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Moving Towards B2B Food Service E-Procurement Solutions

Moving Towards B2B Food Service E-Procurement Solutions

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) report modest but encouraging retail figures for March 2011, particularly in UK food at 2.5% higher than 2010, and non-store sectors, accompanied by a sales volume increase of 0.2% compared with the previous month.

With food outlets seeing their sales improve by 0.7% compared with February and non-store sales up 0.6% also, the outlook for the UK economy appears more positive. Especially, for those enterprises operating within key food service sectors with intentions to move from an inefficient, manual paper requisition and workflow ordering process to a fully customised food service e-procurement system.

Fully implemented eProcurement solutions can significantly reduce costly human resource time, invoicing processing delay and error and promote purchasing from approved suppliers at pre-negotiated prices, only after sending transactions through approval workflows.

There has been an increasing shift towards recognising the need to migrate key components of B2C online transactions across to a B2B ecommerce methodology, achievable by implementing a hotel e-procurement, restaurant e-procurement or catering e-procurement solution. Consequently, areas such as key aspect search, features and product suggestions are becoming increasingly important alongside product evaluation or review.

While it has always been a standard demand for purchasing managers to seek increased transparency when analysing supplier prices, product lines and staff ordering habits, electronic procurement will direct to the correct suppliers, provide prompts for critical data, and deliver support to category-specific ordering, delivery, and invoice-matching processes.

Key e-procurement benefits are, undoubtedly, as a result of involving the use of electronic methods at every step taken in a purchasing process, however many enterprises and organisations approach implementation of e-procurement in gradual phases, beginning with the automation of selected high-transaction, volume activities such as supplier registration or tender submissions.

A further key factor to eprocurement adoption is creating easy-to-use requisition and the ability to source within internal catalogues or at an approved supplier website with minimum additional data necessary. Often the urgent need for goods or services can lead to system bypassing in the absence of issuing prompt purchase order documentation.

System noncompliance can be sufficiently remedied by preset, automated procedures which can, for example, delay supplier payment if valid purchase order numbers are not entered, thereby, deterring unapproved telephone orders.

Defining a specific e-procurement system is dependent on formulating an e-procurement strategy after closely analysing the intrinsic nature of the intended items to be sourced and their pricing policy. Ultimately, obtainable benefits will be tied to concepts of technology, organisation and processes of the proposed solution, but essential elements pivot upon lower transaction costs, shorter order cycles, higher compliance, reduced listings and lower prices.