An electronic catalogue with a clear purpose: to automate the purchasing process for all goods and services that are neither raw materials or components of the finished products sold by the company (they are normally managed by the ERP). These are the services and the indirect materials used in the production process or for plant maintenance, as well as stationery, personal protection devices, R&D lab materials and many others besides. Such items are more complex than raw materials: they are a lot more numerous (even 10 times more), and include items that differ widely in nature and technical specifications. They are also more complex for Purchasing to manage: thousands of suppliers, tiny orders, unpredictable internal demand.
In other words, most of the costs of managing the purchasing cycle is focused on the MROs. This is why it is strategic for a company to automate their procurement.
Semantics plays a strategic role in achieving this objective.
3SP (Semantic Self Service Procurement Catalogue) uses semantics to offer powerful and targeted services :
For internal customers, an easy way to find items using their own natural language, without having to know exactly how those items are described or classified in the catalogue.
For Purchasing Department: independent management of the catalogue content, the suppliers and its internal customers. 3SP automatically loads a new item list and checks coherence between the orders and the terms of sale. It also has its own workflow for approvals against a range of criteria. 3SP also manages the order cycle for new goods and services which are not yet in the catalogue, thus keeping track of all purchases.
For suppliers, the ability to update their offering, check and execute orders received, or communicate variations that require acceptance by the internal client. This technology reduces discrepancies between orders and sales to a minimum, making it easier to manage invoice payments.