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E-Procurement: Is 100% Sourcing Online Possible?

People have changed how they work over the past two years due to unavoidable global circumstances, such as natural disasters and pandemics. As a result, remote work quickly became the new normal to avoid costly business interruptions. Sourcing online became crucial for organizations to remain productive and competitive.

Also referred to as e-procurement, sourcing online is supported by cloud automation. Thus, workers can collaborate online from any device or location, including the office and home. Cloud automation is now a necessity for organizations to ensure continued productivity. But is one hundred percent online sourcing possible? 

What is E-Procurement?

Supplier exchange performed online is called e-procurement. With that in mind, the purchase and sales of goods and services are made through a secure web interface. Working in the cloud provides real-time access to crucial supplier, contract, and purchase data.

With e-procurement, organizations gain greater control over spending and eliminate fraud through transparency. In addition, automation handles the process in minutes or hours instead of taking days or weeks to onboard new suppliers. As a result, faster decisions can be made to support continuous production throughout all circumstances - without breaking the budget.

What are the Benefits of E-Procurement?

E-procurement offers many benefits to realize an ROI within months of implementation, including:

  • Automated document management for supplier selection, contracts, and purchase orders
  • Improved workflows to streamline overall operations
  • Visibility of purchasing behaviors to make timely decisions and eliminate fraud
  • Real-time data through connecting to external supply chains and ERP

Plus, cloud automation supports remote workers to avoid business interruption. Real-time supplier comparison and selection support essential decisions when they matter most, such as planning for reduced supplies during a natural disaster or pandemic. Without cloud automation, operations come to a halt, and productivity and profits.

Why Diversify Your Supplier Base?

Sourcing online supports supplier base diversification with real-time data in a transparent environment. Improved visibility enables split-second decisions to ensure production and profitability.

In addition, sourcing online takes far less time than partial automation and manual processes to find the most viable suppliers when it matters most. Consider the cost of business interruptions during a pandemic or natural disaster. E-procurement keeps production moving forward regardless of circumstances and location.

Plus, diversifying is the only way to avoid production delays and damage to your brand. If a supplier does not provide essentials or competitive pricing, a new one is easier to find and onboard.

Also, many people prefer to work with companies that focus on supplier diversification based on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria. Sourcing online supports a detailed comparison of suppliers’ terms and backgrounds to make socially conscious decisions. And supplier diversification helps facilitate growth, reduce costs, minimize regulatory intervention, optimize investments, and increase employee productivity.

How Do You Learn eProcurement?

Learning eProcurement requires ongoing study and training because of its dependence on evolving technology. Most people start in procurement with an undergraduate degree in supply chain management. Working toward a master’s degree and adopting the latest technologies are ways to advance in procurement. 

Another option is earning a procurement-related certificate from the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS). Also, take advantage of on-the-job training, procurement blogs, e-learning sites, and webinars to get the latest updates. 

Learning starts with understanding different tools used to achieve streamlined procurement operations, including cloud platforms and applications that offer eProcurement tools such as eSourcing, eOrdering, and eAuctioning via the Internet, supporting remote workers in a secure and collaborative environment.

With the right party, a seamless transition is easy. Automation helps procurement, accounts payable, and the C-suite gain access to pertinent financial data in real-time to make crucial decisions that impact profitability. To answer the original question - sourcing online is one hundred percent possible - and a modern necessity to remain competitive.

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