Navigate the UK procurement Reform Act changes seamlessly with an efficient eSourcing platform. Discover how to leverage technology for effortless implementation. Learn how to streamline processes, ensure compliance, and optimise procurement strategies. Empower your organisation with insights into how to embrace positive transformation and stay ahead of the ever-evolving procurement landscape.
Public procurement regulations in the UK are on the cusp of change and many buyers and suppliers have already started looking at how the Procurement Act will affect their operations and what steps they must take to ensure a smooth transition. One of the best things buyers can do in preparation is invest in an eSourcing platform.
An eSourcing platform (or eSourcing software) provides a single, centralised hub where buyers can manage the entire sourcing and procurement process from Requests for Information (RFI) to awarding tenders. The array of features and automation capabilities are just what buyers need to implement the upcoming changes in a way that optimises procurement strategies and ensures compliance with the new public procurement laws.
In this article, we’re going to look at how eSourcing platforms will improve your business’s efficiency, cost savings, and tender processes. In this way, we hope to empower you and your employees so you can sail through change over with confidence.
What Features Make An eSourcing Platform Powerful?
You’ll find pretty much the same basic features in all eSourcing platforms but if you really want to enhance your procurement strategies, you’ll need to find one that takes features to the next level.
For example, basic features include a user-friendly, intuitive interface, templates to standardise each step for greater efficiency, and contract management so you can keep an eye on supplier performance.
Advanced features you should look for include the following:
- Segmentation: Grouping suppliers according to certain criteria, for example, performance, social value (very important in the new procurement regulations), flexibility, location, quality, and lead time.
- Automation: Advanced automation features should be able to virtually manage the entire process, including, requests for information, requests for proposals, and requests for quotes. Automation should also be able to run an eAuction, from real-time bid updates to notifying contract winners and unsuccessful bidders.
- Analytics: Basic eSourcing platforms can deliver reports, but you need advanced analytics from your software if you want real insight into supplier performance, supply chain management, spending, risk analysis, and forecasting.
What About The Changes?
There are three primary reasons behind procurement reform.
1) Simplify procurement to make it fairer for all.
2) Save public funds while improving productivity and creating more opportunities to participate in the public procurement sector.
3) Increase the worth of social value, including climate change initiatives.
Intentions behind the changes
One of the major areas of focus is transparency. The intention is to make the procurement process as transparent as possible for all parties.
There is a move towards greater accountability and one of the results is that public sector buyers must exclude suppliers that contravene the regulations or consistently fail to deliver the services/products promised.
Conversely, suppliers have the right to challenge exclusions or debarments. They can also be removed from the excluded list if they can prove they’ve made changes to address the issues of contention.
The emphasis on value enables SMEs to compete in the government procurement sector. It essentially opens the market for more suppliers which increases competition, drives innovation, and lowers prices.
This marks a change from the Most Advantageous Tender (MAT) to the Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT) and levels the playing field for all types of suppliers.
How eSourcing Features and Benefits Complement Procurement Reform
ESourcing platforms are inherently geared to help buyers comply with the new Act.
Public procurers can set up their platforms in a way that best suits their needs, and this naturally enables them to keep track of suppliers, but registered suppliers can also access important information. This includes real-time updates on tenders and notification of upcoming tenders so they can prepare their proposals ahead of time.
All registered suppliers have access to the same information, so there’s no chance of discrimination or unfair tender practices.
Because all suppliers are on the same page (literally) and because portions of the bidding process are standardised, all participants are on an even footing. Automation uses preset criteria to evaluate proposals, taking human bias out of the equation.
Suppliers are evaluated on merit, which means buyers really have the pick of the bunch when they make their final decision.
Tenders are updated in real-time, which means that suppliers can see where they stand at any time. This encourages competition but it also encourages collaboration, both of which can affect pricing in the buyer’s favour. It also enhances the value of product/service offerings, which might not lower pricing, but can increase the proposal’s worth.
With social value growing in importance, the greater the worth, the greater the suppliers’ chance of success.
How eSourcing Platforms Optimise Procurement
All-in-one eSourcing platforms don’t just help buyers adjust to the changes in public procurement. Their features also create opportunities for buyers to get the most out of their procurement strategies.
A place for everything
Every single aspect of procurement can be managed on an eSourcing platform. All data is neatly stored, categorised, and organised and easily accessible whenever you need it. There’s no hunting through different systems, spreadsheets, or paper files. This alone increases efficiency and saves time.
Suppliers keep an eye on buyers because they also need to know who keeps lines of communication open, are the easiest to work with, and are most organised. Buyers need this information if they want to improve their performance and keep attracting reputable suppliers.
ESourcing platforms can include a customer feedback system that encourages suppliers to provide constructive feedback, including suggestions and commendations.
Communication is essential to maintain any relationship, including relationships between buyers and suppliers. When it comes to procurement, open and transparent communication aren’t the only factors at play. Communication also needs to be easy.
eSourcing platforms facilitate communication by providing one place for all communication. No more sifting through email chains or losing paper notes or memos.
We’ve already mentioned automation, but it’s so important that it’s worth mentioning it again. Automation, combined with AI technology, can drastically cut the time it takes to complete certain tasks, including all-important eAuctions. It’s more efficient, saves money, and removes the risk of human error – and bias.
Updates are immediate and you can generate reports whenever necessary. You can visualise the entire supply chain, which mitigates risks, and ensures that all the procurement steps comply with the updated regulations.
Advanced analytics enable buyers to make informed decisions that will keep them at the top of their game while keeping ahead of trends. Analysis facilitates cost management and tracks key performance indicators (KPIs), which identify problem areas and help implement solutions.
Finding The Right eSourcing Platform
Having looked at what constitutes a powerful eSourcing platform, how the platform can help you adapt to the new Procurement Act, and how it can give your procurement process a boost, we now need to find a platform that will more than meet your requirements.
One of the first things to look for is the flexibility to meet your needs, from publishing contract notices to supplier management and engagement.
The number of active suppliers and public sector organisations supported is also important and, in that respect, Delta eSourcing is an industry leader. Delta’s e-tendering portal has supported over 500K public sector buyers and has over 100K active suppliers.
Ahead of the curve, Delta’s portal already meets all the new transparency requirements and has a reputation for its community-building and collaboration principles.
You can also get ahead of the curve with Delta’s range of services for public sector buyers. Book a free demo and see how Delta can optimise your procurement strategy.