Thoughts on Autumn, Changing Seasons and E-Procurement
The leaves are changing colors and the smell of pumpkin spice is in the air: It's officially autumn! While some can find Fall to be a melancholic or even a bleak season – understandable, since it reminds us of the coming winter – it’s also a wonderful time of year for contemplation, creativity and preparation for the colder months to come. No matter whether you enjoy or dislike Fall, however, there is one thing we can all agree on: Autumn always brings major, transformative change.
It is often said that in life, the only constant is change. It's a powerful concept and it's true... even for public sector purchasing departments!
Across the country, governmental organizations are adopting e-procurement solutions and enjoying the immediate and long-term benefits they provide. While change can be daunting for anyone (especially for organizations that have a long-established way of doing things), change also brings fresh opportunities and new ways of looking at old concepts.
Paper-Based Processes: Ripe for Change
Take the example of the Request for Proposal (RFP). The majority of buying organizations have become accustomed to receiving vendor responses to their solicitations in the form of a paper proposal, which can run into the hundreds of pages. For decades, procurement staff have needed to sort through each individual proposal manually to ensure that all the qualifying requirements are met, and that the vendor has correctly filled out any accompanying forms. Storing these many proposals presents a space challenge: where to put all the paper copies? In some districts, the historical library of received proposals is so voluminous that local governments have had to invest in warehouse space to store all the proposals. Surely, there is a better use of taxpayer money.
And this is where change rears its fortuitous head. With an e-procurement solution, buying organizations can choose to receive all vendor proposals in electronic format, immediately changing the nature of the procurement process. For both vendors and buyers, this is clearly a positive change.
E-procurement is Changing how Buyers Manage Sourcing
Modernizing the proposal process isn’t the only way e-procurement is changing how organizations source goods and services. Every module of an e-procurement solution offers up the opportunity for change and improvement. For example, a Bid Distribution and Vendor Management module makes it easy to both distribute bid documents electronically and to manage an organization’s vendor pool. Another module, Vendor Certification and Prequalification, integrates seamlessly with the solution to allow buyers to review vendor certifications and set up prequalification rules that only allow qualified vendors to bid on a project.
That’s not all! Contract Management and Bid Evaluation modules provide functionality that buyers need to easily and effectively manage their contract creation process and to quickly evaluate multiple bids from one central location. Combine these useful tools with an integrated Approval Workflow that allows buyers to design their own workflows, and we can see why buying organizations across America are adopting e-procurement.
So instead of fearing change as some fear winter – embrace it! Without winter there would be no spring, and without change there would be no progress. And I think we can all agree that the benefits of e-procurement constitute a positive and welcome change – change that is easier to implement than you might think.