Many organisations are using e-Procurement toolsets to identify suppliers, attract bids and evaluate offers. But that’s just scratching the surface of what the technology can do.

Lately, we’ve seen some great examples of clients using ours to enhance supplier relationships.

For example, a regional Queensland council wanted to ensure reliability of outsourced services, making sure that all locations could be serviced and that contingencies existed for out-of-hours support, etc.

Sure, they could have contacted the suppliers one by one and quizzed them. But the procurement team realised that our technology, which they regularly use to solicit offers and evaluate bids, was a more efficient and effective option.

So, they published a select/private notice to existing vendors using the TenderLink evaluation tool. First, they worked out what they needed to know and built an online response to capture this information. Then, with a single keystroke, the form was sent to the council’s supplier base – around 3,900 individual suppliers.

And how did it work out? More than a fifth of the recipients viewed the request online, 642 downloaded the documentation and 260 submitted a formal response. 

The council was delighted. They got the information they needed from a significant and clearly engaged proportion of their key suppliers. And they also learned something valuable about the vendors who didn’t respond…

And what did this mean for the suppliers who did choose to respond? Overall, they liked being kept in the loop. Many benefited from gaining insight into potential changes in the council’s requirements. And what about those still waiting to land council business? The contact was seen as a sign of active buyer intent and re-engaged them, thanks to the possibility of opportunities on the horizon.

And the no-shows? Clearly, the council can’t count on reliable services from them!

The bottom line: In many fields, technology is specifically designed to replace relationships. Well, that’s not the case with ours. In the right hands and with the correct approach, flexible procurement technology can - and does - enhance the vendor-client relationship.