Finance and Business Operations team act as behind-the-scenes caped crusaders
It takes a lot to be a superhero. You’ve got to wear a cape and have the right color spandex. You’ve got to make sure your hair’s always big and shiny, and you’ve got to have the token admirer.
Or you could work on the P-Card team in King County’s Finance and Business Operations Division. P-Card stands for Purchasing Card, and its King County’s preferred method of buying goods and services. It’s essentially a US Bank VISA credit card, issued to a King County employee that streamlines the purchasing and payment process.
Since 2010 the P-Card team have worked to ensure that not only are employees happy with the service, but that the program continues to benefit the County in substantial savings.
“P-Cards save over $70 in processing time per transaction,” said Program Manager Kelly Hunsaker. “In 2015 alone it saved King County over 7 million dollars.”
While rebates and discounts can save employees and their department money, this impressive savings revenue has come solely from use the of the P-Card. Streamlining the purchasing process and using Lean business tactics has certainly paid off well. The program has grown rapidly, jumping from 70 cardholders in 2010 to over 800 now. An efficient way to pay bills, the program allows for more accountability and transparency, with faster payment to vendors.
“The P-Card and electronic transactions is the future.” said Robin Richards, Buyer in the Finance and Business Operations Division and P-Card team member.
Kelly and her team are right. The P-Card program saves time, and that saves money – lots of it. That savings of over $70 for each and every P-Card transaction really adds up. Since it began, the P-Card program has saved the County over 22 million dollars. In fact, King County is the largest user of the P-Card on the Washington State contract. The team attributes this to their constant promotion and endorsement of the card to employees.
“We do a lot of training and outreach for the P-Card,” said Kelly. “We want to make our communications about it fun and understandable.”
“We even provide one-on-one training that goes over why people use it, what it is, and the do’s and don’ts of card security,” said Tina Shields, Buyer and P-Card team member.
With such an approachable system, employees can just swipe their card and go. Before they had to put in a request and wait. This new way to help employees and vendors has been so successful that Kelly and her staff have been able to see the diversity of employee needs and King County as a whole.
“Parks was our big flagship user,” said Kelly. “They gave cards to almost everyone so they could do their jobs easier and quicker.”
“The Solid Waste Division is currently our largest user, but Public Health also has a strong, secure P-Card program.”
The process to get a P-Card is quick and painless, only taking about two days to process an employee request. Sometimes the P-Card is even handed out the same day as the mandatory training. Creating a simple process and shortened, user-friendly manual to receive and begin using the P-Card is what has ultimately made the program so successful. It’s useful in a measurable way that can be tracked and easily understood.
“The biggest thing for people to take away is that it will save their office substantial money,” Kelly said. “It’s easy, convenient and surprising how much quicker it allows us to pay bills.”
For information about the P-Card Program and how to apply contact (206) 263-9400 or email P-CardTeam@kingcounty.gov.