PracticePeople In PracticeComment: Technology to buy

Comment: Technology to buy

The role of the buyer has changed dramatically over the past five years. Buyers are not only encouraged to establish closer relationships with suppliers, but also expected to procure materials across a global market. Here's how technology can help.

Requisitions

In a large organisation there may be calls from a number of sources for product procurement. This includes inventory re-stocking, material requirement planning, plus a range of demands from company staff. Good systems can gather requisition information automatically and provide the buyer with the facility to consolidate requests to rationalise the buying process.

Buying Decisions

Software systems can hold extensive data on supplier pricing, terms, discounts, performance, and credit availability. Analysis can greatly simplify purchasing decisions.

Electronic Catalogues and Pricing

The increasing availability of electronic catalogues can provide up-to-date, accurate pricing information for procurement staff.

Purchase Order Placement

The industry is poised for a revolution that will dispense with the paper-based purchase order. There are two routes a buyer might pursue in this new e-procurement environment.

B2B e-commerce sites allow buyers to browse suppliers’ catalogues. On the better sites buyers can see their own preferential prices, check availability and their own credit status. When ordering, fully integrated solutions ensure the order is validated and passed directly to the supplier’s accounts system for processing.

In summary, e-procurement can streamline the flow of information to and from the professional buyer, who can then make decisions based on accurate up-to-date information. This contrasts with the traditional method of obtaining quotes, price lists and verbal undertakings. These facilities can provide the procurement office with time to research new markets, establish better supply chain links, and monitor supplier performance.

E-procurement allows companies to maximise efficiency within their departments.

  • Kevin Misselbrook is corporate projects manager with e-commerce.

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