Purchasing Software for Catering and Hospitality

A mini-guide to using our Saffron software for all your purchasing, ordering and invoicing needs.

Ordering/purchasing and suppliers

How does the software make my purchasing more efficient?

Supplier ordering is the first part of the catering cost cycle, so it’s vital that you begin as you mean to go on – efficiently! Our web-based software can record and facilitate all elements of purchasing. You can see a summary of what you’ve spent on food, or line-by-line details of how much money you have spent with each supplier on quantities of particular items. Saffron also works with EDI (electronic data interchange) and our web-based P2P (Purchase to Pay) solution to enable electronic trading with your suppliers: saving you time and money.

Watch our video to find out more about our Purchasing Software for Catering and Hospitality:

Can I use the software to store my supplier information?

Yes, all supplier information can be stored in Saffron, including contact details, catalogues, pricing agreements, nutritional information, allergen information and payment terms. Indeed, if you also use EDI or P2P then when information like this changes, it will automatically be updated via the daily EDI exchange between the supplier’s system and Saffron.

Can I use software to produce orders and send them directly to my suppliers?

Yes, Saffron can be configured to automatically send your orders off to your supplier via email as soon as you process it – by EDI (electronic data interchange). This process can be simplified even further through the use of P2P (Purchase to Pay) which automate the process and so promotes a completely paperless system from beginning to end.

Alternatively, if you aren’t using EDI and prefer to work with the software manually, you’re able to print orders off and fax or telephone them in to your suppliers.

Can software show where I have agreed discounts with a supplier?

Yes, Saffron will store any agreed discounts you have in place with a supplier and will also flag up any price variances once an invoice is received back. You can easily store an Approved Products List (APL), which is the list of products and prices that has been agreed between supplier and you, the customer. You can work with an eCatalogue too which is an electronic APL to be updated by the supplier on an agreed timeframe, and accepted by you, the customer.

Here’s how an imported eCatalogue can be approved:

A screenshot of approving an imported eCatalogue

How does EDI and P2P help with ordering?

EDI and P2P basically means electronic trading with your suppliers. EDI means electronic data interchange that is linked to your suppliers’ systems, and P2P (Purchase to Pay) is an e-procurement solution that automates this process.

Using them both together can bring a huge efficiency saving compared with human manual processing. What’s more, it’s ongoing: not a one-time-only saving. It’s estimated that manually processing invoices can cost up to £30-£40 per document, so processing invoices with Saffron instead can represent a significant efficiency.

For the ordering part of your purchase process, let’s look at how EDI and P2P can improve on the inefficiencies of a paper-based system:

Manual/paper-based inefficiency

How moving to EDI and automated P2P can help ordering processes

Orders received by phone or email Received directly into supplier’s ERP system
Cut off times delayed Instant receipt with correct cut-off times
High staff costs caused by accounting and reconciliation manpower required Reduces staff costs via automation
Poor data quality Increased data accuracy
Increased credit requests via data entry error Reduces credit requests
Dissatisfied customers caused by delays, queries and errors Satisfied customers from a more efficient process


EDI and P2P

What does EDI mean?

EDI stands for electronic data interchange. This simply means a computer-to-computer or system-to-system exchange of information in an agreed format, rather than a paper-based process of printing, then faxing or posting. In the case of Saffron, it will be the exchange of information between the Saffron catering system and the systems of your suppliers.

What is Purchase to Pay (P2P)?

Purchase to Pay is simply the automation of the EDI process. In the case of Saffron, we use our bespoke P2P software to automate the EDI, which allows you to automate your whole purchasing process from ordering to deliveries and invoices. It’s also sometimes referred to as ‘req to cheque’ since it can cover the whole process from agreeing prices, requesting an order, receiving an order, requesting payment, actual payment and even dealing with credit requests.


Can the software record when my items have been delivered?

Absolutely, when you enter your delivery note into Saffron, Saffron generates a record of this and will update all the stock levels of the items you have received.

What if there are any outstanding items to be delivered?

Should an item be missing from your delivery, you can choose to leave the outstanding item as an open order or to ‘cancel remains’ so that Saffron knows not to expect any further deliveries from this order.

How does the software make my deliveries more efficient compared to a paper-based system?

For the delivery part of your purchasing process, here’s how using an EDI such as Saffron (in partnership with our automated P2P software) can improve your manual paper-based processes:

Manual/paper-based inefficiency

How moving to EDI and automated P2P can help delivery processes

Pick lists may include poor or inaccurate data Accurate, legible pick lists
Content of delivery note may be outdate by time order is picked Delivery notes adjusted in real time
Problems with physical delivery note: missing, damaged on illegible Delivery note guaranteed and in consistent format
Disputes and queries can cause delays Same-day confirmation



Can I use software to process invoices?

Yes, once an invoice is received you can match this up within Saffron, to cross reference prices, update stock levels and pass over to your finance department for payment.

It’s a lot more efficient if you’re using an EDI and P2P. Let’s see how it can improve upon a traditional paper-based invoicing system:

Manual/paper-based inefficiency

How moving to EDI and automated P2P can help invoicing processes

High staff costs to generate each invoice Automatically generated from deliveries
Risks of data inaccuracy Data is automatically validated
Delays caused by disputes and queries Quick response to delivery issues
Rejected invoices taking weeks to return, investigate and resolve Same day response, with instant auto-rejections and reasons
High re-send cost for lost documents E-invoices instantly resends
Payment reminders can be costly Reduced delayed payments as unpaid invoices easily flagged
Increased and delayed credit requests Reduced and faster credit requests
Manual searches for copies, amidst vast archives with costly document storage E-documents quickly located with keywords, and the ability to store millions of lines of data



Can software keep track of any price changes from my suppliers?

Yes, you can report upon any price changes – whether this is to update your costs or keep a track on the price changes by supplier. Your costing will also be automatically updated for all your recipes and menus.

Does the software recalculate any recipes and menus according to the price changes?

Yes, Saffron will re-cost any recipes that contain an item that has had its price changed within the system. For more information on how this works, read our advice Business Challenge: Costing.

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