A Kenyan company recently launched new procurement software that will help firms save on costs.

The software, known as Impex, is an e-intelligent software that requires minimum human input to operate.

"It's an advanced procurement planner and scheduling system that creates accurate, efficient plans that meet organisations' service targets and inventory limits," said Herbert Kariithi, the managing director of MFM International Ltd.

"After doing a lot of research I realised that there was a procurement gap that resulted in firms not making profits and having a capital tied up in stock. I teamed up with a friend in Britain and developed a software that would help firms save costs," said Kariithi.

He says the software took the firm three and half years to develop and was only made public after successful trials at leading companies.

Kariithi pointed out that most organisations resort to "fire-fighting strategy to address problems arising from sloppy procurement procedures".

This, he said, resulted in losses of millions of shillings that could be avoided with the adoption of a proper system.

"With Impex, organisation would free up resources and continuously identify opportunities to reduce costs and improve supplier responsiveness. It will also address procurement logistics.

"Our focus is to turn procurement into a profit centre for organisations, most of which wrongly view it as a cost centre due to the limited options at their disposal," he said.

The new system identifies and seals loopholes in the procurement chain, by monitoring the process from the planning to disposal stage.

Another key feature is that it anticipates and averts regular problems in stock management, notably stock outs by value analysis and stock valuation.

This is made possible by generating management reports that "track the source and type of goods supplied, who approved the requisition and the unit price for the product".

Several companies, local and multinationals, have placed orders for the software.

Kariithi is optimistic that Impex holds the key to streamlining procurement in small and big organisations. He says the software can be customised to suit an organisation's needs.

"For instance, the system allows you to assign many suppliers a single product for delivery by dividing the order quantity among them and generating a delivery schedule based on monthly demand," he says.

The MFM chief is reluctant to discuss the cost of installing the software, saying it varies with the organisation's level of customisation.

He says small and medium enterprises will get the software at a lower cost due to their limited level of customisation.

Kariithi says the software offers the public and private sectors the leverage to streamline the purchase and supply of goods at a minimum cost.

"For chains like supermarkets, Impex provides the solution to shrinkage (stealing of goods by workers), while for parastatals and government ministries, it keeps track of the movement of goods," he says.

MFM is a locally incorporated company with offices in Britain.

It offers consultancy and training services in procurement and logistics.