How Ramp Procurement helped NPHY simplify, save time, and improve transparency

90% faster
PO approvals
6 hours
saved/month
10 day
faster month end close
“Before Ramp Procurement, requests could take up to a month. Now the process is complete in a matter of days, meaning we can get much needed supplies and focus on delivering care to our clients (teenagers in crisis) faster.”
Michelle LaBonney, Director of Finance & Operations, Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth
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Company name
Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth
Industry
Non-profit
About the company

The Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth serves thousands of teenagers, helping them move into stable housing and providing support to help them grow and thrive. With a mission to end youth homelessness, NPHY’s programs help Nevada youths graduate from high school, enroll in college, embark on careers, find their passions, build supportive social networks, transition to safe and stable housing, and realize brighter futures. 

The problem
A time-intensive, error-prone manual procurement process

NPHY has a high volume of critical expenditures each month. “We work with youth experiencing homelessness, who need everything from hygiene products to bus passes to gift cards for local restaurants,” explains NPHY Director of Finance & Operations Michelle LaBonney. That results in nearly $80K/month in organizational spend.

Historically, NPHY paid for all these necessary purchases via checks, and the corresponding procurement process was similarly manual. “Everything was on paper and over email,” says Michelle. A staff member with a procurement request would create a PO through a PDF, which would go to a supervisor for approval before coming to finance to process the request. 

“There were two big issues with that,” explains Michelle. “First, we needed everybody to have a license to an expensive software just for that process to work properly. Second, the PO had to go from the requester to their supervisor and then to our email. That meant there were a lot of steps in the process for a PO to get lost, get completed incorrectly, get signed incorrectly, etc.”

What’s more, NPHY’s status as a non-profit means it must follow certain grant reimbursement procedures. “Those forms have to be filled out really specifically. We have to have certain information to get reimbursed,” says Michelle. “I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gone to the AP email and not been able to find a PO because somebody didn’t name it, or I don’t know what the PO number is because it was never submitted. That was very difficult.” 

Michelle and her team knew NPHY needed an updated procurement process, which could streamline requests, centralize documentation, and alleviate the burden from the finance team.

The solution
A centralized procurement platform

NPHY partnered with Ramp to revamp its procurement process. Ramp’s single central platform enables the finance team to review all documentation and approvals surrounding a PO in one place—a huge benefit, given the number of transactions NPHY conducts each month.

“The procurement side of Ramp is unique in that everything can go through the system, even though we may need to pay for something outside of the system,” says Michelle. “I love the fact that invoices are stored in each PO in Ramp. That’s really great.” 

Whereas previous purchases were made via check, Ramp has enabled NPHY to shift to predominantly purchasing on cards. “One of the biggest things Ramp has helped us with is check fraud,” says Michelle. “Because we paid so many bills with checks, we were not only exposed, but we also had significant issues with fraud. The ability to use Ramp cards and ACH and all of that in one place is a cure-all for us.”

When onboarding Ramp, Michelle and her team set up distinct approval processes by category, which has made the procurement process more transparent and efficient for employees. “The ability to set up those processes individually, and to have our employees be able to send their POs off automatically to the correct person rather than come to us with the wrong signatures is really fantastic,” says Finance Administrator Leyla Kirkpatrick. Likewise, the finance team now has better oversight over outstanding POs, thanks to Ramp’s procurement dashboards. “It’s great to be able to see all of that on the dashboards and say, ‘Okay, I can't do anything with this PO yet, because it doesn’t have the right approvals,’” says Leyla.

The result
Reduced friction, greater transparency, and increased time savings

Instituting a more streamlined, automated procurement process has had the effect of increasing compliance and saving material time for the finance team. “The more complicated you make something, the less likely people are to do it,” says Leyla. “In the nonprofit sector, with all our regulations and grants, things sometimes have to be more complicated than it would seem. I can’t just go out and buy $10,000 worth of bus passes. I have to go through the approval process for our audit and grant purposes. Going through the purchase order process on Ramp takes me a tenth of the time that it used to take me on Adobe or on paper.”

In general, implementing Ramp has resulted in significant time savings for Michelle and Leyla. “I was paying NPHY rent, as well as our clients’ rent, using the POs we’ve set up in our system, and I was able to process rent for 13 clients and ourselves in about an hour. That process alone is probably saving me anywhere from four to six hours,” says Michelle. “That’s a big deal to me. Leyla and I are the totality of finance and HR for NPHY. We wear many, many hats, and being able to have six extra hours a month is amazing.” 

Likewise, it previously took Leyla between 45 minutes and an hour to complete each PO. “Now it’s down to 25 minutes,” she says. “A 50% decrease in time, at least.” 

Those time savings don’t just make Michelle and Leyla’s lives easier: they also enable payroll cost savings. “I went from being the Controller to being the Director of Finance and Operations,” says Michelle. “The ability to apply my skill set to these three areas means we didn’t have to hire at least 1-2 additional people.” 

With the time they saved on the procurement side, Michelle and Leyla can now devote more of their time to strategic initiatives across the organization. “We can take on more special projects,” says Leyla. “And we can stay more on top of things. One of our big goals has always been to be audit-ready. This is helpful for us to get on-time with our deadlines and, yes, to take on some of those special projects, whether it’s construction, building a new building, expanding our housing, or revamping our programs.” In an organization with a mission like NPHY’s, the efficiencies gained from Ramp can lead to real, positive changes in underserved youth’s lives. 

“Thank you for creating Ramp,” says Michelle. “We don’t know where we’d be without it, honestly.”

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