Last edited 22 Nov 2017


The term 'E-procurement' refers to tendering processes carried out online and through information and networking systems. It can be a highly-effective way of managing complex supply chains with multiple tiers of suppliers.

Very broadly, e-procurement might include:

  • E-informing: The process of gathering and distributing procurement information both from and to internal and external parties.
  • E-tendering: The process of tendering using online technology.
  • E-auctioning: Web-based software that allows potential suppliers to compete online, in real time, to provide prices for the goods/services under auction.
  • Vendor management: Application that acts as a mechanism for business to manage and procure staffing services.
  • Catalogue management: The process of suppliers enabling product content to be made available to buying organisations in order for them to procure goods electronically.
  • Order status: The ability to track orders online until delivery.
  • Advance ship notice: Notification of pending deliveries.
  • E-invoicing: Exchange of the income document between a supplier and a buyer in an integrated electronic format.
  • E-payment: Payment system facilitates the acceptance of electronic payment for online transactions.

E-procurement software automates procurement-related functions, procedures and processes, reducing the need for paper-based and human processes. E-procurement platforms can usually be customised according to the needs of the user, often with accessibility through smartphones and tablet devices. It frees up an organisation’s procurement teams from low-value tasks, allowing them to focus on higher-value activities such as contract negotiation.

There are several potential challenges for an organisation implementing e-procurement. These involve the installation and integration of software with other enterprise systems, training requirements, liaising with suppliers to ensure a successful transition to the new system, and so on. However, there are some significant benefits that can be achieved. These include:

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