A police e-procurement system is promising a quick return on investment after taking only weeks to set up.
Just 10 weeks after launching the scheme, the Police Information Technology Organisation (Pito) has completed its first order using the system.
It is based on e-procurement technology from Ariba and Epylon, with integration and system management by Accenture.
By linking into Pito's financial systems, invoices are raised automatically, offering a greater ability to control costs, explained a Pito spokesman. "This puts us at the forefront of public sector procurement," he said.
The challenge was to develop a system that is attractive to both users and suppliers, according to Steve Demspey, e-procurement partner at Accenture. With e-procurement often viewed as a means of driving down purchasing price, it was important to remove the barriers to entry, he said.
"Suppliers are only required to have internet access to use the system, making it very easy to join. They also have the opportunity to bid for a number of contracts, ensuring that it is an attractive proposition," said Dempsey.
The number of suppliers has been limited by the Office of Government Commerce to 26, said the Pito spokesman.
Having been able to complete transactions after only 10 weeks proved that the e-procurement systems could be established quickly, improving the likelihood of a quick return on investment.
Despite the ease of setting up the system, the project would ultimately be judged on the "level of usage, savings made and the experience of procurement professionals", explained the spokesman.
The Office of Government Commerce is currently running seven e-procurement pilots. The results will be used to benchmark best practices within public sector e-procurement. The trials will run until July 2002.
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