ESM Solutions Inc.

Posted by Chris on August 25th, 2011

Simplify buying, manage spending and connect to suppliers with two great brands eSchoolMall and Mercury Commerce.  ESM Solutions offers easy to implement online procurement, sourcing and commerce products for the public and private sectors.  All products are mobile and cloud-based making them fast, efficient, and accessible from everywhere.

Solutions for:

Our relationship with thousands of suppliers enables us to help you find the exact product or service you’re looking for. Let us take you through a demo today.

ESM Solutions’ experience in both the education and public sectors has led to the development of interconnected suites of products that can accommodate the most complicated sourcing and procurement processes: eSchoolMall for School Districts and Mercury Commerce for Colleges & Universities, State & Local Governments, Commercial Companies and Buying Co-ops.

Within our suites we offer products for purchasing, bidding, warehouse management, payment and more. These products can be used individually or combined seamlessly for a customizable solution to make your entire procurement process as efficient as possible.

ESM Solutions’ products are delivered using Software as a Service (SaaS) technology, so all you need to streamline your procurement process is Internet access. The whole process – from catalog-based requisitioning and purchasing to sealed bid management and award –  is done electronically, saving you time and money. ESM Solutions’ products are designed specifically for easy adoption, so regardless of the solution we create you can be up and running in no time.

Institutions across the country are implementing ESM Solutions to help reduce operational costs, support declining budgets, cope with reduced administrative staff and increase accountability requirements.

Cost Savings

Savings for a typical educational institution:

Based on past experience in the school district and higher education markets, ESM Solutions can affect roughly 18 percent of your budget.

Called the “addressable spend,” it includes all the funds typically spent on office supplies, technology, maintenance, repair and operations (MRO), food service, classroom supplies, etc. (The non-addressable spend, the other 82 percent, covers personnel, benefits and other non-purchase spend.)

If an institution has 10,000 students and we apply a national average spend per student, the school’s General Fund would exceed $26 million. If this school saves just five percent in the first year using a customized solution, their savings would exceed $241,000!

Cooperative Buying

Just as ESM Solutions’ products help schools and universities get more for their money, we do the same for buying co-ops. We help co-ops work together, share costs and eliminate duplication. Using easyBid™, easyQuote™ and easyPurchase™, co-ops help school districts save money to put towards initiatives like building educational programs.

Time Savings

Our customers save time simply because the bidding process, with electronic bids and submissions, isn’t slowed down by paper. Sourcing events are also shortened from weeks to days, or even hours if a previous bid can be copied. Since analysis is done completely online with visual comparisons, reports and data analysis, it even takes less time to award a bid. There’s less time spent on data entry and checking fund availability with easyPurchase since these tasks are completed automatically with our Financial Integration System.

Financial System Integration

With the ESM Solutions Financial System Integration, our easyPurchase customers can create, modify and manage their procurement activities, while simultaneously sending real time transaction data to their pre-existing financial software. Purchase Order data is transmitted directly to the financial system where a Purchase Order is assigned, which means virtually no data entry. Security and existing business rules are maintained through the financial application, including areas such as account code validation, budget checking and final PO processing. ESM Solutions provides purchasing reports in addition to the reports which already exist within the financial application to support the entire process.

ESM Solutions has products that offer higher education entities end-to-end solutions, unique in the world of online procurement. We integrate with well-established financial systems like Datatel, Sungard, PeopleSoft, Oracle and SAP, enable access to an extensive number of vendors, and because of our cost model, offer the greatest value to the customer.

Join the 8,000+ vendors in our Vendor Directory so buyers can find your business when they’re publishing bids, quotes, RFPs and other sourcing events. Our Hosted Catalogs allow you to upload your products and services, which buyers access right through easyPurchase™. We can also “punch out” to your company website. These Dynamic Link catalogs allow users to go directly to your site without an additional login, shop in a separate browser window, then electronically return their shopping cart to easyPurchase with the click of a button. Connecting to buyers has never been easier.

How it works:

  • Register as a Vendor (takes just a few minutes)
  • Receive e-mail notifications of new sourcing opportunities
  • Log in to the vendor site to view bids, quotes and projects
  • Respond to free sourcing events for “no fee” bids or access an unlimited number of events for an annual fee

Procurement Process Automation to Save Time and Money

ESM Solutions has sponsored research into Best Practices in Electronic Procurement, the use of Procurement Process Automation to save time and money. Our research shows that the goal of Procurement Process Automation is to overcome the six “Points of Pain” that traditional systems (including those that incorporate online shopping) inflict upon their users. These “Points of Pain” relentlessly and inexorably deplete funds, resources, energy and morale. These factors can prevent an organization from truly achieving the promise of electronic procurement solutions.

