Budget Motels, Inc. (BMI), founded in 1973 by William C. Latham, currently owns and operates eight Days Inns, one Comfort Inn and manages the Villa by the Sea, a hotel condominium. With 1,320 guestrooms operating in five states and over 300 employees, BMI provides clean, comfortable and affordable accommodations to the traveling public in key geographical areas.
Specific to BMI philosophy is its commitment to enhance each of its properties. Over the last ten years, management has committed resources of over $10 million to improve the appearance if its hotels in order to enhance its operations.
BMI has maintained a strong presence in the industry by holding fast to its strategy of providing clean and comfortable rooms staffed by personable staff at the best price value. BMI’s corporate office is located in Manassas, VA.
Director of Purchasing for BMI, Betty Trainor, has been with the company for twenty-five years. Starting in an accounting capacity, Betty moved forward to positions in personnel, purchasing and, lastly, to Director of Purchasing. Her duties encompass ordering supplies, equipment and services for nine properties operating by BMI.
Betty’s department generates between 40-70 purchase orders per month, depending on the season. Betty orders all purchase order items in their existing catalogs and bids out any items that may be one-time purchases or that are not in the catalog. She works with 25-30 suppliers, and each property sets its on budget. Betty’s department is the final step in the approval process. Usage overages or unusual items ordered must clear corporate approval; otherwise, each property has the responsibility for approving its own requisitions prior to sending them to the corporate office.
BMI has been a Bellwether customer for over a decade. “Bellwether Purchasing Software was still on the premise system, when we came on board,” Betty stated.
“Prior to implementing Bellwether Purchasing Software,” Betty said, “everything was manual. We had to create purchase orders on a computer. When we decided to automate the process, Purchasing Partners, a BMI vendor that was using Bellwether Purchasing Software, recommended Bellwether to us. We decided to try it, and we really liked what the system could do to improve our workflow. We immediately realized at least a 25% reduction in processing time when we implemented Bellwether Purchasing Software.”
Betty commented, “The Materials File has worked especially well for us. We use the file for our purchasing catalog. The catalog contains very detailed, categorized descriptions of all the supplies we order. We code each item with a specific code, so order error is minimized. This system worked so well for us over the years, we stayed with Bellwether even when our accounting software company introduced its own purchasing system. We knew what worked, and we stayed with it.
While the functionality of Bellwether Purchasing Software has been very positive for our organization, there is another reason we stayed and continue to stay with Belllwether. Bellwether’s Customer Service department is exceptional. Wonderful support like this is hard to give up. I have worked with all members of the department over the years, and they are prompt, knowledgeable and interested. If I have a problem, the technical staff is there to walk through the system with me, determining whether we have a server problem or a software problem, and it is always solved quickly. Throughout the years, many full-time and part-time employees have occupied this office, and, without exception, each has been able to successfully work with the technical staff to solve any problems that might arise.
In the past, hard times fell on industries like ours. Many companies went out of business. We stayed in business because we were careful about who supplied services to us. We stayed with trusted vendors who showed continuing interest and concern about providing high levels of service, and Bellwether Software was one of them.
When Bellwether Purchasing Software was implemented, I had sole responsibility for making it work. I took my time, learned the system and have been very satisfied with the results, in particular, the avenues it offers to be able to control the spending of departments and the high level of customer service.”