eProcurement Trends 2011 -Procurement Learning from B2C Trade

Detroit, 10th January 2011 –Procurement is becoming more and more of a value driver in international companies. Heiler Software, a leading provider of catalog management and e-procurement solutions, has compiled five trends that will be shaping electronic procurement starting in 2011. It is apparent that paradigms in the B2C business are increasingly influencing companies procurement processes.

1. More Transparency
Purchasing managers need maximal transparency when it comes to supplier prices, employees’ ordering habits and the composition of suppliers’ product lines. Modern dashboard technologies are now making comprehensive drill down analysis and global spend maps possible. This allows purchasing managers to optimally prepare for negotiations with suppliers. Catalog comparisons, product line analysis, price simulations and other analysis bring more transparency into the entire sphere of procuring indirect goods and services.

2. Index Search and Cost Reduction for Content Management
An index search of all internal and external catalogs helps reduce content management costs and furthermore, allows for better search results. Each supplier is integrated initially and then regularly delivers a search index, just like with a price search engine on the Internet. An index search is also capable of searching through all associated catalogs, both internal and external. This allows for a reliable search performance and standard user interface. The external products can be placed directly into the shopping cart if desired. “Rogue prices” can be identified by comparing prices with products that have already been ordered. Alternative products from other providers can also be found and compared.

3. Social Commerce Model
The internal product search engine in e-procurement is now on par with the methods known from B2C eCommerce. Each employee contributes his own private search expectations to the company’s internal procurement process: Facet searches, features and product suggestions are becoming increasingly important. Product evaluations in procurement are also becoming more significant: In this sense, colleagues giving help & recommendations become virtual friends.

4. Taking a Differentiated Look at Service Procurement
When it comes to procuring services through e-catalogs, different catalogs and their respective features will need to be taken into consideration. Standardized services, such as consultancy contracts or internal services, are already a reality. Complex products must be portrayed using forms with different variants and to also allow comprehensive price calculations or interaction with third party systems.

Services based on standardized service directories will be on the rise in electronic procurement in the coming years. Collaborating with suppliers will become even more important. Service orders can be inquired and reviewed and clarified by suppliers prior to contracting. The concrete contents and details can then be reported back to the purchaser after execution.

5. Flexible Use of the Internal Product Search
The idea of a single, central search engine for use in purchasing is in development. It must be integrated in portals in the same manner as with the SRM and ERP systems. It also provides the basis for the search for masters files. At the same time, the catalog seamlessly integrates into the respective third party system. A modern catalog system also offers all necessary interfaces, so that the above named systems can directly access price information in automatic order runs (i.e. article prices for MRP runs, update sources, EKI etc.).

In summary, more and more elements from B2C trade and social commerce are finding their way into electronic procurement. As this happens, transparency and analysis are also becoming more important. CEO Rolf J. Heiler talks about the most important factors for successful catalog procurement on Heiler TV (http://tv.heiler.com).