E-procurement fails to cross European borders

23 February 2011

23 February 2011 | Angeline Albert

Suppliers across the European Union (EU) have greater access to e-procurement services, but participation by vendors outside the host nation remains poor.

A report by the European Commission (EC), DigitizingPublic Services in Europe: putting ambition into action, published this week examined EU member states’ e-procurement progress and adoption.

Between 2009 and 2010 the visibility of business opportunities for suppliers on e-procurement portals increased from 56 per cent to 71 per cent. However, this meant the EU has missed the goal it proposed in 2005 to make all procurement online by 2010.

Despite the growth, the report said, on average, just 5 per cent of the total vendors registered on each e-procurement platform were foreign. Ireland was a notable exception, where 25 per cent of its 62,000 registered suppliers on its national e-procurement system were not domestic.

“This high level of foreign registration is quite an exception as in most countries e-procurement solutions tend to focus on domestic suppliers,” said the report. “This is certainly an important obstacle to the completion of the single market.”

The report also disclosed many countries do not monitor the benefits achieved from electronic buying. One example where this does happen is Scotland, which reported audited savings of almost £800 million over a four-year period.

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