It’s been an especially wonderful week this week in my work life, because I’ve had the privilege of speaking to a number of reference clients for our upcoming e-procurement rating document. As a part of our due diligence in rating vendors, we survey and speak with as large a number of user clients as we can stand! Doing reference work is usually an incredible experience because you get to hear about the diversity of use cases and richness of experience organizations have with a solution type.
One of this week’s e-procurement reference calls was an oil & gas company using an e-procurement solution to buy pipe, fittings, bolts, nuts, rags and soap. This organization heavily uses blanket order capabilities in their solution, and they [very creatively] support an in-house, third-party-run storeroom with their e-procurement system. Some of their challenges include integrating with a separate e-invoicing platform, and managing inventory given that they do things like buy pipe by the foot but store it by the joint. Another reference couldn’t have been more different. This European public healthcare agency uses an e-procurement solution to buy everything from IT equipment to hospital supplies. Their shared service implementation supports multiple business units, and their implementation houses several hundred catalogs. This health group also uses its e-procurement solution to buy hourly services. “Just put in clerical assistant as a product in a catalog with his or her hourly rate as the price, and then buy the number of hours worked,” said the reference when I asked him how it works. While he admits that it may not be elegant, it does get the job done.
Calls like these remind me not only are e-procurement systems used very differently, but also that there is quite a bit of differentiation in the market today across the solutions. I can’t wait for next week for more reference calls. And it’s a good thing . . I have dozens of calls to go . . . . .
Zycus continued making inroads in the American higher education market – as evidenced by its recent deal to provide iSource and iContracts to Liberty University in Virginia.
Insider Media Limited ran an interesting piece this week on fears within the clothing manufacturing industry that reverse auctions are ruining vendors. Although the commentary provided by Jeff Banks could just be sour grapes about losing out business to a competitor, the article should be a good reminder for buyers that price is only one factor to consider when making an award.
Maybe I’m late to the party but I just saw one of the funniest videos I’ve ever seen. It pokes fun at some questionable procurement practices – and unfortunately some of this stuff is all too real, which I guess is what makes it funny, no? See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2a8TRSgzZY
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