22 September 2005 | Anusha Bradley
Electronic procurement systems designed to improve efficiency frequently "waste time and money" because they are incompatible with each other, according to a survey of 400 UK, European and US firms.
The study, carried out by UK IT research firm Quocirca, found 95 per cent of purchasers resort to using "older technologies" such as fax, e-mail or phone, because of incompatibility. This is despite 80 per cent of them having fully-automated systems.
Clive Longbottom, senior service director and survey author, said: "Automation has long been touted as an enabler of efficiency. The irony is the more organisations apply automation the more they may suffer."
All sectors felt the effects of incompatibility problems, he said, and only a few of these had the ability to solve them cost-effectively in-house.
About 40 per cent of survey respondents had more than 1,000 suppliers and a further 40 per cent had more than 5,000. Quocirca will shortly publish results of a report into how much incompatibility costs businesses.