September 9, 2010, 4:26 PM

Cloud-based procurement pays dividends for The Container Store

The multichannel retailer cuts purchase orders of indirect goods by 50% per month.

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Multichannel retailer The Container Store Inc. is processing 50% fewer purchase orders for indirect goods each week since implementing an Internet-based procurement and expense management system from Coupa Software Inc., Coupa reports. Indirect goods are comprised of items that a company needs to operate, such as office supplies, and exclude the direct goods that it acquires to sell to consumers.

The Container Store uses the Coupa technology to reduce stockpiling of supplies and avoid over-ordering products for stores by integrating the technology with the multichannel retailer’s warehouse management and supply systems, Coupa says.

 A software-as-a-service vendor, Coupa says it recently began offering similar services to apparel retailer Express LLC, which is No. 144 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, and The Limited, a multichannel apparel retailer operated by Limited Stores LLC. (The Limited is no longer associated with Limited Brands Inc., No. 18 in the Guide.)  Coupa offers its technology from Amazon.com Inc.’s EC2 Internet- or cloud-based network computing system, which Coupa’s clients access with a web browser.

The Container Store, No. 332 in the Top 500 Guide, began using Coupa’s technology about two years ago. “The technology covers all indirect purchases and employee expenses,” a Coupa spokeswoman says. “That includes both indirect purchases typically managed through an e-procurement system, and employee expenditures captured via an expense reporting process, and everything from requisitioning, to purchase orders, receiving and inventory and invoicing.”

She says deployments of Coupa technology typically take 10 days. A deployment typically includes 10 hours of support from Coupa. The vendor uses a pre-built application programming interface to integrate into systems that use Oracle, QuickBooks and other business management software.

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