One key place that technology can really make a difference is in the procurement process. Whether a commercial business or government agency, each must balance the challenges of maintaining efficiency while lowering cost and meeting the requirements of transparency throughout the procurement process.

Fortunately, e-procurement tools are meeting those challenges, and it’s getting better all the time. Electronic purchasing is eliminating handwritten requisition forms and long waits for supplies and services. It’s more efficient, provides a better grip on the procurement process, and altogether easier than paper-based methods.

One example of how eProcurement benefits customers is in government. Citizens look to government institutions to work on their behalf and provide oversight on matters that significantly impact their quality of life. Government fulfills this role most effectively when its activities are open and transparent to citizens. With visibility into government actions and spending, people are more likely to participate in the political process and hold government officials accountable for their actions. When citizens engage in the issues that affect them, they can help to ensure that power and public funds are used wisely and are representative of their interests. (Read more about the “e-participation.”)

We’re happy to be adding tremendous e-procurement capabilities to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012—features that help in the bidding process.

Easy, flexible solicitation management (RFx process)

With the planned Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3, solicitation management becomes more flexible even while organizational policies and transparency is enforced. You will be able to:

  • Specify unique solicitation types.
  • Drive solicitation methods and scoring criteria.
  • Track and communicate changes to the RFQ through the form of amendment.
  • Use sealed bid methodology on RFQs. Hide quantities and prices until expiry date of the RFQ.
  • Provide questionnaires to qualify vendors or contractors to bid on an RFQ. This ensures that you will only receive bids from qualified vendors.

Vendor self service enhancements

With this release, we’re especially happy to provide vendors with an enhanced self-service portal experience. Vendors will be able to:

  • Enjoy a more intuitive vendor portal experience. It’s easy to find what you’re looking for and respond appropriately.
  • View all published open and closed solicitations, even as a guest. Become aware of opportunities that a vendor or contractor might not have realized are available—and plan for future opportunities.
  • Propose substitute items or services on a bid. This gives the vendor or contractor the opportunity to provide an alternative when responding.
  • View any changes to the solicitation through amendments.
  • Answer questionnaires to qualify to bid on an RFQ.
  • Bid on RFQs—even if not specifically invited to bid.
  • Can see the history of the organization’s requests. This can give contractors and vendors insight into the process to help determine how to successfully bid in the future.
  • Respond to requests, including adding attachments and responding to questionnaires

Vendor self service portal

Figure 1. Vendor self-service portal view of open requests (screenshot Community Technical Preview)

Getting the best bid

This new release really helps you get the best bid whenever you are purchasing for your organization while ensuring appropriate transparency. You will be able to:

  • Score, evaluate, and rank all bids based on user-defined evaluation criteria.
  • Use Excel to compare and evaluate bids.
  • Award RFQs at the header and line level.
  • Send notifications to contractors to communicate any specific points on the RFQ.

Bid comparison

Figure 2. Bid comparison (screenshot Community Technical Preview)

Learn more

Interested in seeing how eProcurement works? Join us at Convergence 2014 on March 4-7, 2014 in Atlanta, GA. Click here for more info.

/Todd Bergeson

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 is a pre-release product under development.  All features and dates are preliminary based on current expectations and are subject to change without notice.  The information herein is for informational purpose only and represents Microsoft’s current view as of the date of this blog. Because Microsoft must respond to changing market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Microsoft.