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The Emerging Importance to Purchasing of Internet Commerce

By Michael Asner, Contributing Editor
Email: Asner@compuserve.com

The internet provides universally accessible capabilities formerly beyond the reach of all but the largest organizations.

First, it permits purchasing people in all types and sizes of organizations to see what their peers and benchmark firms are doing. They can obtain research material for pennies; material that would cost them thousands to identify or develop without the internet. They can learn about the experience of other organizations without research staff or money. For example, a small county in Arkansas might access Web pages dealing with procurement reform in any number of cities, counties and states. They can read about the problems that California had with supplier protests; you can search the State of Tennessee's Guidelines, Rules, and Code for any procurement issue; or review Broward County's (FL) Procurement Code.

Second, it fosters competition at a lower cost to both purchasers and vendors. Many organizations now post their bids on the Web. Suppliers routinely scan these pages and select appropriate opportunities. In Canada, great economies are being affected using the Web. The federal government will soon post all of its bidding opportunities on the Web. Bids will also be posted from many of the provinces, larger cities and municipalities. This will provide suppliers with a single, centralized source of upcoming public sector procurements.

Michael Asner is a contributing editor to the Journal of Internet Purchasing. An author, consultant and acknowledged expert on RFPs, Michael has worked with private and public sector organizations to improve their RFP processes. His RFP books are used in organizations throughout North America. His latest book, The Request For Proposal Handbook, is published by Government Technology in Sacramento.