What Is E Sourcing & How Can I Get Started?

05/24/22

CobbleStone Software explains what is e sourcing and how to get started with better sourcing processes.

What is e sourcing?  Why is it important?  What can I do to get started with a suitable eSourcing process?  Read on to define "eSourcing," discover the troubles of manual sourcing processes, and learn how to optimize your eSourcing process in the age of digital transformation with a centralized and user-friendly integrated eSourcing software and contract management software platform.

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What Is E Sourcing?

E sourcing is the process of using web-based electronic sourcing software to analyze, select, and manage vendors and suppliers who can provide products, services, and solutions that organizations need to improve business operations.  E-sourcing allows organizations to centralize the bid process, vendor analysis, vendor awards, contract management, and more with integrated eSourcing tools and contract lifecycle management tools.

 

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The Problem With Manual Sourcing Processes

Managing the sourcing process with manual bids, a lack of oversight of vendors and prospects, and disjointed contracting processes can be complicated.  Costly payments per solicitation, emailed collection of bid responses, spreadsheet-based data entry, and a lone ERP system for potential vendors can result in limited outreach, difficulty managing potential vendors and determining the best one, and contract lifecycle inefficiencies.  Organizations leveraging such outdated sourcing methods may likely find that they are not attaining the best price for posted bids because they are not getting enough vendors to submit bids.  They can be matched with less than desirable vendors and suffer a divorced source-to-contract process.

Get Started With An E Sourcing Platform

Organizations can get started with a refreshing, user-friendly, and unified eSourcing process with an integrated E sourcing platform and contract lifecycle management software system.  Here's how!

Digitize RFP & RFx Management

Instead of wasting valuable time communicating with disparate prospective vendors and suppliers via email, organizations can enjoy highly configurable, intelligent workflow automation for RFx management with optimal visibility.  A leading eSourcing software platform can offer essential sourcing features, including:

  • RFx Templates
  • Clause Libraries
  • Bid Advertisement
  • Web-Based Vendor Q&A
  • Online Bid Submissions
  • Bid Evaluation Tools
  • Line Item Bids
  • Ratings & Scorecards for Vendor Responses
  • Seamless Vendor Awards
  • Document Version Control Configuration
  • Integrated Electronic Signatures for Centralized Source-to-Contract Management
  • Advanced Searching & Reporting
  • Notifications & Alerts

These are just some of the advanced RFP and RFx management tools that advanced eSourcing software solutions can offer.

Create Bid Documents & Advertise Bids Online

Instead of manually drafting bid documents and advertising them on a different platform, organizations can cut out wasted time and disorganization with a centralized electronic bid management system that can keep bid documents and advertisements in a unified location for an accurate, timely, and detailed process.

Organizations can manage various document templates and versions and merge pre-approved data fields and clauses.  Furthermore, electronic bid management within eSource software can support the easy exportation of documents to different standard file formats.

After document generation, organizations can promote bids publicly or by invite-only.  Web-enabled bid authoring and advertising can uncomplicate the bidding process.  Additionally, organizations can pre-release bid opportunities before their set opening date to foster greater bid exposure and vendor participation.

Host Online Vendor Q&A

Instead of supporting Q&A with emails, phone calls, and other manual correspondences, organizations can leverage a centralized eSourcing software solution with online vendor Q&A.  Potential vendors can ask questions via a user-friendly portal to streamline and simplify the correspondence between vendors and buying organizations.

Sending emailed reminders regarding due dates to respondents can be a thing of the past, thanks to the ability to establish a timeline for Q&A within the bid process.  According to an organization's desired deadline for Q&A correspondence, source-to-contract management software can restrict Q&A submissions.  Therefore, the sourcing process flows according to a buying organization's needs.

Centrally Manage Line Item Bids Electronically

Instead of awarding vendors different aspects of a bid in a decentralized manner, organizations can leverage line-item response functionality within an eSource software platform to enlist specific electronic bids for individual items.

Organizations can identify specific bid items, and their respondents can enter expected unit prices for those items - supporting the easy comparison of responses.  This line-item functionality can expedite bid processes that necessitate awards to multiple vendors for different aspects of a single bid.

Analyze, Compare, & Report On Bids Online

Instead of wasting valuable time searching for bid item variables and comparing them manually, organizations can leverage robust bid reports to compare scoring, pricing line items, and Q&A for rapid bid overviews.  Integrated OFAC search functionality can help with risk mitigation by enabling organizations to assess prospective vendors' compliance with the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control's national sanctions lists.

Furthermore, bid tabulation reports within a leading eSourcing platform can offer a data-driven way to compare bid responses.

Tackle Vendor Awards Online

Instead of wasting time manually awarding vendors one by one, organizations can leverage eSource technology software for seamless vendor selection and direct email to vendors from an eSource record page.  Sourcing professionals can either send a templated bid award or a message thanking participants while expressing that a different vendor has been chosen.  Once a vendor is awarded, a standard contract process can commence!

Seamlessly Create Contracts From E Sourcing Records

Instead of suffering from a divorced sourcing and contract management process, organizations can leverage contract artificial intelligence to automate contract drafting or leverage an existing contract straight from an eSourcing record page.  Once a new contract record is created from an eSourcing record, the stages of the contract lifecycle can commence between buying organizations and their vendors - all within one platform!  Buying organizations can utilize electronic signatures and pre-approved contract templates to streamline contract collaboration and signing.  Track changes and comprehensive audit trails can detail contract changes and promote accountability.

 

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After a contract is signed, advanced integrated eSourcing and CLM software can help retain accountability in post-award contract obligations and compliance through renewals.  For example, should a DBE certification expire before an established contract renewal date, an alert can be sent to necessary stakeholders for the timely renewal of the DBE cert for continued compliance.  During contract renewal, notifications can be configured to foster prompt evaluation and revisiting of a contract for even stronger opportunity realization.

 

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What Are You Waiting For?  Get Started With E-Sourcing Software!

Now you know what eSourcing is and how to get started with a centralized and user-friendly eSourcing software platform.  Your next move is to leverage an integrated eSourcing platform and contract management software system that organizations love.  That solution is CobbleStone Contract Insight®.

Vendor managers, buyer specialists, procurement managers, supply chain managers, and other sourcing professionals from various industries love CobbleStone Software's integrated sourcing and CLM software; just refer to the many client success stories!  CobbleStone® offers the in-demand features detailed above and more - such as:

  • one platform for eSourcing, vendor management, and contract lifecycle management.
  • easy solicitation, bid, and vendor management.
  • vendor insurance certification tracking.
  • diversity tracking.
  • integrated eSignatures.
  • user-friendly rating and scoring of bid responses to award the optimal vendor.
  • and more!

Manually managing vids, vendors, and contracts can be tricky - but it doesn't have to be.  CobbleStone can be your one-stop solution for seamless source-to-contract management!  Book a free demo of CobbleStone Contract Insight today!

CobbleStone Software offers a complimentary demo.

To stay up to date on best practices, industry news, and CobbleStone Software updates, be sure to subscribe to our blog and YouTube Channel.

*Legal Disclaimer: This article is not legal advice.  The content of this article is for general informational and educational purposes only.  The information on this website may not present the most up-to-date legal information.  Readers should contact their attorney for legal advice regarding any particular legal matter.

Sean Heck

Written by Sean Heck

Sean Heck is Content Marketing Manager at CobbleStone Software

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