In a time when the world lives online, people have begun to utilize virtual communication in both their personal and professional lives. Communication isn’t limited to video conference calls or emails with family and friends though. In fact, communication between suppliers and customers is a topic more businesses are showing interest in. This online communication between suppliers and customers is known as e-procurement. E-procurement improves efficiency, accuracy, and overall customer satisfaction while saving both parties money along the way, but it’s a topic that still leaves many people scratching their heads.
What is E-Procurement?
Before we dig deeper into the benefits of e-procurement for businesses, let’s take a look at what exactly it is. E-procurement involves taking the traditional procurement process and digitally enhancing it for both the supplier and customer. That means that all parts of the procurement process, from order placement to checking invoices, are performed digitally.
How Does E-Procurement Benefit the Customer and Supplier?
One of the most notable benefits of e-procurement is the improved relationship between supplier and customer. That improved relationship can be credited to a few things, including:
- Easier communication from supplier to customer
- Online data sharing to improve accuracy of order information
- Cost saving for both the supplier and customer
- Online options for quotation requests, order changes, and online bidding
- Clear view of the procurement process for the customer allows them to see where their money is going
If the benefits found in e-procurement sound like something that would work well for your company, the next step is choosing an e-procurement software. There are many different options on the market when choosing an e-procurement software. Some are packed with features that would be best utilized by a large corporation, while others are simpler and a better fit for small to medium-sized businesses. Before trying to choose which software is right for your company, speak with your team to agree on these key points:
- Determine what your business needs realistically are
- Define what your key procurement and business processes include
- Create a list of what security features are the most important to your company
Once you’ve answered those questions, it’s time to look at different e-procurement software available on the market. Some software will allow you mobile access from a phone or tablet, some may track travel expenses, and others will offer real-time analytics for you to view. After viewing multiple software options you can determine which software best meets your budget while offering all of the services needed to improve your procurement experience.
What is the Future of E-Procurement?
Since e-procurement began in the 1980’s the technology has come a very long way – but where is it going from here? As with any technology, there’s always room for improving the e-procurement process for both suppliers and customers. The focus is expected to be placed on making the software more mobile and accessible for users on both ends of the process. Ultimately, the software will become more user-friendly and require less training time for employees. Cloud-based e-procurement software will be the key to improving both accessibility and ease of use for suppliers and customers alike.
As this software develops and improves with time, we’ll likely see many more companies taking their procurement and reporting processes online. Small businesses and huge corporations alike have the ability to save time and money, allowing them to better utilize the resources and staff they currently have, through the help of e-procurement. This definitely hasn’t been an overnight online phenomenon but the rapidly growing popularity of e-procurement software shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon – now is your time to become part of the procurement revolution or be left behind with outdated processes!