19 October 2000 | Geraint John
Purchasers need to work much more closely with suppliers for e-procurement to succeed, a top practitioner told the conference.
Gerry Walsh, vice-president of global procurement at American Express, said that unless companies made sure their objectives were aligned with those of suppliers before embarking on projects, they were destined to fail.
He urged purchasing professionals to help suppliers with the transition to e-procurement.
"We in procurement are a little arrogant at times," he said. "We often don't look at things through the supplier's eyes, but it is incumbent on us to explain to them what the benefits of e-procurement are."
Suppliers had to feel there was a payback from their investment, Walsh said. Purchasers needed to confirm that suppliers were ready for e-procurement and not just take their word for it.
Supplier management must never be forgotten during the e-procurement implementation period, Ninian Wilson, director of procurement at Cable & Wireless told delegates. "[C&W] hasn't done it well yet," he said.
A lot boils down to better management of increased data and information that is becoming an essential skill for purchasers. "If you can't manage the relationship, it might be taken away from you and given to another area," he added.