What are the most important elements of a successful e-procurement program?

August 1st, 2008

This author believes that the sourcing of suppliers and an access to a quality product specifications library are potentially the most important elements when creating sustainable e-sourcing programs.

This author believes that the sourcing of suppliers and an access to a quality product specifications library are potentially the most important elements when creating sustainable e-sourcing programs.

Companies already understand very well what they buy and how they buy it. They understand the volume of what they buy and when they need it. Discovery of that information is a relatively simple task if the retailer is already accepting of the e-procurement process. To a somewhat lesser degree do retailers have the specifications for these products readily available or in a written format?

Two elements; specifically that of identifying new sources of supply and providing quality specifications really determines the success of an e-procurement event. The requirements necessary to evaluate and qualify new sources of supply include a sizable database that can provide fresh suppliers on a regular basis. The requirement to move supplier evaluation forward rapidly is an extensive library of readily available product specifications. After a retailer has provided their e-procurement vendor with a list of historical supplier relationships, it is incumbent on the vendor to provide the retailer a variety of sources of supply that they are not presently aware of, and to provide the supplier with a quality product specification for them to evaluate and determine their interest in participating.

Contrary to popular opinion, suppliers can be a variety of sizes, but new blood is a necessity in order to keep events fresh each time they are run, year after year after year. It is simply not true that this number of suppliers does not exist. Once an adequate table of suppliers has been assembled it is incumbent on the e-procurement vendor to analyze these suppliers for historical participation in e-procurement events, safety certifications, environmental and other socially responsible program participation, quality programs, sample evaluation when required, site visits when required and supplier references.

I look forward to your opinion.

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