Centralised supplier database to drive economic growth

Catherine_Hills.jpgTo increase per capita income and distribute wealth more evenly across the South African population, the economy would have to expand to almost three times the present level, and create up to 11-million new jobs over the next two decades.

These were the remarks in the launch speech of the National Development Plan for South Africa, which contains input from and perspectives of thousands of South Africans and looks at practical steps to achieve a better future for all South Africans by 2030.

To achieve economic growth of that level government procurement openings need to be more readily available to small businesses, which create the most jobs and employ 56% of the South African workforce, Catherine Hills, Global Accounts Partner at Ariba, told SmartProcurement.

“There is also a strong call from South Africans for greater focus on local procurement,” said Hills.

Western Cape (WC) Government has been supporting these objectives over the past 14 years through e-procurement solutions, which enables WC Government’s preferential procurement policy for informal and formal quotations / bids, and provides a single entry point for suppliers to conduct business with WC Government – a centralised supplier database.

WC Government has, after 14 years’ use of legacy SourceLink / TradeWorld solutions, initiated a project, effective 1 April 2012, to migrate these legacy solutions, namely SourceLink Electronic Purchasing System and the TradeWorld Supplier Database, to Ariba’s world-class Sourcing Professional and Supplier Information Management system.

Following the acquisition of SourceLink by TradeWorld in 2001, Quadrem Africa acquired TradeWorld in 2006 and listed entity, Ariba, Inc. acquired Quadrem in November 2010.

Ariba administers the centralised supplier database, the Western Cape Supplier Database (WCSD), on which suppliers register and maintain profiles in order to be eligible to conduct business across multiple departments and municipalities under WC Government.

From 1 September 2012, WC Government will only contract with businesses duly registered (approved suppliers) on the WCSD.

Ariba continues to play an instrumental role in the interventions to educate the supplier community on the critical impact of the new B-BBEE regulations accommodated through registration on the WCSD.

To assist suppliers to register and update their profiles on the WCSD, Ariba provides an inbound and outbound call centre and walk-in centre.

A centralised supplier database (CSD) enables all supplier information to be registered and maintained in one place and in one single format - putting greater cost savings in reach.

Furthermore, a CSD enables effective implementation of preferential procurement / BEE policies; establishes reporting facilities to measure the progress of those initiatives; and streamlines the maintenance of supplier information and improve the validity thereof.

Ariba is engaging closely with the WC Department of Economic Development and Tourism to be able to provide face-to-face support to suppliers across the province.

“Once all 14 WC Government Provincial Departments have migrated to the new Ariba solution suite, the solution will be made available to Municipalities and Public Entities in the WC Province,” says André Bastiaanse, WC Government Project Manager of the initiative.

Meanwhile, the WC supplier community is reaping the benefits of a CSD approach while the rest of the South African supplier community still suffers the expense and frustration of registering (with supporting documentation and in different formats) on hundreds of different databases throughout the country.

"A CSD and single access-point to public sector business opportunities could exponentially support and drive elements of the National Development Plan," says Hills.

“The economy and supplier business community will benefit greatly from increased access to business opportunities; job creation; improved procurement auditability and transparency; and a focus on local procurement initiatives that a CSD affords.”

To learn more, contact Ariba Project Sponsor, Catherine Hills on chills@ariba.com

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