The Best 8 Free and Open Source Procurement Software
All businesses need resources to run their operations and achieve their strategic vision. Procurement is the business activity that identifies and sources those external resources via a systematic and competitive process. In simple words, procurement is a process of acquiring goods and services for your business in an optimal way. Procurement is not a recently developed concept. The word procurement itself comes from the Latin pro+curare. Pro means ‘on behalf of’ and curare means to 'take care of.' It had roots in the ancient period when development activities started in the world. The earliest instances of procurement can be found in the Egyptian history, dating back to 3000 B.C.
In modern times, the role of procurement is seeing a transformation from a clerical level to a strategic and management one. Today, procurement covers all the systematic phases by which companies procure goods and services for their business needs. With billions of dollars spent on infrastructure projects undertaken by the governments and the corporate giants around the world, procurement has undeniably become a very important business function. As the procurement process is a complicated one, the modern approach is to take advantage of the software tools available in the market to simplify it. Businesses can use procurement software to enhance the speed of the procurement process and transform this complex and chaotic process into a simplified and organized one. The procurement software ensures that the purchase of goods and services are of the right quality, quantity, price, place, and time.
What is Procurement?
In the 18th century, the industrial revolution led to the rise of a particular labor section known as the ‘material men’ who had skills to procure material from the suppliers. Further, the role and the status of people involved in procurement got elevated during the World War periods, as there was a constant need to procure military equipment, and people with skills to negotiate the procurement process globally were sought after by the government authorities.
The UNGM (United Nations Global Marketplace) defines procurement as “The acquisition through purchase or lease of real property, goods or other products (including intellectual property), works or services." It generally involves purchasing through a competitive bidding process. There are two types of procurement- Direct procurement and Indirect procurement. Direct procurement involves buying the raw material needed for operational purposes. It is generally bought in bulk quantities. Indirect Procurement involves buying repair parts, operating supplies, services, etc. for tactical and strategic purposes. It is generally bought in low quantities.
What is the procurement life cycle?
The procurement cycle is a series of phases that are involved in purchasing goods and services for the business. The cycle starts with the identification of resources needed for all business units and ends with monitoring the performances of the supplied goods and services. In all phases, complete records are maintained of the contracts, bidding process, invoices and supplier credentials to ensure transparency and smooth execution of the procurement process. The below chart denotes the steps involved in the procurement life-cycle:
What is Procurement Software?
Procurement software is an application suite that enables businesses to ease, optimize, automate, and manage their procurement cycle and purchasing functions. The main function of this software is to expedite the procurement process and ensure the regular supply of goods and services at the lowest prices. By creating a centralized system for purchase, requisition, auction and bidding, contract management, spend and budget management, supplier management, and invoicing, the procurement software ensures that the procurement department can see everything from a single dashboard. It eases the whole procurement process and creates a long term value for the business.
What are the benefits of using Procurement Software?
- Reduced Administrative costs
Procurement software will reduce the need for paperwork and also lead to savings on physical storage costs.
- Increased speed of Procurement
Procurement software can automate a lot of manual work. It increases the speed of transactions and shortens the business cycle.
- Increased Productivity
With automation, businesses achieve speed. It reduces redundant work and increases efficiency. The productivity of people involved in the procurement processes increases significantly.
- Streamlined process
Procurement software standardizes the process by introducing approval forms, authorizations, and integration of databases. Adherence to all steps becomes mandatory, and therefore, any process can't be skipped without authorization. This makes the whole procurement activity standardized and streamlined.
- Ease of procurement
Procurement software comes with global standards. It has compatibility with multiple languages, logistics, and currencies. This makes procuring easy from countries around the globe.
- Reduces fraudulent activities
Procurement software assists in controlling fraud and increasing transparency. With a centralized repository and contract compliance features, procurement software enhances the organization's capacity to monitor irregularities in the procurement process.
Procurement Frauds and their types:
Procurement frauds are the most common types of frauds that the risk management teams of the enterprises have to deal with regularly. As procurement involves a large sum of money, it attracts a lot of people with fraudulent motives. A procurement fraud occurs when some people with vested interests manipulate the procurement process to obtain an undue advantage in gaining contracts or services. Though the corrupt and the unscrupulous officials and bidders often come up with new and incredible ways to commit fraudulent activities, yet some of the most common procurement frauds that can be red-flagged in any procurement process are:
How to safeguard your company from procurement frauds using procurement software?
