Ohio procurement system moves catalogs to vendors

Ohio procurement system moves catalogs to vendors

Budget and technological shortcomings have forced Ohio Electronic Commerce Center officials to overhaul e-Buy! Ohio, the state's vendor catalog system. The Administrative Services Department runs the program, which allows state agencies to buy from approved vendors. Vendors, rather than the state, will house and maintain their own catalogs from now on.

'With budget cuts, we had to come up with a lower-cost solution,' said Jeff Westhoven, chief administrator for the Procurement Services Office in the department. 'This made the most sense because the vendor catalogs were more sophisticated than the state catalogs, and many vendors were pressing for this anyway.'

Westhoven said maintaining the catalogs and hosting the site likely would have cost the state $1.2 million next year.

Now agency buyers log into the e-Buy! Ohio and are linked directly to the vendors' pages.

'We studied a lot of other states and we are seeing more of a trend of vendors managing and hosting their catalogs,' Westhoven said. 'We hope agencies will see an improvement with how the system works.'

With the change, e-Buy! Ohio now accepts the state purchase card, which the old system did not accept, Westhoven added.

This will be only a temporary fix, Westhoven said. State officials are reviewing proposals for an enterprise resource plan that would include an electronic procurement module, which eventually will host vendor catalogs.

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