Table of Contents
Preparing for the Selection Process
Since the 1980s, the "computer revolution" has continued to change the way we live and work. For purchasing and supply management professionals, computerization is a powerful tool which continues to be a "work-in-progress." Computerization not only simplifies the often overwhelming administrative work involved in the procurement process, but helps make work more efficient and effective.
Assessing Software Needs and Requirements
Implementing a purchasing software system is a project of magnitude, one that requires support and endorsement from senior management. It's a process that also requires a cross-functional team approach. During all phases of the operation, the team should keep senior management informed of major milestones and progress. Remember, this is a project that will have significant impact on the organization's bottom line.
Working with the Provider
The extent of operational efficiency you receive from your installed purchasing software system may depend on the level of support you receive from the provider (as well as how well the team has prepared users for the execution of their tasks using the new technology). Some issues, such as technical support and training capability, are critical elements of the software provider selection process — however, these issues take on considerably more importance once your system is in place and operational. A software system provider should be considered a partner in the process of implementation and maintenance; the role of the supplier should not end simply because the software is purchased and installed.
Off-the-Shelf Packages vs. Do-It-Yourself
While every organization's requirements are distinctly different, most purchasing and supply management needs can be met very well by "off-the-shelf" packages, which are relatively easy to implement and install. Further, the costs are less than those of custom packages. Yet, there are instances in which organizations may choose to customize or create their own software, and the costs can be justified.
How to Buy Purchasing Software: A Quick, Tactical Guide
Here is your guide to navigating the software selection process easily and practically.
JOSE P. FERNANDEZ, C.P.M., CQE
Jose Fernandez is senior procurement agent for Florida Power and Light Co., Miami, Florida. Mr. Fernandez has purchased computer hardware, programming services, and telecommunications products and services for FP and L, where he has been employed since 1968. He has a BS in Chemistry and an MBA from the University of Miami at Coral Gables, is an NAPM Insights External Editorial Review Board member, and was State of Florida Sterling (Quality) Award Examiner in 1994.
MARY LU HARDING, C.P.M., CPIM, CIRM
Mary Lu Harding is a principal of Harding & Associates, consultants, Bristol, Vermont. Formerly, she worked for Digital Equipment Corp. as a purchasing manager with technology expertise. Ms. Harding co-authored the text Purchasing (Barron's Press), is a contributor to the C.P.M. Study Guide, 6th Ed. as well as to NAPM Insights magazine, and is author of an NAPM video on systems contracting. Ms. Harding also has written and reviewed questions for the C.P.M. certification exam, has developed courses for the C.P.M., and has held officerships in NAPM and local associations.
Additional material was furnished by Cheryl Scheick Soderberg, Senior Buyer, Qualcomm Inc., San Diego, California.
- NAPM Insights, March 1995, "So You Want to Develop Your Own Software?"
- NAPM Insights, April 1994, "Another Electronic Purchasing System Reduces Paper Trail"
- NAPM Insights, October 1994, "Software for the Year 2000"
- NAPM Insights, October 1994, "Tomorrow's Top Information Technologies"
- NAPM Insights, October 1994, "Using Technology Appropriately in Purchasing"
- NAPM Insights, November 1993, "Software Selection — The Right System for the Right Selection"
FOR FURTHER READING
- Andrews, Derek and Ince, David, eds. The Software Life Cycle. Butterworths, 1990.
- Baily, Peter. Purchasing Systems and Records, 3rd Ed. Gower, 1991.
- Berkeley, Dina. Software Development Project Management. E. Horwood, 1990.
- Beizer, Boris. Software Testing Techniques. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1990.
- Braithwaite, Ken. Applications Development Using CASE Tools. Academic Press, 1990.
- Cargill, Patrick. A Desktop Guide to Computers in Business: Understanding and Purchasing Today's Hardware and Software for IBM-PCs. GreenTree Press, 1990.
- Fisher, Alan. CASE: Using Software Development Tools. John Wiley & Sons, 1988
- Fleer, Charles, ed. Computer Software. McGraw-Hill, 1990.
- Froelich, Allan. The Software Buyer's Handbook. Lifetime Learning Publications, 1983.
- Gibson, Robin. Managing Computer Projects. Prentice-Hall, 1992.
- Gorsline, G.W. Computer Organization: Hardware/Software. Prentice-Hall, 1986.
- Grossbrenner, Alfred. How to Buy Software. St. Martin's Press, 1984.
- Hardware Vendor Directory. Datapro Information Services, 1992.
- Houghton-Alico, Doann. Creating Computer Software User Guides. McGraw-Hill, 1985.
- Marciniak, John. Software Acquisition Management. John Wiley & Sons, 1990.
- NAPM Insights, March 1994, "Useful Tool or Cumbersome Menace?"
- NAPM Insights, April 1994, "A Statement of Work Primer"
- Perry, William. How to Test Software Packages. John Wiley & Sons, 1986.
- Shamlin, Carolyn. A User's Guide for Defining Software Requirements. QED Information Science, 1985.
- Sodhi, Jaag. Software Requirements Analysis and Specifications. McGraw-Hill, 1991.
- Statland, Norman. Controlling Software Development. John Wiley & Sons, 1986.
- Stitt, Martin. Building Custom Software Tools and Libraries. John Wiley & Sons, 1993.
- Youll, David. Making Software Development Visible. John Wiley & Sons, 1990
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