Police sign up for e-buying

Auckland company Tranzsoft’s effort to regain police procurement business out of the GoProcure collapse has borne fruit in the form of a three-year contract to provide the department’s buying hub.

Auckland company Tranzsoft’s effort to regain police procurement business out of the GoProcure collapse has borne fruit in the form of a three-year contract to provide the department’s buying hub.

Communications with suppliers of everything from vehicles and computers to stationery will pass through that single hub, meaning police don’t have to punch several holes in their firewall and maintain mappings to different computer equipment.

At the back end, the transactions will feed into an SAP-based ordering system which predates GoProcure, the unsuccessful attempt to provide a single hub for all government procurement.

Police are shortly to issue an RFP tender to upgrade this system, as it is based on SAP’s release 4.0b, which will shortly no longer be supported.

Tranzsoft was providing the police interface with some suppliers, such as stationery source Corporate Express, before GoProcure came on to the scene, says general manager Rod Hall.

When GoProcure was terminated at the end of last year, Hall expressed confidence in regaining the police business.

Police procurement manager Stan Pope says the decision was logical. “They [Tranzsoft] had credibility and experience with us. Initially our plan had been to go point-to-point,” interfacing individually with each supplier. The inclusion of a third-party was seen as having some risk, but the major police suppliers had already put virtual private networks in place, so if Tranzsoft ever exited the market it would be relatively simple to set up direct connections.

Police “looked at us again because we were carrying traffic for them before”, Tranzsoft’s Hall says. A crucial difference between Tranzsoft’s and GoProcure’s model of centralisation is that the latter tended to force the supplier’s information to accord to its standards, he says. This is the wrong approach, he says. Part of the function of a procurement hub is to translate between the formats favoured by supplier and customer, he says. “Otherwise you’re just a messenger.”

Tranzsoft also serves the NZ Defence Force and runs the Health Exchange network for supply of equipment and consumables to the health sector. This service is now in full use with four district health boards while another three are in the process of implementation. On the supplier side, the Medical Industry Association has mandated its use by their members.

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