Businesses Moving Toward Electronic Purchasing

More than half of the respondents to a survey conducted on behalf of Visa USA are using Internet-based software for procurement, a 50 percent increase from last year.

The survey was conducted at the National Association of Purchasing Management conference. The respondents were primarily purchasing managers and CFOs.

The survey also found that business-to-business electronic purchasing systems are growing more sophisticated. According to Visa, the worldwide commercial e-commerce market is expected to grow to approximately $1.1 trillion by 2003, with the US accounting for 58 percent of the market.

“Companies have made tremendous strides in electronic purchasing in the past year,” said Visa’s Mike Burns. “There is increased recognition in the marketplace that electronic purchasing doesn’t mean simply browsing suppliers’ Web sites for competitive prices.”

More than half (59 percent) of the survey respondents have had a major supplier ask them to consider establishing an electronic purchasing arrangement.

“Merchants competing in the online environment see a great opportunity to reduce their accounts receivable and collection expenses, while also providing value-added services to corporate clients,” said Cory Gaines, VP for Emerging Markets at Visa USA.

Those companies that are not currently engaging in electronic purchasing are not necessarily put off by the steep up-front costs associated with such a system, as only 14 percent cite this factor as a barrier. Forty-five percent cite lack of senior management support as the reason they are not making purchases electronically.

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