A comprehensive and tamper-proof system is required to mitigate the high occurrence of procurement frauds in organizations. A software platform that ensures secure bidding process and post-bidding assistance for monitoring and controlling the bids should be in place to safeguard organizations from the procurement frauds. Procurement software implements well-defined processes and centralized activity, which leaves no room for fraud. The artificial intelligence-based software can detect and red-flag fraudulent activities by analyzing the common fraud patterns. It provides the managers and admins the ability to detect inflated invoices, forged purchase orders, and fake supplier information. The analysis, such as supplier performance, spend analysis, purchase pattern analysis, etc. make it easy to detect any major deflection from the regular activities.
What are the features of Procurement Software?
- Contract Management
A procurement software has the ability to manage all supplier information, contact details of the contractor, payment dates and terms, and contract documents.
- Purchase requisition
Buyers can raise purchase requests, send them for approval to their supervisors, and send email notifications for the pending approval. The managers and supervisors can check and approve the request if the spending amount falls within his financial power or forward the request to a higher authority.
- Purchase Orders
A procurement software can create purchase orders for the approved requests. It has multiple templates to generate purchase orders, and customization is available. Purchase orders can be downloaded in PDF format.
- Inventory alignment
The procurement software can integrate with the inventory database or the inventory software to record the on-hand inventory. Based on the shortfall level in the inventory, it can automate the purchase requests.
- Supplier management
This feature allows the suppliers to list their products, update prices from time to time, and define payment terms. The suppliers have access to the supplier section of the software. It also allows suppliers to download invoices and send email notifications to the procurement department regarding any updates.
This feature provides automated invoice generation and matching of invoices. Invoicing is done on predetermined rules, and therefore any forged invoicing is not possible.
This feature lets the procurement department generate reports of purchased goods and services, invoices, savings, commissions paid, supplier performance, and supplier wise expense.
- Administrative setup
This feature lets the user define and assign roles to all the users. This feature lets the user control the access to the software, define approval roles and limits, payment terms and logistics rules, etc.
Although you can utilize the services of any of the 8 best free and open source Procurement software discussed below, NetSuite ERP deserves a special mention. NetSuite ERP is a one-stop solution for all your procurement needs. Its enterprise-grade solutions and high-performance ERP platforms are used worldwide for efficient procurement management. Let us discuss the features of NetSuite ERP in detail:
As one of the most popular procurement tools, NetSuite ERP software acts as a dedicated platform that assists organizations in sourcing products and services, channelizing purchases, pre-negotiating contracts, enforcing procurement policies, rendering real-time procurement information, and automating key procurement processes and approvals. Oracle NetSuite’s Cloud Procurement software solutions make managing, expediting, and optimizing the purchasing process effortless. . NetSuite is a global leader in procurement technology solutions that can strengthen your supply chains, balance supply-demand dynamics, and create opportunities for value-oriented procurements. With NetSuite ERP, Businesses can counter supply chain disruption, ease contract renegotiations, and develop supplier partnerships and relationships.
- Centralized vendor management with features to track vendor, identify approved vendors, see purchase history, and usage location
- Vendor portal to provide vendors facility to view information on an online portal
- Setup Request for Quotes (RFQs) and define pricing terms and conditions
- Tracking purchase orders, order quantity, and purchase request
- Automated approval routing feature that sends notifications to approval authorities
- Procurement dashboard that contains all information about procurement
- Real-time reports about vendor performance, expenditure, and transactions
- Tracking vendor payables, bills, payment information
- Pre-populate vendor bills based on purchase orders
- Scheduling vendor payment to maintain optimum cash flow levels
The list of 8 best free and open-source Procurement Software:
Comparison Chart of 8 Best Free and Open Source Procurement Software
If you are searching for true ‘bellwethers’ of the purchasing and inventory management software industries, look no further than the eponymously named Bellwether Software Corp.
Founded in 1984 by Bill Arnold, the company prides itself on helping companies avoid the age-old practice of manual purchasing by automating the procurement and inventory management functions.
Their products include Purchasing Manager Extra (EPMX), their flagship product, BPM Purchasing software, and their Supplier Network. The company has been helping Small and Medium-sized businesses.
Through their software suite, Bellwether looks to help businesses achieve between 5 and 10% savings on inventory-related expenditure annually, which translated to more than $200,000 in absolute terms. Rated #1 for SMBs in their line of software business operations, the company caters to over 1000 esteemed clients, who include Casio, Aramark, Pacific Life, and so on.