Why you need Procurement Process Automation
  1. Transaction Costs — It’s estimated that labor-intensive, paper-excessive procurement processes can cost organizations more than $100 per order in time and resources—a figure that’s often higher than what the ordered item costs!
  2. Wasted Effort — Paper-based requisition, purchase and approval processes cause redundancy of effort, promote errors, and inevitably result in costly, frustrating delays.
  3. Inefficient Management — Because they lack real-time data, administrators have no way of accurately budgeting and auditing their resources. Nor can they implement an effective overall purchasing strategy.
  4. Lost Savings Opportunities — Traditional procurement environments are a breeding ground for “maverick” or “rogue” buying which, according to one study, can account for a 30 to 45 percent increase in overall procurement costs. The purchase of unnecessary or non-contract items outside of standard business rules occurs routinely, undermining whatever efforts have been taken to save money through volume discounts, preferred vendor lists, and vendor bidding. It’s also difficult for organizations to leverage standard operating procedures for contract utilization and manual warehouse inventory, because it’s not clearly visible, is never fully exploited, nor can it be easily adjusted to meet the organization’s needs.
  5. Misallocation of Resources — The costs are impossible to quantify, but no one doubts that the time and energy employees spend procuring supplies would ideally be better spent with on productive business. In our study, author Max McKeown defines the goal of procurement automation with almost the same words we might use to define business goals. The goal, he says, “allows people to grow strong and independent in pursuit of the fulfillment that comes from serving other people.”
  6. Depletion of Energy and Morale — Bogged down by paperwork, requisitioners, administrators and business managers who find themselves performing redundant, distracting and potentially demoralizing work can eventually fall prey to resignation characterized by lack of vitality, even apathy.

Pre-Kickoff – Deployment Best Practice Checklist

Project Champion – All implementations require an executive level individual to help drive the cultural changes that are inherent with any software deployment. The champion needs to be able to articulate the importance of the project and communicate their full commitment in getting the applications rolled out to the entire organization and removing any barriers to changing outdated procedures.

Buy-in from Purchasing Department – The purchasing department will own the applications from a system administration perspective as well as being subject matter experts to the end user population. They need to understand their roles and responsibilities and be committed to removing obstacles to the process and helping to promote the process change. If they do not buy in, the project can stall and become burdensome because nothing is being accomplished.

Client Resources (Priorities & Focus) – Even though our applications can be deployed within 6-8 weeks, the participation of the purchasing department is critical and cannot be completed within that timeframe if they are not able to focus on the project activities. Many of the activities are minimal, but if management does not make it a high priority with other duties, the schedule will slip.

IT Participation – Even though the software is a hosted solution owned by the purchasing department, IT will be needed to during the interface installation, testing and production monitoring phases. Our interface will be tested with the GL partner, but each customer has specific technology requirements that will need to be reviewed to support the interface connection and network communication policies (ie. Firewall and DB settings)

Train-the-trainer model – Our professional services methodology allows for us to deploy our solutions quickly. We empower the purchasing department (as owners) to be responsible for basic administration functions. We will educate them on the application so they can duplicate the training to the rest of the organization.

Leverage Application Functionality – In order for us to deploy our applications quickly, we highly recommend reviewing/changing existing processes to utilize system functionality rather than trying to customize the application.

Phased Project implementation – Implementations are designed to be rolled out in phases to allow for the purchasing department to understand the application and potential impact on the organization. Phase I can include a single department and should be one that is close for handling initial support questions.

Seven Milestones – Each project is unique due to client business processes; however, deploying ESM Solutions’ customized solution can be broken down into seven basic steps:

  • System training
  • Data Import
  • ERP Integration (if applicable)
  • Vendor Enablement
  • Testing and Configuration Changes
  • User Training
  • Go Live (Phase I)

Customer Care covers support for your e-Procurement solutions, support for your suppliers, 7×24 solution access requiring only a web browser and Internet access and maintenance that ensures no-upgrade access to the latest features and problem-free solutions.
Email us or call us at 1-877-969-7246.

