way of purchasing, streamlining the procurement process.
It didn’t disappoint. Jo found that Smart Ordering features, such as Share Basket, Wishlists and Repeat Order all had an impact. Staff could share their baskets with her directly from the Hope website and the Repeat Order tool saved time when reordering key day-to-day resources. However, it was the Smart Connect feature, which links a school’s FMS directly to the Hope Education website, where Jo saved the most time.
Jo told us: “By far my favourite feature of Smart Ordering is Smart Connect. We use Capita SIMS FMS, which links with Smart Connect, so now I just click a button and an order is imported into the FMS ready for me to allocate it to the correct cost centres. Then, with a click of another button the order is authorised in the FMS and processed.”
In fact, Smart Ordering has driven all round efficiencies at her school says Jo: “When using Smart Ordering I can be confident that the items are in stock and the price is accurate. Best of all, it saves me so much time. It’s so quick and convenient. It cuts out so many of the repeat processes required when ordering with other suppliers. Staff can share their basket, which I can then checkout, and it sends all the information to my finance system for me. Genius.”
“I’m really looking forward to making the most of the Repeat Order feature when I need to place the huge annual order… Did I just say I was looking forward to the annual order?!”
This article forms part of our Smarter SBM series, which supports the launch of our new Smart Ordering solutions. Informed by SBMs and created for school offices. Smart Ordering is range of great online tools that can transform a school’s office with a smarter way of purchasing. It has been developed by the team at Hope Education to help save schools time and money, by making the process of buying school supplies faster, smoother and more affordable.
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