How to improve supplier participation in e-procurement

Gaurav Baheti
Jul 26, 2021·4 min


Strategic sourcing is all about competition. When you get the right vendors to compete and bid for your orders, you are looking at long-term cost savings, better variety, superior value, and greater ROI. It’s the most basic need in industry 4.0 for an organisation to have robust procurement strategies.

But it’s getting the vendors and suppliers to reach this point. That’s the tricky part! Without supplier participation, you can’t capitalise on even the most innovative fintech solutions and advanced e-procurement platforms.

So how should you improve supplier participation in e-procurement?

How to make the thirsty horses (suppliers) come to the filled and ready trough (your e-procurement platform)?

Here are some tips that can help you switch from the traditional/tedious work of manual procurement and automate your sourcing process for improved supplier engagement.

  1. Adopt A Responsive Procurement Platform: First, the platform of your choice can make a significant impact on supplier adoption and participation. If your e-procurement platform is challenging to use and highly specific to certain devices, then you would have a hard time onboarding your suppliers on it.

You need responsive e-procurement and e-billing platform that integrates seamlessly with iOS, Android, email, SMS, web applications, and WhatsApp. It can make it possible for suppliers from all demographics to participate in your auctions and easily bid with competitive offerings.

  1. Reduce the Number of Interactions Per Order: Another challenge that suppliers face while going through a typical P2P cycle or Procure to Pay process is having several interactions with the purchase manager before anything is finalised. Even when the most routine order has to be fulfilled, multiple emails and calls may be necessary to close it.

By automating and simplifying your process, you can reduce these interactions while still keeping the procurement procedures compliant to company standards. Manage vendor selection, order placing, and tracking through live and dynamic dashboards, keeping repetitive phone calls and emails at the minimum.

  1. Increase Process Transparency: Just as it is essential for you to have complete visibility of the purchase process before making a buying decision, so is it for your suppliers. No supplier wants to get involved in a bidding auction and find out about hidden compliance requirements later on.

And no vendor wants to miss out on a lucrative bid due to overlooked order requirements!

By making your e-procurement process transparent, you can avoid these discouraging factors for your suppliers. Share real-time information with vendors participating in a particular auction about:

  • Order specifications
  • Bids received and revised
  • Deals are done, and orders placed
  • Closed orders or order status
  • Compliance updates
  1. Be Proactive, Not Reactive: In addition to process clarity, effective vendor management also needs a proactive understanding of your order requirements. When your suppliers feel confident about their ability to fulfil orders and deliver value, they are more likely to participate in your e-procurement.

With advanced spend analytics, exhaustive ERP integration, and strong audit trails, you can determine your sourcing needs well in advance. By sharing these requirements proactively with your suppliers, you give them sufficient time to prepare and participate in your e-procurement auction.

  1. Be Relational, Not Transactional: e-Procurement allows you to increase your company’s vendor reach and explore several options before sourcing inventory. It also allows you to choose the most lucrative pricing bids without wasting much time. But it can also lead you away from vendor development and make your whole approach towards procurement transactional in nature.

To make sure that doesn’t discourage suppliers from doing business with you, include long-term sourcing contracts in your e-procurement platform along with one-time orders. By having vendor contract management on your e-procurement platform, you can also involve upper management in strategic sourcing.

Final Thoughts

Savvy procurement can be a game-changer for any organisation. You need an intelligent way to upgrade and automate your existing procurement practices while improving supplier participation.

Procol is an innovative procurement solution that allows you to engage suppliers in e-procurement. You can manage multiple orders in real-time and automate the entire auctioning process with Procol. Get the best auction strategies, bids, and quotes from diverse suppliers on a unified platform. Achieve significantly greater ROI as well as unprecedented cost savings through strategic sourcing with Procol.

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contract managemente-procurement strategic sourcingVendor Management