In the dynamic world of hospitality, procurement plays a pivotal role in managing expenses and optimizing operations. Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down with Adam Butts, the Vice President of Procurement at Aimbridge Hospitality. With years of experience in the industry, Adam shared insights into the evolving landscape of procurement and how technology, particularly BirchStreet, has revolutionized the way hotels handle their procurement and accounts payable processes.
Adam’s journey into the hospitality industry was, in his own words, a stroke of luck. Armed with an engineering degree and a desire to avoid a desk-bound job, he ventured into a startup dealing with E-procurement. Little did he know that this move would lead him to BirchStreet, a game-changer in the procurement technology space.
As BirchStreet emerged 20 years ago, it stood out by breaking away from the traditional one-size-fits-all approach. Adam emphasized how BirchStreet set itself apart by actively listening to customers, allowing for unprecedented customization, especially in the early days when rigid systems were the norm.
“What set BirchStreet apart was their commitment to listening to customers and customization, a rarity in the industry 20 years ago.”
The introduction of E-procurement marked a significant shift in the industry’s landscape. BirchStreet capitalized on this by offering an easy-to-use system and facilitating the integration of suppliers into the platform. And BirchStreet played a pivotal role in seamlessly merging procurement with accounts payable.
Addressing the challenge of using different systems for procurement and accounts payable, BirchStreet introduced the three-way match process. This innovation ensured compliance with accounting practices, making audits smoother. The ability to customize tolerance levels in matching invoices to purchase orders added a layer of flexibility for hotels.
“The BirchStreet procure-to-pay process has streamlined operations, making it much easier for our hotels,” Adam noted.
He also touched on the evolution of the receiving process, culminating in BirchStreet Light. This feature allows hotels to receive and manage invoices on the same screen, eliminating the need for additional steps in the procurement workflow.
In Adam’s words, “This significantly eased the burden on hotel staff, especially in select-service hotels.”
Without a robust E-procurement system, monitoring spending, detecting fraudulent transactions, and ensuring fair market prices can be challenging. BirchStreet stepped in by providing analytics that empower hoteliers to make informed decisions.
“When you manage your expenses, you manage your bottom line,” Adam emphasized. “And that’s what BirchStreet allows us to do.”
Over the years, Adam has witnessed BirchStreet’s shift in focus from catering to every company’s individual needs to a more strategic and holistic approach. Its dedication to ensuring that enhancements benefit all users showcases a commitment to the greater good of the industry while still making sure each customer has what they need.
“They do a great job of showing the roadmap,” Adam commented on BirchStreet’s vision, highlighting its ability to anticipate industry needs. “My company and other companies can look and see what we’ll need and not have to have all the ideas.”
BirchStreet has not only been a technological pioneer in procurement but has also demonstrated a commitment to customer satisfaction and industry progress. Adam’s journey and insights offer a glimpse into the transformative power of technology in reshaping the hospitality procurement landscape.
Interested in hearing more from Adam? Listen in to the 5 minute interview.