How Do Education eProcurement Systems Work?

Schools and universities typically spend as much as 25% to 35% of their operating budgets on goods and services. Whether you’re overseeing a large procurement team or handling purchasing locally, the need for an efficient system to navigate procurement and secure the best deals is paramount.

An eProcurement system is a digital platform designed to help you expedite and streamline the procurement process.

Benefits of Education eProcurement Systems

Implementing an eProcurement system provides significant benefits for educational institutions. By creating a more efficient and centralized purchasing process, users can accelerate the procurement process, expand supplier options, and make more informed decisions.

Cost Savings

The right eProcurement system will offer a diverse and broad base of suppliers, driving competition for better pricing and enabling bidding. Additional cost savings come from reducing paperwork, automating manual processes, and improving cost control.

Shorter Procurement Cycles

By centralizing transactions and leveraging existing contracts, you can reduce procurement cycles and delivery timeframes. You can quickly find and see products, services, and pricing from preferred providers — ensuring they comply with purchasing guidelines.

Within an eProcurement system, you can seamlessly manage the entire procurement cycle, from requisition, selection, approvals, orders, and contract management.

Centralized Purchasing

eProcurement can rein in departmental spending by centralizing purchasing in an eProcurement system. You can let your procurement team handle all spending or give approval to authorized individuals throughout the school system. With all the information in one place, you also gain greater transparency, accountability, and inventory control.

Spend Insights

Built-in reporting makes it easy to track spending and pricing trends for better decision-making on sourcing and budgets.

How eProcurement Works

An eProcurement system automates the traditional purchasing process, creating a significantly more efficient workflow. Once a need is identified, institutions can handle the procurement process entirely through the system. Here is how the process typically works.

1. Vendor Registration
The procurement department develops an online portal for managing the procurement process electronically and invites vendors to register. Vendors provide details about their company, products, services, and fulfillment capabilities. Registering on the portal enables vendors to participate in bidding or enable direct purchases.

2. Request for Quotation

When schools or universities need products or services, they can post details using a Request for Quote (RFQ). Quotes can be published for all registered vendors to see or directed to a select group or single seller.

3. Quote Review and Selection

Vendors submit their quotes through the portal for review by the procurement team. Vendors can also submit additional documentation, such as spec sheets or additional options. Once the deadline for submitted quotes has passed, the quotes are evaluated. Depending on the quotes, there may be additional negotiations. After review, a winning bidder is selected.

4. Purchase Orders

Within the eProcurement system, a formal purchase order (PO) is created and digitally signed. Vendors receive an alert when POs are issued.

5. Payment

Once products or services are delivered, vendors submit their invoices on the portal. Buyers verify and approve invoices and make digital payments through the portal.

6. Audit Trail

The portal tracks the entire procurement lifecycle, enabling efficient management and record-keeping with a complete audit trail.

An eProcurement system allows for transactions to be handled digitally, reducing paperwork and accelerating the purchase process.

Online Marketplace

E&I offers a no-cost online marketplace for schools and universities to streamline the procurement process. Leveraging the buying power of multiple institutions, a cooperative such as E&I can use economies of scale to create significant savings with ready-to-use contracts. Members can use E&I’s portfolio of competitively sourced, ready-to-use contracts in a secure purchasing environment. You can pick and choose what contracts you want to use, comparing price options for suppliers in the marketplace against other vendors to make sure you are always getting the best price.

E&I specializes in eProcurement services for schools and universities, leveraging the bulk-buying power of its members to deliver lower costs and improve spend management. E&I is a true member-owned cooperative. Its members are a network of education procurement experts who receive a share of the Cooperative’s profits in the form of patronage at the end of the year.

Become a member today and see how E&I Cooperative Services can improve your eProcurement system performance.


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