South African Medical Research Council Reduces Administrative Workload Through Automated Procurement and Policy Enforcement

South African Medical Research Council Reduces Administrative Workload Through Automated Procurement and Policy Enforcement

The South African Medical Research Council (MRC) is a science, engineering, and technology institution mandated to improve the health status and quality of life for South African citizens through excellence in medical research aimed at promoting healthcare equity and development.

As South Africa is faced with unique and major challenges that threaten the health of its citizens—such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), malaria, tuberculosis, alcohol and drug abuse, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension—MRC must balance health priorities with the need to support cutting-edge science, research and development, healthcare research ethics and the government’s public-healthcare strategy.




A word from South African Medical Research Council

  • “Oracle technology saves us time, effort and money. Our vendors are happier because the acquisition process is more transparent, orders are easy to reconcile and payments are realized faster. The most important benefit is that we can now focus our resources entirely on nationwide health issues and solutions to life-threatening diseases and not our supply chain.” – Philip G. du Plessis, Divisional Manager, Project and Management Accounting Office, South African Medical Research Council

  • Implement an online transactional system to provide quicker turnarounds for all purchase requests submitted by employees—from paper clips, to microscopes
  • Maintain better control over expenditures and eliminate paperwork, processing errors, and redundant data entry
  • Optimize and standardize purchasing processes to improve operational efficiency, centralize requisition workflows and approvals, meet regulatory requirements, and ensure fair and transparent procurement
  • Eliminate common bottlenecks associated with paper-based requisitions, such as time spent on delivering forms for approval
  • Create easily accessible employee demonstrations to make the adoption of an electronic purchasing system as easy and painless as possible to minimizing training costs and effort


  • Created a single, online system for administrative transactions by upgrading to Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne to optimize finance and purchasing management while increasing visibility into expenditures, reducing inventory costs, and shortening delivery times for critical medical supplies
  • Integrated JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Financials with a legacy supply-chain-management system to achieve seamless procurement for items that range from medical research tools, to stationary—decreasing transaction-processing costs by 70% and overall spending by 15%
  • Automated approval workflows for project-based and operational-spending requests, enabling better accounting and auditing and more stringent regulatory compliance with JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Requisition Self Service
  • Eliminated thousands of paper-based purchase orders and purchase-order responses, accelerating approvals from weeks to only a few minutes and cutting administrative workload by more than half, which enables scientists to spend more time on health research instead of medical-product procurement
  • Established a unique, consolidated, online-product and service database of registered vendors, facilitating standardized procurement policies, faster invoice review and reconciliation, and a 40% reduced payment-processing time
  • Created dynamic online training materials with Oracle User Productivity Kit, supporting a complete learning experience for ten super users, who in turn used the tool to train 200 users before the go-live, enforcing system participation and ensuring employee buy-in to the new medical procurement process

Why Oracle

“The South African Medical Research Council has successfully employed JD Edwards software for all financial requirements since 2002. Oracle’s continuous commitment to support and enhance the JD Edwards EnterpriseOne product line convinced MRC that there was no need to evaluate alternatives. The upgrade brought multiple cost and time benefits to the organization without requiring the extensive investment that usually comes with adopting new technology,” said Philip G. du Plessis, divisional manager, project and management accounting office, South African Medical Research Council.


  • Oracle Partner

“The South African Medical Research Council initiated a public tender for sourcing the best project partner and selected Oracle partner EOH, based on its excellent track record and client references. EOH’s extensive experience in similar projects was critical to our successful upgrade,” du Plessis said.