With the use of electronic procurement (e-procurement) government agencies, and thus the entire state, can create effective, IT-supported, purchasing processes. Formal requirements and common standards lead to uniform interfaces for information exchange between buyer and supplier. Standardised specifications facilitate efficient e-procurement and simpler supplier connection.
There are many benefits; primarily e-procurement means that government agencies gain:
- Cost savings, in the form of better prices in the longer-term, increased contract loyalty and a more efficient way to control supplier prices.
- Time savings, through a more rational management of orders and invoices for faster processing and fewer errors.
- Improved quality and service, in the form of better internal controls, increased levels of legal compliance and opportunities for follow-up and environmental benefits.
E-procurement makes it easier to direct government agency purchases towards suppliers with public procurement contracts. Many e-procurement systems also provides support for the automation of government agency internal processes.
Formal requirements and common standards
Swedish government agencies must follow a number of formal requirements. These requirements are mainly set out in the Ordinance on Information Exchange by Government Agencies (2003:770). The Swedish National Financial Management Authority (ESV) stipulates more detailed mandatory regulations. There is also general advice concerning these regulations aimed at providing further guidance.
These requirements concern:
- Electronic invoices – Government agencies shall process incoming and outgoing invoices electronically.
- Electronic orders – Government agencies with 50 employees or more shall process their outgoing orders electronically.
- Electronic infrastructure – Government agencies must be connected to PEPPOL by 1 November 2018.
- Standards for e-procurement and e-invoice – Government agencies must support the common standards and specifications for government listed in the regulation. Those standards are based on the recommendations of SFTI.
- Questions about e-commerce