The application of digital technology in the procurement process is relatively a new concept. Large corporations have the resources to overhaul their infrastructure to implement digital technologies that can considerably boost their procurement and sourcing performance. A majority of them are relying on e-sourcing tools to efficiently connect, screen, and shortlist suppliers irrespective of time or location. However, small and medium businesses (SMB’s) may not have the necessary resource to spend on a dedicated IT infrastructure to adopt e-sourcing solutions. So, they will have to look for other ways to reap the benefits of e-sourcing.
The Standard Platforms
The current e-sourcing providers such as Ariba, Coupa, Oracle, SAP, and Proactis offer their services to large corporations to help with their sourcing needs. The business need of SMB’s would differ from that of large corporations, and such standard platforms might not be able to scale down to cater needs of SMB’s efficiently. SMB’s require e-sourcing solutions which provide them access to deals and pricing that might not otherwise be available.
Finding Right E-sourcing Platform
The market is overflooded with numerous e-sourcing platforms, but the buyer will need to evaluate them on the basis of negotiation facilities, databases, and interfaces offered. The platform’s customer service could be analyzed by simply resolving all sourcing queries with the vendor before buying. One thing businesses should consider while choosing the e-sourcing platform is that the cost of the tool rises along with the available features. Additionally, such tools will also consume a significant time and effort to integrate into the daily sourcing practices.
Why SMB’s Refrain from Investment in E-sourcing Tools?
SMB’s generally refrain from investing in e-sourcing platforms as they realize little gains in terms of sourcing savings opportunity compared to the investment. Additionally, they do not have the luxury of huge cost saving opportunity as in large organizations with massive spend across multiple direct and indirect category. Finally, SMB’s hardly invest in dedicated procurement professionals who would possess the expertise to utilize such e-sourcing tools.
E-sourcing solutions for SMB’s
Every firm looking for scaling operations and growing rapidly should be concerned with procurement activities. Although the cost of standard platforms can be too high, many firms are rising to such challenges by offering low-cost, simplified, and standalone e-sourcing software. Many vendors have leveraged the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model to provide cost-effective solutions to SMB’s. Such solutions offer the SMB’s to enjoy the benefits of traditional platforms without worrying about the hosting cost, IT costs, and resources. They provide multiple features to the businesses such as automatic supplier qualification, supplier registration and profiling, and invitational bidding. It also ensures privacy and security of organizational data and information by storing and hosting in the cloud.
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