Sourcing helps agencies' accountability

Frictionless Commerce Inc. has introduced its Sourcing software with an emphasis on "auditability" for the public sector.

Frictionless unveiled the new tool Monday and also announced that the Army and the Air Force - as well as other users in the private sector — have signed on to use it.

The product enables agencies to automate their entire strategic sourcing process, from expenditure analysis through vendor management, right on the desktop. Strategic sourcing is a process that organizations use to more effectively buy materials and services from suppliers.

Frictionless Sourcing software features:

Continuous, intelligent sourcing across all expenditure categories, eliminating outsourcing or transaction fees. A customized sourcing workbench where contract managers can access all relevant buying data and sourcing functions. Electronic requests for proposals and requests for quotations that are collaborative and automated. A portfolio of online auction formats integrated into the sourcing process. Project tracking for audits and future negotiations. Centralized vendor management that incorporates a contract database and supplier performance data. "One of the key things that appealed to the government that's different from the private sector is the emphasis on "auditability,'" said Eric Levin, vice president of marketing for Frictionless. "This product provides an objective methodology for determining who wins the bids. Agencies have to do it anyway, and now it's saved for posterity with the actual responses showing the decision-making process — how and why a certain vendor won a bid."

Research shows that savings generated through strategic sourcing — a market that could reach $3 billion by 2004 — directly impact the bottom line, Levin said. Saving $1 in sourcing has the same bottom-line impact as anywhere from a $5 to $25 increase in sales revenue.

Frictionless Sourcing was developed with government and commercial end-users in mind and includes customizable templates for specific categories.

The new software costs from the "low six figures to high six figures, depending on how much functionality the agency needs," Levin said. It begins shipping in April and soon will be available on the General Services Administration schedule.

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