Public sector organisations are increasingly introducing eProcurement systems in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their procurement processes. This clearly has implications for their suppliers, who are being asked to adopt eProcurement. For many SMEs, particularly small and micro businesses, this is proving a difficult challenge given their lack of eProcurement knowledge, as well as their resource shortages. It is at the Local Authority (LA) level that this situation is most problematic, as SMEs tend to supply more to local than central government. This paper presents the results of research undertaken with LAs and SMEs as part of the EPROC project. In particular, it provides insights into the level of eProcurement use and development in LAs in North West Europe, and illustrates how the introduction of eProcurement could have a negative impact on local economies and communities if LAs don’t help their SMEs to adopt eProcurement. The paper also reports on the findings of research conducted with SMEs in relation to the problems they’ve experienced in undertaking eProcurement with LAs, and details how some LAs are engaging with their local SMEs to help them become ‘eProcurement ready’. The research has demonstrated there is a need to bridge the knowledge gap between SME understanding and awareness of LA eProcurement developments on the one hand, and on the other, LA understanding of the typical eProcurement capabilities of their SME supplier base. To meet these needs, the EPROC project has developed separate eProcurement guides for SMEs and LAs.
Beynon-Davies, Paul; Parfett, Martin; Evans, Ceri; and Whittle, Stephen, "Preparing SME Suppliers for Sustainable Local Authority eProcurement" (2007). BLED 2007 Proceedings. 25.