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InfobITS logo, volume 8, number 1, spring 2002.


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New ePurchasing System Streamlines Procurement Process
by Tammy Vandevender

Tired of completing those requisition and purchase order forms? Frustrated with the FMIS Purchasing module? The new ePurchasing system will make the procurement process faster, easier, and friendlier. If you can fill out a form, you can use the ePurchasing system!

The ePurchasing system is a completely Web-based application that streamlines the procurement process. ePurchasing was designed with the look-and-feel of the current forms. You can create requisitions and purchase orders, transfer requisitions to purchase orders, copy requisitions for frequent orders, create purchase order change forms (POCFs), and create payments against purchase orders. ePurchasing supports electronic approvals of requisitions as well as hard copy approvals for those units that still prefer to obtain a signature. Some of the more common support forms can be completed online and 'attached' electronically to the requisition and/or purchase order. The documents can be printed locally in both draft and final formats. ePurchasing performs real-time account validation and funds availability checks. Accounts from multiple campuses may be used on the requisition and/or purchase order. There are also plans to support accounts from multiple fiscal offices. In the future ePurchasing will interface with SuperQuote and the Departmental Checking Sub-system.

In December 2001, we implemented the first phase of the project to three pilot departments. This phase included creating requisitions and purchase orders. In April 2002, we will be rolling out the second phase, which includes purchase order change forms and payment processing. Seven additional departments will then join the three pilot departments in using the ePurchasing system. The plan is to implement ePurchasing across the entire University system by July 2003.

The ePurchasing project is sponsored by ITS and the Financial Management Office (FMO). The team has been working with representatives from all campuses and the central offices to provide feedback and help with the design and functionality of ePurchasing.

The ePurchasing system is written in Java using Java Server Pages (JSPs) and servlets. Java provides the benefits of being able to run the code on any platform. The JSPs and servlets enable the developers to segregate the user interface from the business logic so that either could be modified without greatly affecting the other. The core system runs on an Oracle database. It also provides a real-time interface to the Financial Management Information System (FMIS). Since ePurchasing is Web-based, no special hardware or software is required. Printing is routed to locally attached printers using Adobe PDF files.

For more information about the ePurchasing system, contact Tammy Vandevender of ITS Management Information Systems.


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