International cross-border study on the potential strategic opportunities for Irish and French manufacturing SMEs to use e-procurement

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Authors
Jaunie, Charles
Issue Date
2007
Degree
MSc in International Business
Publisher
Dublin Business School
Rights
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Abstract
Nowadays, in our increasingly global, dynamic and competitive business environment, manufacturing SMEs need to be “born-global” and to find ways to become internationally competitive. E-procurement appears to be an effective way to add value to businesses and to enhance their competitiveness. These solutions, which are more affordable, flexible and easy to implement than previous generations of technologies such as EDI, have the potential to increase the efficiency and the profitability of firms, even the smaller ones. Different e-procurement alternatives exist and can provide both operational (e.g. reduced overall procurement costs) and strategic (e.g. greater control over procurement expenditure) benefits for a firm. However, the research undertaken reveals that a vast majority of French and Irish manufacturing SMEs do not currently use e-procurement solutions within their business activity, and therefore do not seize the opportunities that they offer. The investigation highlights the fact that it is often due to a lack of awareness and understanding of what is involved that manufacturing SMEs develop erroneous perceptions about e-procurement and its suitability for their business, which lead them to stay away from it. These results are even more noteworthy considering that SMEs which have currently implemented e-procurement processes within their activity are considerably satisfied with those. Consequently, as none would argue that our future will be without the use of e-business, common initiatives from both the private and public sector have to be taken in order to improve this current situation. Governments, technology providers and institutions such as Chamber of Ireland or Enterprise Ireland could for instance work together to develop awareness-raising programmes and assistance projects to support the small and medium sized sector during its first steps of e-procurement adoption. These measures would primarily focus on increasing the performance and the competitiveness of these firms, but as SMEs represent the vast majority of firms and significantly contribute to the GDP, economy and level of employment of a country, these measures would also contribute to enhance the level of development and growth of the country. But more than that, these kinds of initiatives could simply enable SMEs to effectively grab the opportunities our Information Society is offering.