The advancement of communication technologies such as intranet, extranet, Electronic Data Interchange, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) has propelled companies into coordinating their purchasing, production, and distribution activities via the internet. …
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E-business refers to the application of technologies, especially Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), to undertake or sustain business activities and processes, inclusive of research and development, procurement, design and development, manufacturing, operation, logistics, finance, value chain integration, HRM, design and development (Boone and Kurtz 2011, p.4).
Procurement refers to the process by which companies purchase goods and services from a diverse range of suppliers. E-procurement infers the business to business (B2B) or business-to-consumer, business-to-government purchasing of work, goods or services via the internet, besides other information-based and networking applications such as Enterprise Resource Planning and Electronic Data Interchange (Turban, David, Lee, Liang, and Turban 2011, p.5).
Procurement can be a critical part of a company’s overall strategy for cutting down costs. E-procurement methods incorporate methods such as electronic data interchange (EDI), online marketplaces/ e-marketplaces, and a combination of the two. E-procurement can be facilitated through the application of either a manual process or employing of automated software such as Enterprise Resource Planning Tools (ERP tools).
E-procurement value chain comprises of aspects such as Contract Management, Vendor Management, e-Auctioning, Indent Management, e-Tendering, and Catalogue Management (Harrison and Hoek 2008, p.12). E-procurement ICT incorporate components such as e-procurement software, B2B auctions, B2B market exchanges and purchasing consortia that are directed at automating workflows, consolidating and leveraging organizational spending power and citing fresh sourcing opportunities online. The most cited procurement use of the Internet revolves around consummating the transaction and attainment of technical advice. Top performing organizations mainly conduct more than 20% of their e-procurement transactions online, besides utilizing the internet for e-procurement applications such as communicating with vendors, verifying vendor price quotes, as well as purchasing from the vendor’s catalogues (Boone and Kurtz 2011, p.212). Technological advancement has led to the onset of commercial transactions such as Electronic Funds Transfer, supply chain management, internet marketing, Electronic Data Interchange, online transaction processing, and inventory management systems (Neef 2001, p.36). Types of e-procurement There are several examples of e-procurement tools, each of which avails benefits to manufacturing enterprises in ensuring that raw materials and other essential manufacturing components are delivered on time to meet production schedules in the most effective manner to maximize profit margins. Web-based ERP Web-based ERP is engaged in creating and endorsing purchasing requests, placing procured orders and receiving goods and services via application of a software system based on internet technology. ERP software packages from vendors such as Oracle, SAP AG, and the SAGE Group are designed to maximize the resource planning of an enterprise. In the manufacturing industry, web-based ERP is designed to generate purchasing schedules so as to achieve a perfect just-in-time (JIT) assembly cycle (Li 2007, p.300). One of the outstanding characteristics of ERP software is its capability to generate purchase orders via and production application of the bill of materials for the finished products as a basis. ERP systems also issue reschedule notices to suppliers (Neef 2001, p.38). Other types of e-procurement software include Vendor Management Systems, e-MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul), SAAS transformation, e-Tendering, e-marketsites, e-Sourcing, and
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