Yakka Apparel Solutions, clothing supplier to the NZ Defence Force, made the concept of electronic procurement work through setting up “a complete standalone entity just to manage that function on a purely electronic basis”, says managing director Simon Harvey.
This avoided the turnround in culture and the huge change-management tasks usually implied by converting manual buying and supply into an electronic task.
In general, e-procurement is “a wonderful theory that few people are able to implement, because it’s so hard to change an organisation”, he says.
Essentially, e-procurement is a simple matter of exchanging information between two organisations’ file systems, he says.
“Getting to do it is much harder [from established manual beginnings], because there are people who get in the way of that process, people who don’t understand computers and the benefits of an electronic system.
“We have had an electronic interface with NZDF for more than two years,” he says, “and from our point of view it’s absolutely fantastic; it’s working very well.”
Among e-procurement’s chief benefits are “100% accuracy and low transaction costs, because you have eliminated all the manual and paper overhead”, he says.
Harvey is not sure of the future picture, once NZDF adopts SAP’s Enterprise Buyer Professional software. “We’ve only spoken about it to them superficially.”
Yakka has more recently developed a rather different e-procurement solution for the Fire Service. This is entirely web-based, “something that NZDF can’t do because of its security issues”.
Yakka won a Computerworld Excellence award last year for the most successful project implementation of the year.