What is eProcurement in the maritime industry?
By Rasmus Hansen
Ever since the internet was developed, possibilities for electronic handling of data and activities have arisen. One of these is eProcurement.
Electronic procurement (or eProcurement) refers to the purchase and sale of supplies and services through the internet or other networking systems.
This type of procurement has been embraced by many industries, including the maritime industry. Yet, this industry often faces different obstacles than other industries.
The challenges of maritime eProcurement
Procurement in shipping companies is a complex matter because procurement departments are challenged by bad internet connection on the vessels and huge amounts of data. In addition, procurement managers must pay regard to the location and route of the vessels.
This may make manual procurement seem like a suitable option for shipping companies. However, this procurement strategy often leads to unnecessary administrative costs, ineffective workflows, limited access to information and time-consuming approval flows.
There exist several ERP systems which enable fleet managers to digitize their procurement activities. Since each shipping company has its own organizational structure, processes and approval matrixes, standard ERP systems cannot meet the demands of maritime fleet management procurement.
Therefore, fleet procurement managers need a system that is specifically developed for the maritime industry.
How to choose the right system for electronic procurement and planning
Paperless workflows and invoice scanning are benefits of eProcurement. But if standard ERP systems does not suit shipping companies, how do you choose the right system?
Maritime procurement systems typically include some of the same features enabling you to:
- Issue purchase orders
- Manage inventory and supplier catalogues
- Make on-board requisitions
- Send RFOs
- Evaluate quotations from suppliers
Although these features are important, we advise you to take just two more steps in order to find the perfect procurement system for your business.
Step 1: consider your procurement needs
The system should not only be able to handle standard procurement activities. Therefore, you must always consider the needs of your company. Try to consider and answer these questions:
- Do my vessels need constant access to the system?
- Should the system be able to integrate with other systems?
- Do we need to centralize data?
- How user-friendly should the system be?
Step 2: Ask other procurement managers or experts
Once you have answered the above questions, the actual search for a system begins.
Here, we want to highlight this: Help is given to those who ask!
Ask your network for recommendations. Or maybe you can spot which system other shipping companies use and how.
You can also contact one of our experts. They are always ready to talk about the potential for optimizing the procurement flows in your organization.