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Whether you're sourcing notebooks and tablets or keyboards and headsets for the office, finding 'commodity' (but essential!) IT bits and bobs, at a good price, takes time. And even when you have the time, research may leave you with several companies selling the same thing, with the same price tag. In a cut-throat market, there's actually not much to be gained from shopping around – the real gain is in improving the efficiency of the procurement process.
How you source your company's kit can contribute a great deal to efficient procurement. If the price of a <insert widget here> is the same across the board, it's the most friction-free engagement that can lighten your load on the budget spreadsheet. When you shop online you don't buy from companies with confusing, hard-to-navigate websites – just as you wouldn't buy your organisation's IT from a company that adds extra unnecessary layers of form filling and process.
When it comes to buying online the options span between buying directly from a website – searching through the catalogue, adding to basket, checking out; to a full integration with your supplier and their procurement system. SAP Ariba and Oracle iProc are great examples of the latter, as are marketplaces such as Science Warehouse. These are both viable options and will give you the same end-result, but what are the main reasons for opting-in to online procurement?
Utilising an eProcurement system is also a much better method of staying in control of your organisation's spending patterns – it usually provides more intelligence than a flat invoice outlining what you've bought. You can analyse your data to ensure you're buying when you really need too – and not just racking up a big order so you can get free delivery.
Integration methods such as punch-out to enable live catalogues to be viewed within eProcurement systems offer real-time price and stock information. This all comes from within the controlled environment of that common eProcurement interface. More traditional eCatalogues may be more suitable to some organisations but however you view the catalogue, having this alongside full P2P functionality, including eInvoices and three-way matching, buying those new carry cases and sourcing some commodity laptops can be efficient, controlled and a much swifter purchasing experience for both supplier and buyer.
If you're already using eCAT and would like to ensure you're making the most of it, please get in contact with your account manager. Or if you're new to this eProcurement business and would like to find out more – get in touch using the button below.
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