Cover Story E-Procurement

The applications of e-business are always focused more on the transactions trade them, in order to help not only who sell but also who acquires. All the companies cannot but draw the same advantages from the instruments of e-procurement.

After big waves of the electronic commerce Business-to-Consumer (B2C) and of trading on linens, the application of Internet of which it is spoken more from some months is the e-procurement, that is the integrated management of supplyings of a company via Internet, with three objects to you main:

  • to render the process of the purchases with the suppliers more efficient accustoms them, reducing the intermediate bureaucratic passages and automating in partial way or total the payments.
  • to find offered the more convenient and to select the suppliers consulting catalogue electronic presents in the situated ones web of the same suppliers or in the so-called e-marketplace.
  • to organize electronic contests and auctions for supplies of important value.

In the greater part of the organizations, the relative activities to the purchases come normally managed through telephone, fax, letters, email or Edi, with a puzzle of manual and automated activities, widely employee from the technological possibilities of the customer and the supplier. The applications of e-procurement have the objective to support, to automate and to rationalize the activities connected with the purchase processes. Broadly speaking, e-procurement it is whichever activity connected with the purchases, carried out with the aid of Internet is from private consumers who give companies: from I use of the e-mail in order to demand and to send offered to I use of the search engines specializes to you in the finding of products and the comparison of the prices, until arriving to the electronic auctions between consumers. In tightened sense, it is spoken about Business-to-business e-procurement when a integral organization the process of purchase through Internet with just arranges informative, with the objective to automate the “passive cycle completely”. In other words, it puts into effect it them interest for the e-procurement depends on the fact that the companies before have automated the “active cycle” (sale, production, invoicing) with the systems informed to you traditional and ERP and first tried you of electronic commerce, then have turned their attention to the “cycle of support” with applications CRM, and finally they are concentrated on the “passive cycle”, that it comprises:

  • Finding of the information useful in order to choose the product or the service to acquire (Market Intelligence).
  • Support to the preparation of demands for offer and capitola you.
  • Support to the process of comparison of offered and the selection of the supplier and the product.
  • Creation of the order.
  • Approval of the order and relati inner controls to you (powers of company, budget, standard and eventual ties you set up from the quality system).
  • Shipment of the order to the supplier.
  • Reception invoice, payment, contabilizzazione and closing of the transaction.

Currently only least companies to world-wide level have automated the passive cycle in complete way, while many offices purchases make wide use of Internet in the phase of Market Intelligence (search information and consultation of catalogues electronic).

Better a management of the supplyes, the lessening of the number of errors that happen in the phase of management of the orders, the saving on the cost of the acquired assets, the possibility to plan in way optimal the management of the own one supply chain, to carry out the tracking of the orders in real time, the lessening of the times of management, is the main advantages of e-procurement, to which collaterals join the to other advantages, like the lessening of the so-called “effect maverick” (dependent, for sottrarsi to the rigid bureaucratic procedures, prefers to carry out directly some purchases asking the reimbursement in famous expenses, a lot that medium 30% of “indirect” articles come it acquires to you in this way) and the fact to arrange in way automatic rifle of one great amount of gives to you statistical (to times delivery, reductions in price, saving regarding the offered ones of the other suppliers).
Also the possibility to shape a product with the aid of a configuratore program or expert system and the shipment of the orders online constitutes is for the supplier is for the customer a large advantage in terms of times and costs.

With opportune adaptations to the informative system and the business procedures, one medium company can achieve savings between the 3 and 10% of the turnover.

For the multinationals, the savings can be of the order of the hundreds of billions. The saving regards the indirect assets above all, than cellular computers and networking, telephones, software, several papal chancery, services do not interest the cycles directly productive (), rather than the direct purchases (raw materials and semifinished ones).
Searches conduct on some great enterprises from the Price Waterhouse Coopers and the Gartner Group evidence that 75% of the invoices paid from the companies are relative to articles that cost less than 1000 dollars; the inner cost (overhead) in order to acquire a product from 5 dollars is equal to that one for articles from 5000 dollars; a medium purchase with the traditional processes involves 22 operations medium, hard 15 days and has an inner cost between the 35 and 80 dollars (exceeding the 300 dollars sometimes). A solution of e-procurement involves only 12 operations, demands little hours and costs from the 5 to the 10 dollars.

Beyond to the economic and productive advantages, the purchase processes become more controlable and the error possibilities diminish.
Many companies Americans and Germans who have introduced systems of e-procurement declare to have damped the investments in less than twelve months.

In the USA the e-procurement it turns out adopted from 25% of the enterprises, and esteem that in the 2001 such percentage will arrive to 40%.

The truths of smaller dimensions that wish to realize automation of the passive cycle, can make reference to external structures that more companies operate in order, acting like cooperatives of purchase and companies of services.

In such case the external operator manages the catalogue and he is shaped like outsourcer of the e-procurement, with a model of business intermediate between a system of e-procurement and a e-marketplace.
A meaningful European example is the German Unitec Gmbh, present also in Italy, that it constitutes one of the first experiments of outsourcing complete of the function acquires, logistics and regarding management of the warehouse enterprises to mostly industrial character.