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eProcurement and Translation

by Gavin Wheeldon, 25th November, 2005

Gavin Wheeldon explains how eProcurement has impacted on the translation industry


Background of eProcurement

The world of purchasing took a significant change with the introduction of eProcurement systems. Unbelievable ROI was promised and the whole purchasing world was about to revolutionize, all for a mere few million investment.
This would be done by rationalizing the supply base to an absolute minimum and then ensuring no off contract buying was done by enforcing purchases through the system. There were additional savings in the reduction of administration from purchase orders through to invoice payment.

A small problem

Then along came the rather significant problem of supplier adoption onto these systems. Without a critical mass of spend there would be no real ROI. The problem came in that there were so many different proprietary systems including Oracle’s iProcurement, Ariba, Commerce One, SAP and a multitude of others that the cost of supporting multiple catalogue formats was prohibitive for suppliers. Even worse was when services or configurable products were attempted to be catalogued.

Punch Out

Then along came Punch out or Round Trip depending on which you prefer (This article will use punch out), however the principle is the same. This allows end users to browse a supplier’s website and bring back into the system the details of the purchase, therefore allowing all the same business rules and processes to be applied. This solved problems for configurable products, volatile pricing and some other key supply chain issues.


The level of translation spend in a company is often underestimated and in most large organizations runs into many millions. It is estimated that through the correct use of technology and the consolidation of this spend savings of up to 60% can be achieved. Therefore the benefits of adding this spend to eProcurement can far outweigh even the larger spend categories.
There is however, still a problem when trying to add your translation supplier to eProcurement systems. This comes down to two reasons:

  • Translation purchases still need to go through a quotation stage in most instances. This is due to the fact there are so many variables that can change the price including such things as graphics with files.
  • Most agencies will use translation memory tools, which mean that the same document can be differently priced dependent upon when you get the quote. This works by storing translated units in a database and when this same unit is encountered again it is priced lower.

These problems make it almost impossible to purchase translation in a single punch out session.

How to eProcure Translation

Translation can be procured through the system with a slight adaptation of the normal punch out process. This is done by providing a standard link to the agencies secure server where a quotation can be requested and documents submitted. The quote is then emailed to the requisitioner with a link to return to the secure site via the eProcurement system. This will then start a punch out session and the quote can be added to a shopping basket in the normal way.

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About the company

Applied Language Solutions provide translation solutions for business of all size and have a range of solutions to meet all needs.

Written by Gavin Wheeldon, ALS a Translations Services Company

© Gavin Wheeldon


Lingo24 is a global translation company, with interests in marketing, e-commerce, product management and many other areas that are of relevance to our clients. We share news on our company performance, innovative technology solutions, exciting new hires and guest posts from some of our translators.

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