Magazine Article | March 1, 2001

E-Procurement: An Online World Of Options

Source: Field Technologies Magazine

Every company has purchasing agents who are responsible for holding the line on budgets. Now, an online e-procurement solution makes their jobs easier and may free up some additional resources for your company.

Integrated Solutions, March 2001

Purchasing agents are almost all painted with the same broad brush. These are the people who quibble over nickels and dimes. Purchase requests deemed necessary by employees still have to pass these agents' muster, and the agents are not exactly yes-men. They did not invent the phrase, "You'd better sharpen your pencil." In today's business world, however, they have certainly co-opted it. Today, most purchasing agents leverage the Web to gain access to a greater number of suppliers and to locate the best price points on the market.

In this sense, The Western And Southern Life Insurance Company is no different from most organizations. Founded in 1888, the company has spent more than a century providing services to its policyholders. While the company was founded in the nineteenth century, its procurement processes are geared toward the twenty-first century. Recently, The Western And Southern Life Insurance Company chose OneSource from ProcureNet, Inc. (Great River, NY) to manage its procurement processes more efficiently and cut overall purchasing costs. OneSource will be used by both the Cincinnati-based insurer and members of its family of diversified financial services companies.

E-Procurement Cuts Costs
In choosing OneSource, The Western And Southern Life Insurance Company selected a complete e-procurement solution that enables clients to procure goods using a three-tiered architecture. OneSource customers are able to search through ProcureNet's electronic catalogs using keyword, advanced text-based, and product attribute-driven searches. The current electronic catalog selections list more than 750,000 items that span more than 20 product categories. For example, the product categories range in scope from automotive parts to janitorial supplies to office products. "After a thorough search, we decided ProcureNet was the best company with the comprehensive technology we need. It will enable e-procurement and help us manage all of our procurement processes more efficiently," states Herbert R. Brown, vice president, The Western And Southern Life Insurance Company. "ProcureNet's technology will allow us to create a state-of-the-art purchasing system, which is essential in facilitating our inventory management initiative."

The Western And Southern Life Insurance Company chose OneSource to update its entire purchasing system and reduce administrative and purchasing costs. Using this Web-based technology will allow the company to reach its goals of enhancing workflow and purchasing processes, providing tools to effectively manage supplier relationships, and expanding e-commerce technology and reporting capabilities.

The Western And Southern Life Insurance Company joins more than 125 other public and private organizations that work with ProcureNet for purchasing solutions. ProcureNet's flagship product suite, OneSource, integrates Web-based procurement applications, global buying portals, and value-added purchasing services.

While technology has certainly changed business, it has not changed some of the fundamental business processes such as purchasing. Companies still must buy goods and services from suppliers. And, purchasing agents will always strive to find the best possible prices from superior suppliers. But, the tools of the trade have changed. Suppliers' sharpened pencils have been replaced by the quick mouse clicks of purchasing agents.

Questions about this article? E-mail the author at