Selling Gold,Silver,Diamond,Pearl,Watches, Jewelery and Art in the U.K.

Posted by Chris on March 30th, 2011

If you are Selling Gold,Silver,Diamond,Pearl,Watches, Jewellery and Art in the U.K. where do you go for the best prices and for people that you can trust ??

Although I am not an expert in this market I did have cause to investigate this market and sell a few items recently and what I found may be of interest.


Simplistically the price of Gold over the last 20 years has increased massively. See

In USD/oz the increase has been from 2-400 tp 1400.

Silver has followed a similar trend

from 5 to about 35 US dollars per oz.

Diamond prices have fluctuated quite a bit and only certain sizes, colours and quality of diamonds are really investments.

Small diamonds are pretty valueless.

Pearls have been a disaster !!

Prices of Watches and Jewelery

So, the value of Watches and jewelery, depending on what they are made of, have been affected by these price trends but then you have makes and designs to take account of before you can say what the trend has been.

Certain watches ( antique/classic ) are going to retain their value, generally speaking but there will be fluctuations.

Generally,Rolex’s are always popular. Breitlings are a little less consistent. There is a bit of a wheeze going around where some jewellers are putting ” diamond bezels ” of their own onto watches.
You will need original boxes and papers to get full value. Ladies watches are not as valuable as mens e.g. at the Rolex Datejust level.
In the Midlands area here are a few watch and jewelery buyers and sellers that were recommended to me

another useful source of valuations and loans is

The Top 10 Reasons or Motivations for buying your company

Posted by Chris on March 6th, 2010

Some time ago ( after I built this blog ) I came across a company called BCMS who had had a lot of experience in selling companies. I read the information on their website, downloaded various other information and ordered a copy of their excellent book  ” A refreshingly different approach to selling your business for maximum value “.

Later on I attended one of their excellent seminars. ( Very refreshing for Business Owners but a bit damning of normal accountants and lawyers !! )

In this presentation they highlighted the Top 10 reasons/motivations for company purchase ( in order of importance )

Source ( NB. worth downloading their book ” Selling your business for maximum value ” )

Recently I have been working with a number of clients who are selling their businesses or who are still building their businesses with a view to exiting and I have emphasized these reasons and motivations to them and advised them to emphasize these points in a sale and keep these points in mind as they build their  businesses:
1. Client Base ( This is a dominant factor )
The quality of the customer base and repeatable and guaranteed business from those clients is a primary factor.
2. Potential for growth ( This is another dominant factor )
The potential for growth through the existing customer base and via new customers at home and abroad is also a primary factor.
3. Globalisation/regionalisation
We live in a globally connected world. Companies from India and China are looking to acquire in the U.K. and other countries. You must consider the applicability of your company to buyers from India, China and the U.S.A. at the very least. They will buy you because they have a global strategy or because they want to get into a particular region.
4. Ability to generate cash
Cash is King !! ( We didn’t need to say that eh ?? )
5. Development of products and services
If you have processes to ensure that you are ALWAYS at the forefront of your market this carries a high value.
6. Patents and IPR
If you have protected the patents and Intellectual Property Rights of your products and services this is valuable.
7. Operational and/or Financial synergies
You look at the operational and financial synergies and the costs that may be taken out and the additional profits and value that you bring to the purchaser.
8. Skilled workforce
The effort that you have put in to training and developing your workforce now comes to the fore.
9. Profit/ROI/multiples ( LAST )
Yes, amazingly, the very thing that the average accountant ( and probably some of the interested parties Financial Directors and advisers ) will value you on turns out not to be the thing that is held in most value – in fact it is the last !!
This is true now and will be true in n years time when your purchaser comes to do the same thing.
Companies will buy for strategic reasons NOT for multiples of profit or revenue.
When considering the value of your company consider it’s value to the potential purchaser 1 -3 years AFTER they have bought you.

Looking for SaaS companies that may want to sell.

Posted by Chris on February 12th, 2010

I have a client who is looking for SaaS companies that might fit into it’s Buy and Build Portfolio. They will deliver solutions for the public and private sectors.

If you know of any such companies please let me know asap.

As values rise, high-tech entrepreneurs grapple with build-or-sell dilemma

Posted by Chris on February 5th, 2010

An interesting article from 2007 in USA Today

Copyright © 2007 M & A Rainmaker. All rights reserved.