Author: Pete Loughlin

The "power of free" recruits another player as Transcepta, the P2P network, announces the elimination of supplier charges. They announced their move last week and explained that they will now offer the Transcepta Network free of charge to suppliers regardless of size, volume, or type of transaction. This approach, they claim, contrasts with other networks who, in their words, "continue to place hurdles to adoption in front of suppliers, requiring suppliers to pay fees, use time consuming manual portals, and participate in data mapping projects that require IT resources". It's important to note that Transcepta are not increasing costs to buying organizations.

Let's get something straight at the outset. I'm not about to suggest that users of e-invoicing networks will want to use them to play Farmville. But what I can see is that the transactional platforms will become free to use as service providers offer other value added services and I want to explain why.

In the first post in this series, we put forward the view that e-procurement has never lived up to its promise.  The promise of buying everything from an on-line catalogue. A system that would enforce compliance to contract, eliminate maverick spend, reduce the cost of purchasing and provide rich spend data that could be leveraged to make even better sourcing decisions. And that’s what we’ve got right? Wrong! I would say that in most large organizations it is as time consuming, as costly and as painful to buy something as it was 15 years ago. The problem is that the job – the job of implementing automated web enabled procurement systems – was never finished. The whole point was that buying for business was supposed to be as easy as buying off Amazon. But the objectives were forgotten and the vendors took their eye off the ball.

It was a great day for Ireland and a great day for Celtrino, the Irish supply chain document automation people. Yesterday was e-day, the day that the launch was announced of Ireland's the first Government and public sector e-Invoicing project. It's a pilot and the objective is to establish a proven, interoperable network of trusted service providers capable to accepting, routing and delivering e-Invoices.

Many will know of, if not know personally, Charles Dominick of Next Level Purchasing fame. The Procurement Game Plan is a new book that Charles has co-written together with Soheila Lunney and he kindly sent me a copy this week to review. Now I can count on the fingers of both ears the number of times I've reviewed a book on procurement so I was delighted to delve into it and see what I could come out with.