Reducing processing time: online procurement systems

Elmo Erasmus.pngSimilar to the latest communications technologies, massive strides are being made on the e-Procurement front to facilitate procurement processes and transactions faster, better and more cost effectively, Elmo Erasmus, Chief Technology Officer at WebPortunities told SmartProcurement.

Furthermore, the improved technologies are strengthening online procurement systems, making them highly adaptable to the particular circumstances of the client and easy to interface with the other relevant technologies such as Oracle, JD Edwards, Syspro, Ellipse and SAP, said Erasmus.

A crucial feature of any online procurement system is reducing processing time. If that time reduction is accompanied by ease of use, transparency and significant price reductions, then it makes business sense, he enthuses.

“In today’s global economy it’s all about functionality, reliability and high service levels that must be delivered cost efficiently.”

WebPortunities lists opportunities for suppliers and buyers in all business sectors as well as casual visitors looking for suppliers.

To illustrate what online procurement systems offer, Erasmus discussed a recent tender in which South African producer of phosphates and phosphoric acid Foskor invited potential service providers and vendors to bid to supply a range of stock items.

The invitation to tender was printed in a national Sunday newspaper and directed potential suppliers to the WebPortunities site where they can directly submit their tenders without having to draw up lengthy and time consuming documentation.

All tender responses are collected via the website and are made available to the buyer who can opt for WebPortunities’ solution for evaluation, business award and contract / order maintenance.

“With a traditional ‘tender box’ system a project like this could easily take 6 to 12 months, but with an online procurement system the time is reduced to 6 weeks, and usually accompanied by significant price reductions,” he said.

WebPortunities’ technology is local, emphasises Erasmus. It has adopted and adapted available Microsoft software to drive a web-based platform that is has been implemented in organisations such as Absa Insurance Company, FOSKOR Group, NAMDEB ( a member of De Beers Group), Rio Tinto (Rössing Uranium, Richards Bay Minerals), Vedanta (Skorpion Zinc, Black Mountain) and Paladin Energy (Langer Heinrich Uranium).

For more information on online procurement systems, contact Elmo Erasmus of WebPortunities at

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