BLANKSPACES, founded in 2008, is Southern California’s first and oldest coworking space. Elizabeth Nowlin, Facilities Manager, is in charge of staff management, delegation, and managing supplies purchasing for office materials, decorations, facilities, and more.
Before Negotiatus, BLANKSPACES struggled to manage a purchasing process that scaled linearly in time and complexity as locations were added. Each location came equipped with its own credit card, vendor list, and unique purchases that needed to be made. Elizabeth recalls, “The system was chaotic, and we knew that it was just going to keep getting worse if we didn't implement something new.”
The disjointed process also made it difficult to order, track, and review purchases. “We need to be able to review the purchases and know where things are going,” Elizabeth says while discussing such challenges, "It was not rare that someone would ask 'Who ordered this?'" With 5 locations to manage, Elizabeth states that “We were constantly running out of supplies,” and with so much to accomplish at the company, “We didn't want our staff to have to go out and buy things when they ran out – it was disruptive.” With expansion of an additional 3-5 locations in sight, the problem needed to quickly be addressed.
- Purchases lost or never recorded
- Many disjointed systems to manage
- Miscommunications surrounding orders and deliveries
- Accounting inconsistencies (e.g. wrong credit cards used)
- Time consuming processes with other priorities to balance
For Elizabeth's team, everyday processes instantly became easier: “We have a one-stop-shop for purchasing and shopping for the offices.” Negotiatus eliminated the stressful task of using separate credit cards for different locations. She comments that the new system has "given us a seamless and easy procedure for both myself and my staff."
Expanding to new locations, a process that was formerly daunting, was similarly simplified. Elizabeth says that when opening up BLANKSPACES' Irvine location, "We were able to place one massive order in one cart for all our stuff – kitchen supplies, reception supplies, desks and planters. It was easy because there was one credit card, one order, one everything. And then it took only five minutes to set up that location's account and ordering process."
BLANKSPACES also noticed a drop in both time and money spent procuring the items for their locations. “Since Negotiatus handles all the sourcing and price checking for us we don’t need to wonder or worry if our staff is getting the best deal,” Elizabeth expressed.
Elizabeth and her team also benefitted from Negotiatus’ pre-established network: “Negotiatus already had partnerships established and we didn't need to set up and pay for things like annual supplier memberships.” The end-to-end purchasing system allows Elizabeth to just find a product and let the platform handle the rest: “Once we’ve added a product to Negotiatus we know everything has been taken care of.”