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Monday, 15th April 2024
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Ireland on track for b2b e-procurement Back  
Ireland is ahead of Europe in terms of its attitudes to business-to-business procurement over the internet according to Bob Semple of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Semple is PWC’s partner responsible for e-business risk management and co-ordinated a European survey on trust issues in business-to-business e-procurement.

Although Ireland was not among the countries surveyed, Semple told Finance that in his experience of working with Irish companies were on par with their European counterparts in terms of embracing the technology to purchase over the internet. ‘The messages that are coming through from this report are very consistent with our experience of e-procurement in Ireland.’He said that Ireland had been among the first to adopt leglisation for electronic signatures through the E-Commerce Act 2000.

The PWC report, which surveyed the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands, shows that concerns over security and the trustworthiness of trading partners are the biggest obstacles to the expected growth in business-to-business e-procurement over the internet.

Finance was one of the four sectors addressed in the survey and attitudes across Europe show that only 8 per cent of the sector are using internet procurement, while 14 per cent are using EDI (electronic data interchange), and 78 per cent are still using paper.

And security was a particular issue for finance sector companies, along with companies whose turnover was ?100 million-plus and also with German companies.

Of those who are using e-procurement the report found that two thirds of the companies had dealt with the same suppliers prior to forming an electronic relationship underlining the importance of trust even in these new electronic relationships.

‘E-procurement remains fundamentally influenced by physical, rather than virtual, relationships. Cost-savings alone will not influence companies to switch their suppliers online. But there is no room for complacency - while existing company/supplier relations are secure for the time being one fifth of companies will switch to save money. And that proportion is bound to grow as the e-procurement market develops in size and sophistication.’

Although still in its infancy (only 5 per cent of companies’ spending is currently with on-line suppliers), the e-procurement market has massive potential and is set to double by the end of 2001. By then the report says that 62 per cent of all companies expect to be conducting as much as 30 per cent of their spending with suppliers electronically.

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