A Hitchhiker’s Guide to e-Procurement: An Introduction

Mostly Harmless, Part I

e-Procurement, while commonly used, is often misunderstood and confused with e-Purchasing, EIPP (Electronic Invoice Presentation and Payment), P2P (Procure-to-Pay), and even e-Sourcing. Thus, this brief guide will define what e-Procurement is, isn’t, and how it relates, or fails to relate, to e-Purchasing, EIPP, P2P, and e-Sourcing.

This guide will start with a definition of e-Procurement and then go on to cover the basic cycle. Along the way, it will discuss some benefits, challenges, and best practices while differentiating between the procurement of goods and services in the public and private sector when required. Finally, it will end with some advice on how to accurately cost a solution and determine the potential value such a solution offers.

Simply put, as per the e-Procurement Primer, eProcurement is the counterpart to eSourcing, starting where eSourcing ends and ending where eSourcing begins. It is the “e” implementation of the procurement cycle which is concerned with the requisitioning, receiving, and reconciliation of the received goods and services as opposed to the analysis, auction, and award that takes place in the (e-)sourcing cycle. It is essentially the automation of the non-strategic and transactional activities that consume the majority of a buyer’s time (that should be spent on more strategic value-generating activities), but one that comes with increased enterprise level visibility of all purchases.

The e-Procurement cycle, which can consist of up to nine steps (as defined in the doctor wants to remind you it’s sourcing and procurement), starts where there sourcing cycle ends and ends where the sourcing cycle begins. At a bare minimum, it will generally consist of an order, an invoice, and a payment. However, the process can also include authorization, goods receipt generation, reconciliation, tax reclamation, and analysis. Depending on the purchase in question, the (e-)Procurement cycle will generally contain three or more of the following nine steps:

  1. Requisition (& SOW)
  2. Approval
  3. Purchase Order
  4. Goods Receipt
  5. Invoice
  6. Reconciliation
  7. Payment
  8. Tax Reclamation
  9. Analysis

In addition, the e-Procurement process may also involve some regular catalog or contract management to keep catalogs and pricing schedules up to date between sourcing cycles.

The next set of posts in this series will explore each stage of the procurement cycle and the requirements that are placed upon any solution that claims to be e-Procurement.

Next Post: Requisitions, Part I

Share This on Linked In