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Gateway--serving higher education's purchasing requirements through eProcurement services.

Looking Back to the Future

It's not too difficult to recall those days when purchase orders were handwritten or typed on carbon copies, stored in loose-leaf binders and sent to vendors via mail. Sounds so old-fashioned, or is it? How many schools still depend on 20th-century purchasing processes?

Although purchase orders are now prepared electronically--with forms readily accessible from university servers--how much of the selection, bidding, approval and purchasing chain are still done by separate people on separate computers, exchanged via e-mail, printed and faxed to the vendor? Old work habits ate hard to let go--don't you agree?

Although higher education provides an array of IT services, from telephone to e-mail to wireless communications, staff often confront barriers to change practices. Few people utilize the suite of tools and services at their disposal. Take Administration and Finance (A&F), which certainly would like to realize time and cost efficiencies for all university processes. Yet, the time from selection to purchase to product arrival often seems like eons. Wouldn't administrators like to authorize their approvals and get the purchase orders out the door in a matter of seconds?

Isn't it time to select products, get bids and approvals, and purchase these fully online? Wouldn't it serve IT--often the largest purchaser of university products and services--to team with A&F and migrate to a totally electronic procurement process? Now that's more representative of 21st century workflow!

Offering Customers Best Practices

Gateway's philosophy is to operate in the business world under the concept of Humanology--to integrate technology know-how with human understanding, to respond to technical requirements with a range of products from digital cameras to notebooks, routers and servers. Gateway is a large enough company to offer competitive pricing, but small enough to listen carefully to each and every customer.

Customers want and often demand fast and individualized service, with purchase orders fulfilled as soon as they arrive. If backlogs occur, the repercussions cost plenty--for the buyer and the vendor. Additionally, tight fiscal times like these mean that schools must get the "best bang for their buck" through time and cost efficiencies.

Gateway recognizes these demands, and unravels problems by offering customers simple solutions in the selecting, bidding, approving and purchasing chain. Gateway models its business practices on customers' requirements and offers a fun spectrum of services in the supply chain management.

Gateway addresses each school's unique, complex buying needs and processes by providing reliable eProcurement services for today's eMarketplace.

eProcurement Solutions

Some customers say they have a unique way of managing their purchasing workflow. Gateway responds to its customers' practices by providing a variety of platforms that users can easily integrate into existing applications and thus "tread gently" into the eProcurement mode.

Gateway's eSource offers a flexible extranet that allows customers to manage all of their technology purchases through a single customized Web site.

Gateway works with customers to establish the system, product configurations and pricing by teaming with a university's procurement staff to set up its own eSource site. Gateway builds the extranet on the procurement applications and processes that staff are accustomed to using.

Gateway's eSource tailors the procurement process to meet each organization's needs. Gateway's eSource saves time, lowers operating costs and streamlines the purchasing chain--while also offering discounts on Gateway products.

Gateway builds and hosts a personalized online catalog of pre-approved Gateway products with a customized discounting structure. There's even a personal shopping cart that allows users to buy the items they want, or to save them as a quote for future reference.

Now consider the accounting functions. Gateway's eSource comprises account management features that establish a hierarchy for purchasing agents and lets them select from multiple billing and shipping methods. Users can easily retrieve quotes, access open orders, and confirm order status, tracking and history. All with a few clicks.

eMarketplace and Custom eProcurement Solutions

Gateway supports several existing technologies in the eProcurement arena--you're one click away from a comprehensive suite of business products and integration services that use the latest in supply-chain management technology.

If your company or institution is using an eMarketplace, Gateway can help. Gateway has more than three years experience integrating to major eMarketplace platforms (Ariba, Commerce One, Exostar, Epylon, Covisint) and has developed proprietary codes for messaging capabilities.

Gateway's team will build an 'adaptor' that integrates your proprietary Gateway catalog into your eMarketplace platform. Gateway has built dozens of adaptors that utilize the latest standards in messaging technology, including xML and cxML, and also has built custom adaptors to meet sophisticated customer requirements.

The Value Proposition

Gateway's eProcurement means cost and time savings, streamlined processes, greater customer satisfaction. It also offers the ability to manage technology budgets with real-time data analysis in a secure operating environment. Anyone within the organization can access price quotes, view and track orders, and generate reports.

