Lewisham gets its suppliers onboard

Sep 25, 2006
The London Borough of Lewisham is making good progress in the recruitment of suppliers to its e-procurement programme. Over 1200 of its suppliers have completed the first stage of the process in the last 3 weeks by registering their details on the @UK website, a fifth of their whole target supplier base. Each of these businesses will now be contacted by one of @UK’s 20-strong supplier advisory team to identify the most appropriate solution for them. This solution will differ according to the nature of goods and services offered, whether the firm has a website already and if this site is able to receive orders and send e-invoices etc, although all options can be accommodated. The system will be fully integrated into Oracle iProcurement for the transmission of electronic purchase orders and electronic invoices.

Joy Segun E-Procurement Manager of LB Lewisham said “Our attitude to this process was straightforward from the start. We want the maximum available choice of firms able to trade with us in a way that will cut our costs. We are also giving every supplier the chance to, for example receive our Requests for Price for their services. This fits in with the latest guidance from the EU stressing equal opportunities for suppliers. At the same time, there are important local economic benefits as businesses linked to the @UK network are then able to trade with many other councils, schools etc, plus other firms and even individual consumers".

LB Lewisham has used the standard @UK supplier recruitment process, sending out their own tailored letter to each of their suppliers. Included in each letter is an individual reference code giving each firm access to their unique record within the @UK national supplier database. @UK Commercial Director Chris Hoar said “Lewisham has used all the strategies which we know are essential to a successful operation. Their letter to their suppliers made it clear what the mutual benefits of e-procurement were, and why suppliers were warmly invited to participate. They have been happy to explain to suppliers who called them what the rationale was for this change, and exactly how both parties will benefit. We are finding the whole process of supplier recruitment getting easier as the number of buying authorities taking part increases. Of course some businesses are getting letters now from several of their local authority/hospital clients. They are therefore beginning to understand that this is a real process that the public sector is committed to. Nevertheless this is an excellent achievement for Lewisham, and it sets the bar for others to aim at".

For more details of the @UK supplier recruitment process, authorities should contact chris.hoar@ukplc.net