Home

Best Card Solution Highly Commended: Yorkshire Water

Published: Jul 2014

Mark Cassidy of RBS, Carolyn Bywater and Jim Wilkinson, Yorkshire Water

Photo of Mark Cassidy of RBS, Carolyn Bywater and Jim Wilkinson, Yorkshire Water.


The introduction of an embedded virtual card number solution across key suppliers enables the Yorkshire Water service centre to reduce costs, improve process efficiencies, remove systems, reduce purchase order and invoice creation whilst still receiving accurate data and transactional information to meet compliance, governance and tax requirements.

Carolyn Bywater

HR Finance and Procurement Support Manager, Shared Services, Business Support Group

Jim Wilkinson

Procurement Specialist

Yorkshire Water

Yorkshire Water is a water supply and treatment utility company that supplies around 1.24 billion litres of drinking water each day. The company also maintains 62,000 miles of water and sewage mains – enough to circulate the earth.

in partnership with

The challenge

Yorkshire Water (YW) works with a large number of low-value, highvolume suppliers. In processing its payments, the company inevitably incurs costs and spends a significant amount of time dealing with the related administrative work. The challenge for the Shared Services Team was therefore to establish a process which would offer cost savings and also reduce the administrative burden of these orders and payments.

The solution

A virtual card solution was the answer. As an initial step, YW engaged with its key suppliers to understand their card acceptance capability and to assess the challenge faced. At the same time, procurement teams met with RBS and approved software vendors to work with the suppliers in embedding the card number into their ordering and invoicing system.

The card transactions were originally set up in a test environment to ensure the correct level of required data flowed through into YW. Where selected suppliers were not card capable, RBS engaged with the supplier and worked closely with them to become card capable for the first time, providing them with terminals and software.

So how does it work? The virtual card number is embedded into the suppliers’ ordering system, thus removing the need for a plastic card, providing improved risk and governance benefits. Through the contractual commitment that YW has with its core suppliers, all orders with that supplier are automatically applied to the card. This removes the need to raise an internal purchase order and the need for the supplier to raise an invoice.

We trialled the concept first with one of our suppliers, working alongside them to ensure the solution was successful for both parties. The trial proved to be very successful and saved up to 16 hours a week in processing time.

Carolyn Bywater, HR Finance and Procurement Support Manager, Shared Services, Business Support Group

The solution instead relies on the data that flows through from using the card to substitute all internal paper processes and therefore reduces internal procurement costs and drives end-to-end process efficiencies whilst building long-term supplier relationships.

Best practice and innovation

The introduction of an embedded virtual card number solution across key suppliers enables the YW Shared Services Team to reduce costs, improve process efficiencies, remove systems, and reduce purchase order and invoice creation, whilst still receiving accurate data and transactional information to meet compliance, governance and tax requirements. Furthermore, working closely with suppliers in developing the solution whilst integrating the card numbers into its systems, cements supplier relationships and drives best practice in YW’s supplier and procurement process.

“We trialled the concept first with one of our suppliers, working alongside them to ensure the solution was successful for both parties. The trial proved to be very successful and saved up to 16 hours a week in processing time,” explains Carolyn Bywater, HR Finance and Procurement Support Manager, Shared Services, Business Support Group.

Yorkshire Water is now working alongside other suppliers and RBS to integrate more suppliers into the programme so that significant cost and time savings can be made. The virtual card programme is also aligned with the Shared Services (Yorkshire Water) initiatives of “eliminating paper for good”.

It comes as little surprise, then, to learn that: “Where it is appropriate to do so, this solution will be rolled out across a wide base of key volume suppliers,” says Bywater.

Key benefits

  • The delivery of a virtual card integrated with all key suppliers.

  • Reduced process costs.

  • Delivered efficiency savings.

  • Productivity gains.

  • Pricing enhancements.

All our content is free,
just register below

Already have an account? Sign in

Please only use letters.
Please only use letters.
Please only use letters.
Please complete this field.
Please select an answer.