Source - Bellwether
Features of the Bellwether Procuring and inventory management software suite are as follows -
- Requisition Management - Automated approval workflows and notification management
- Purchase order management - Standard/bulk order placement directly to vendor
- Quotations/RFQs - Bid management and conversion to PO from a specific vendor
- Inventory Management - Reorder point setting and inventory tracking over multiple locations
- Contract Management - Track vendor contract and order fulfillment
- Punchout and eCatalog - Direct link to suppliers available, reduce catalog maintenance overload
- Order Approvals - Reject/Accept orders, categorize approvals based on inventory needs, goods, etc.
- Invoice Matching - Matching of vendor invoices against PO, Export to CSV format
- Order Management - Maintain checks on orders and direct alerts to purchasing vendors
- Platform independent versions - Available on Mac, Mobile (Android, iOS), and Windows PC
- Reports - Reporting platform to analyze order status and adjust partial/full orders received
Procuman is a leading open source procurement software with a fully-customizable interface. It can be used for your procurement needs and also to manage the supplier relationship. This open source procurement software comes with a 30 days free trial period and is powered by Amazon web services. It provides 24/7 monitoring and email-support for customers.
- Suppliers can submit Product Catalogs, Prequalification, and Questionnaires etc.
- List all open e-tenders and allows online quote submissions
- Supplier and Contract Management
- Email requests to selected suppliers
- Comparison and analysis of bids to select the winner
- Purchase Requisitions
- Purchase Orders
- Automatically create purchase orders from Purchase Requisitions.
- Email orders to the suppliers directly
- Record Supplier invoices in Received Invoices-module invoices
- Spend management with cost center budgeting
- Ready set of reports with reports module
- Manage inventory in different warehouses and locations.
- Enterprise-class Document Management
- Define access rights for user groups and roles
Bupros is an open source procurement software that assists you in procurement operations such as requisitioning process, ordering, goods receipt, authorization, and invoice control. Bupros provides comprehensive operational procurement functionalities and is easy to install and operate. It ensures accountability and transparency in your procurement operations. With Bupros E-Procurement solutions, businesses can reduce their procurement costs.
- Suppliers can submit Product Catalogs, Prequalification, and Questionnaires etc.
- List all open e-tenders and allows online quote submissions
- Purchase requisitions for stocks
- Goods receipt confirmations
- Invoice Control
- Supplier management
- Spend Analysis
- Order with limits and budget authorizations
- Contract management
- Automatic sending of Purchase orders when stocks reach Reorder Levels
- Automatic cost charging to cost centers based on stock issuing
- Powerful catalog search capability
- Multi Supplier orders based on one requisition
- Interface with existing ERP system
- Online supplier catalogs available
OpenProcurement is an open source procurement software that provides specially designed toolkit procurement business processes. Both public authorities and private entities can use this software for the procurement of goods and services. OpenProcurement was developed with programming languages such as Python, Pyramid, Bootstrap, Angular.js, CouchDB, Flask, and PouchDB. Users can utilize this solution to make procurements more accessible and transparent.
- System of proposals evaluation
- Protection against unauthorized use
- The Central Database to store all data about the conduction of procurement.
- Flexible and customizable
- Web platforms interoperate with the Central Database
- Auction module for participation in the auction.
- Can integrate with Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud.
- No restrictions concerning database size or the number of conducted procurements
- Creating and editing of tenders,
- Submission of bid proposals
Tradogram is a cloud-based procurement software for purchase order management, spend control, and improving purchasing administration. It is a completely configurable software that promotes seamless purchase to pay operations and assists procurement officers to oversee purchasing activities.
- Access supplier contracts, and create contracts
- Auto-generate your contracts from awarded bids
- Monitor supplier performance with graphs and charts on each contract
- Centralized system for requisitions
- Automatically assign internal orders
- Users can add items from the database
- Automatically convert requisitions into purchase orders
- Requisition orders can be routed to managers for approval
- Track order requirements from a single dashboard
- Search database with filters for department, supplier, project, date, category, status, and more.
- Create and send RFQ (Request for Quote) and RFP (Request for Proposal)
Kissflow procurement software lets users gain full visibility of their purchase orders and requests and with cloud storage of all documents. It assists procurement officials in the entire procure-to-pay lifecycle. It simplifies the procurement function, and proactively defines and manages the purchase operations. Users can access all POs, contracts, purchase requisitions, and confidential supplier payment information at one centralized place.