Consider the research scientist who needs to buy five computers. She can view the eProcurement site, and using Gateway's customized catalog, locate the hardware and accessories, then forward the order to the appropriate official for approval.

It's one-stop shopping, with all suppliers in one place and orders fulfilled with a few clicks.

The Co-op Advantage

Many education groups are joining forces to use eProcurement applications. They've formed purchasing consortiums and co-ops and have aggregated common groups of suppliers. For vendors, this means a greater customer base with smoother, less expensive supply-chain management. The result is greater discounts for schools-- more purchasing power for your dollar.

Gateway offers your organization or co-op an electronic catalog, and allows groups to form their own purchasing processes. Gateway works with you to supply eProcurement through your own virtual marketplace, where each user experiences a seamless, integrated supply-chain environment.

One of Gateway's premier eProcurement customers is PEPPM--Pennsylvania's Cooperative Technology Bidding and Purchasing Program, which has a track record of over 20 years in realizing the benefits of co-op purchasing power. PEPPM began as the Pennsylvania Educational Purchasing Program for Microcomputers, a statewide bidding and joint purchasing program for computers, network telecommunications, software and other education-related hardware in 1982. In those days, it was a totally paper process with price lists duplicated and mailed to more than 1,300 schools.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education supported PEPPM under the leadership of John Bailey, who was then director of the department's Office of Educational Technology and now serves as director of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education. PEPPM went online in 1997 when it began requiring vendors to submit electronic price lists, which schools could download from the Web.

In just a short while, PEPPM moved into the eProcurement arena--and attracted other states to join the co-op--including Colorado, California, Illinois, Minnesota and Ohio. PEPPM notified all its vendors that the co-op was working with Epylon, and that for their next bids, vendors had to submit their data so that it conformed with the Epylon procurement system. Gateway, true to its innovative business approach, took a further step.

According to Jim Randecker, PEPPM's director, Gateway had a sophisticated Web site where their products could be viewed and assembled in a shopping cart fashion. "Gateway stepped to the front and developed a link between their online environment with that of Epylon," Randecker said. "A PEPPM member could 'jump' to the Gateway environment, look at products, configure systems, put them into the shopping cart at the Gateway site, and when ready to check out, pass those products back to the Epylon system."

This means that the customer can take advantage of the requisitioning and purchase order development capabilities from the Epylon system while realizing all of the discounts available through PEPPM's co-op structure.

And of course, the experience gives customers access to Gateway's complete catalog of products and services, with greater case and satisfaction.

PEPPM's combined purchasing power ranges from $50 million to $150 million annually. Randecker said this is possible because "Gateway and PEPPM are committed partners to the goal of making eProcurement viable for schools, and have proven this by our ongoing efforts."

The Gateway Advantage

Because Gateway offers higher education--and all its customers--a flexible and customized approach, schools are coming on board with high adoption rates.

Gateway is ready to help you with an expert team who can transition your organization into the eMarketplace arena with appropriate solutions that offer real value to everyone involved in the supply management chain.

>> eProcurement--The Business Drivers

GATEWAY BRINGS VALUE WITH ePROCUREMENT SERVICES

* Streamlines the Purchasing Process

--Uniform technology platform across multiple groups, divisions, users

--Immediate pricing and quoting availability

--Information available to all approved users

* Lowers Purchasing Costs

--Standardize the procurement approval process

--Reduction of paper-based systems

--Spend analysis based on historical information

* Eliminates Maverick Spending

--Direct catalog integration to Gateway

--Hierarchy of access levels

--Online availability of order status/order history

--Preset discount structure in play

>> eSource Solution

GATEWAY'S ONLINE PROCUREMFNT EXTRANET

* Personalized Online Ordering

--Configurations and pricing customized for your organization

* Transaction Cost Reduction

--Immediate pricing and quoting

--Set configurations and options

--Reduced paper-based systems

* Cycle Time Reduction

--Information available to all users

--Electronic purchase orders

* Information Control Improvement

--Order status and order history

--Centralized control and review of purchasing
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Publication:District Administration
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2003
Words:1514
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