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eProcurement tools – a help or a hindrance?

13 Jan 2020

Going out to tender can be a daunting and complex process. With technology, there are endless options for sourcing and purchasing tools. However, if you want a personal and reliable experience, then focusing on a tailor-made, engineered portal may not be the solution.

Value, not just cost

While e-procurement tools claim to be more affordable, user-friendly and designed to replace inefficient Excel methods, there are better alternatives. Most companies are equipped with the resources to compile a proposal that is:

  • easy to read
  • detailed
  • non-restrictive
  • at no expense to you
  • allows them to express their brand personality and character.

It’s the people who make your business unique and as such, they deserve to be serviced by a company that is passionate about helping you.

It’s almost impossible to demonstrate this passion through a restrictive electronic application. Since the aim of procuring services is to provide your business with real value, not just cut costs, it may be best to allow the potential service provider the freedom to demonstrate what they do best, the best way they know how.

You could miss the bigger picture

The word limits built into e-procurement tools often mean suppliers can’t demonstrate their full offering. Even the standard layout of these devices can make the simplest information hard to read.

On the other hand, if you give the supplier a chance to showcase their expertise in their industry they may even offer up a perfect solution you wouldn’t otherwise have known was available to you.

Not only will this spare you from the tedious task of reading a mundane response, it will also ensure you don’t cheat yourself out of receiving the best offer for your company.

Tech issues

Aside from these applications restricting the look and feel of the proposals, they also present a range of other technological issues to deal with.

Users often experience snags, which can have a dramatic effect on the procurement process. If the tool is complicated to use or has errors, suppliers will require training, which causes time and cost inefficiencies.

Additionally, numerous buyers sign on for e-procurement without anticipating the long road ahead. They dive into projects only to learn that managing electronic catalogues is tricky, threatening the effectiveness promised by moving purchasing to the web.

The solution

So, what's the right e-procurement tool for your company? If you’re looking for offers that are time and cost-effective, easy to read, and allow you to see the whole picture then the answer is none!

Instead, advise the company of the selling points that are most important to you and allow them to create a proposal that not only answers your questions, but also solves your problems, starting at the procurement process.

One final thought

If an RFP response is difficult to understand, it is far more likely that the provider has over-complex processes and therefore may not be the provider you are looking for. Simplicity is key! An expert in their field should be able to explain their offering in plain English.

You can learn so much from the way in which a response is written, so why restrict potential providers by forcing them to squeeze it into the strict constraints of an e-Procurement tool?

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