E Procurement - general information

Tags: procurement | HEFCE

What is E Procurement?

E-procurement (electronic procurement) refers to the purchase and sale of supplies, goods and services through the internet or other information and networking systems.

An e-marketplace is the name given to a web based system through which e-procurement can take place. E-marketplaces facilitate electronic trade between one or more buying organisations and several supplier organisations. They can be used to select and then order goods from a supplier, track the status of orders and the receipt of goods, and some e-marketplaces include systems for invoicing and payment.

As part of the University Modernisation Fund, HEFCE have set up a shared services pilot scheme through which funding is available to implement or further develop e-marketplaces in higher education institutions. As outlined in the HEFCE circular letter 16/2010. E-market places deliver significant process and contract efficiencies for higher education institutions. Contract efficiencies are delivered because e-marketplaces concentrate expenditure on institutional contracts thereby ensuring best price is achieved and electronic invoicing capabilities in some e-marketplaces will benefit institutional finance departments. 

What are the benefits  of e-marketplaces?

HEFCE has identified the following benefits of e-marketplaces:

  • saving time on routine administration and product selection of purchases while still having informed choice

  • instant access by every institutional user to the HEI's agreed contracts

  • robust audit trails, ensuring compliance with the HEI's financial regulations and the requirements of HM Revenue and Customs

  • all purchases are made in the same way, so users only have to learn one system

  • quotations may be requested electronically

  • products from contract suppliers may be compared and contrasted simultaneously, on a single screen

  • looking at 'shopping baskets' of commonly purchased products from contracted suppliers allows quick and easy comparison of like for-like, which may enable significant savings to be made

  • imposing more discipline on purchasers may help to reduce maverick spending.