- Get instant access to product catalogs when creating purchase requisitions
- Convert the purchase requisitions to a new RFQ (request for proposal)
- An uncluttered and simplified visual interface
- Automated routing of requests through the chain of hierarchy
- Auto-initiated POs purchase orders
- Retrieve any purchase order from a cloud database
- Automated alerts to keep you up-to-date on PO status
- Track and approve purchase orders from anywhere, anytime, on any device
- Customizable form fields
- Retrieve and verify supplier data with quick vendor screening
- Track accurate progress of all your purchase invoices in real-time
- Process and pay invoices from global vendors with Multi-currency support
- Charts, filters, and pivots for convenient analysis
- Integration with other tools–accounting systems, ERP, etc.
SutiProcure is an online procurement software that is used for automating and accelerating procurement cycles with complete visibility of the requisitions, purchase orders, sourcing, invoicing, inventory management, and payments. This online purchasing software gives the procurement department an edge to efficiently manage their day-to-day purchasing operations. With faster approval of requisitions, businesses can enhance collaboration with suppliers to eliminate time delays.
- Automated invoice matching
- Intuitive interface for a user-friendly experience
- Rules-based payment approvals, and payment processing
- Filter and search with multiple parameters like price, supplier, and contract dates
- Drag & drop functionality and rule-based workflow
- Automated N-way matching of PO and invoices
- Centralized purchasing system
- Hierarchy-based access permission
- Faster approval process and automated notifications
- Purchase orders can be exported into .pdf file format
- Suppliers can update price lists for their items
- Collaborative supplier portal
- Customizable templates to create purchase orders
- Create purchase orders using approved requisitions
- Suppliers can define payment terms, invoice prefixes, tax codes, etc.
Promena is a procurement software solution that offers an integrated Catalog, Purchase Order Management, Purchase Requisition, budget controls, and approval workflows that supports the procurement department in the buying products. It Improves compliance & reduces purchasing errors. It optimizes and controls your spending and provides you the transactional visibility.
- Buyers can easily create the purchase requests
- Buy from product lists, catalogs or non-catalog items
- An intuitive platform that requires no training
- Catalog Management
- Open different catalogs for different business units.
- Purchase Order Management
- Purchase requisition management
- Digitize your purchase order process for different categories
- Supplier’s management
- Spend control
- Generate invoices and reports
You can choose from the above list of 8 free and open source procurement software for your procurement needs and optimize your procurement operations. If you still need a more robust software with better features, then you can add Coupa to your list. Coupa is one of the most popular and highly sophisticated procurement software available in the market. Let us see its features in detail:
Coupa procurement software brings solutions to procure your goods and services. You can simplify your purchase requisition, spend flowing, and order processes through Coupa’s procurement system. Coupa procurement software guides the procurement department across the buying process. Users get complete visibility of their entire purchase-to-pay processes. Coupa’s cloud-based Procure-to-Pay (P2P) solution lets businesses make better purchasing decisions. It ensures complete compliance.
- Quickly build and share agendas
- Provide real-time budget management
- Track current spend against budget
- Detect errors and fraud automatically with Coupa’s spend guard artificial intelligence
- Email and mobile approvals process
- Check the status of purchasing requisitions
- Purchasing requisition and purchase order processes
- Track and manage purchase orders in real-time
- Real-time visibility into inventory availability,
- Central repository to find and access your contracts
- Design and configure forms for requisitioning
- Obtain complete visibility with a real-time dashboard
Economies of scale are achieved when the whole procurement system is organized with routine purchasing mechanism, and the procurement teams have the insights to track purchase orders effortlessly. An efficient procurement process with no scattered and unorganized documents results in a smooth workflow without the bottleneck. This can be achieved when businesses invest in the technology to deploy a suitable procurement software to manage their core procurement functions. Procurement software also helps in enforcing compliance and minimize unauthorized purchases. It improves transparency in enterprise spending and enables better decision-making.
Businesses can choose from any of the procurement software discussed in this article. Apart from the discussed software EbuyerAssist, Vroozi, ProcureSENS, Procurify, SMART, and PurchaseControl are some other procurement software that you may choose for your needs.
We will be glad to get your views about the article in the comments section below. If you have utilized any of the free and open source procurement software mentioned above, then do share your feedback with us.
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