Construction E-procurement!

Paul Heming

August 18th, 2017
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Paul Heming, founder of procurement platform C-Link discusses the benefits of E-procurement.

The term ‘E-procurement‘ refers to tendering processes carried out online and through information and networking systems, and may include; E-tendering, E-auctioning, E-invoicing, E-payment and so on.

The effectiveness of a contractual relationship is typically dictated by how well the initial procurement process has been completed and whether the written agreement fully reflects the intentions of the contracting parties.  E-procurement can be an effective way of managing this process, particularly where there are complex, multi-tier supply chains.

E-procurement automates procurement procedures, reducing the need for paper-based and human processes. E-procurement platforms can be customised according to the needs of the user, often with accessibility through mobile devices. This frees up procurement teams from low-value tasks, allowing them to focus on higher-value activities such as contract negotiation.

Relationships and behaviour are strong influences for achieving successful outcomes. Companies who understand and appreciate each other will be more likely to work effectively together and this will apply equally when things are going well or when difficulties arise. E-Procurement allows for early engagement and encourages positive interaction between parties which improves the likelihood of successful project delivery.

Where price competition is the only criteria for procurement, this rarely leads to a harmonious and successful relationship. Rather, for the procuring party, it is much more important to establish whether a specialist has both the capacity and capability in terms of management and resource to deliver and, more importantly, the expertise and skills to undertake the contract works.  The most frequent cause of disputes in contracting is the inadequate definition of the scope of works. Time spent properly defining the contract works and compiling documentation pays dividends, enabling businesses to properly price the works and facilitating effective management once the contract is placed.

The UK Government recognises the same. As part of its Construction 2025 report, that the industry could make “[major] efficiency gains from earlier engagement of its supply chain” and professionals are being encouraged to consider e-procurement to deliver greater productivities.

Benefits that can be achieved through e-procurement include:

  • Lower transactional costs.
  • Better reporting through automation.
  • Automatic pre-qualification submission and evaluation.
  • Reduced tender cycle times.
  • Automatic scheduling of the tender process, with milestones  managed and participants alerted.
  • Central storage of contract documents.

Procurement platforms such as allow users to manage their project supply chain early and effectively, pre-qualify specialists and score them using a variety of construction specific criteria so that everyone knows exactly what they’re getting at the outset.

About Paul Heming

Paul was a Quantity Surveyor who gained 10 years experience of managing £200 million worth of flagship UK projects, including 20 Fenchurch Street and Battersea Power Station. In 2015, Paul founded C-Link with the intention of sharing his expertise of managing major projects with the SME market.

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