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Procurement technology set for big year


Posted on 14/01/2013 by Wayne Brophy FCILT

As the amount of e-procurement software in development continues to proliferate, industry experts are predicting high uptake levels this year as part of a more general shift within the global logistics industry towards technology-led operations.

Writing for Spend Matters, management consultant Jason Bunsch says that while larger corporations have been keen to incorporate new technologies into their procurement activities for some time, small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) have been much slower to adopt key software, although he now is forecasting 2013 to be the year this all changes.

Mr Bunsch insists that technological procurement solutions can help SMBs become better all-round operators, whereas currently most suffer from lop-sided procurement expertise whereby they excel in certain areas of the buying process yet fail to live up to the same standards in other aspects.

This view is supported by fellow logistics writer Peter Smith, who says smaller firms have yet to optimise their source to pay (S2P) practices, and could well benefit from the increasing amounts of specially-designed applications now on offer.

In particular, new time and expense (T&E) management tools such as Concur are expected to become popular among small businesses.

These applications enable procurement agents to organise and book their transport arrangements using a selection of in-policy preset options which automatically integrate and manage itineraries, credit card charges and e-receipts.

With the inclusion of new mobile apps making these software options more accessible than ever, T&E providers are hoping to generate a shift in the mindset of business managers by encouraging them to entrust their entire transport management process to a touch-of-a-button device.

Other types of software include spend optimisation solutions such as Coupla, which are aiming to liken the business buying process to the home buying process.

By offering companies the opportunity to source and purchase all their materials from a one-stop shop, these new technological solutions could well help companies reduce their buying costs as well as saving a considerable amount of time and manpower.

As more and more companies make the switch to procurement software, the nature of buyer jobs within the logistics sector could be set to change.

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