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A pan-European electronic procurement system

Electronic procurement is essentially the purchase and payment of goods and services. It can benefit both procuring entities and suppliers by improving the way they do business by reducing transaction costs. An EC funded project resulted in the development of a European electronic public procurement system that set ups and presents procurement and business information regarding small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and provides a single standard across all European member states.

Digital Economy

Electronic procurement technology adds significant value to the procurement services. It enables the acceleration of the uptake of electronic purchasing and payments by the procuring entities in public and private sector. Especially for SMEs, it is an actual helping hand to them to get better access to procuring entities marketplaces. However, the existing systems present many inconsistencies particularly of standards across organisations and authorities among the different European countries that prevent both SMEs from participating in the provided electronic procurement procedures and authorities and agencies from making smarter decisions, getting better value and minimising costs. Motivated by this need this project resulted in the development of a complete system for the whole procurement activity, namely the Electronic Procurement system for Europe (ELPRO). The system developed covers the needs of all those involved in the procurement process chain, including the administrative authorities, public and private procuring entities. Most importantly, it addresses primary needs of suppliers and potential suppliers, particularly SMEs. With the ELPRO, the emphasis is placed on regional telecommunication networks making the best of them to enhance the business procurement process. In this way, it is anticipated that the new system will promote electronic procurement facilities to regional SME suppliers and will also improve understanding of electronic commerce. More specifically, ELPRO will allow SMEs to directly exploit the procurement opportunities, to promote partnerships, to assure the timely and cost-effective delivery of products and/or services and to drastically resolve supply issues. This software and service infrastructure incorporates compelling and value adding features, such as electronic data interchange (EDI) capabilities and fax on demand services that provide flexible, low cost, rapidly implemented procurement procedures increasing the overall value of the relationship between suppliers and purchasers, and adding efficiency to the supply chain.

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