Original Date: 01/27/1997
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Zephyr Paperless Procurement System
Recognizing the need to decrease procurement processing time, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) developed the Concurrent Engineering and Rapid Prototyping System (CERPS) which was successfully demonstrated in 1995. As the next generation system, LLNL has developed a paperless procurement system called Zephyr which improves procurement processing time by 90%. In addition, the Zephyr system’s web server maintains security through full-access and restricted-access entrances.
Since traditional procurement processing based on paper can create delays, LLNL designed web pages for its engineering and procurement departments. When an item needs to be purchased, engineering transfers a purchase request and associated design documents to procurement via the web pages. Next, procurement contacts the participating vendors via electronic mail and notifies them that a request for quotes based on the engineering requirements is available on the website. Vendors respond to procurement’s web page with quotes, and the winning bid is then awarded the same day via the vendor’s web page on the LLNL site. Design documents are transferred to the vendor via the Internet which also speeds up the process. Vendors must be willing to accept credit card payments to use the Zephyr system. Upon shipment of the item, the vendor initiates a credit card transaction which results in a transfer payment to the vendor’s bank. Typically, electronic payments occur 48 to 72 hours after the shipment notification.
Comparison between traditional methods and the Zephyr system shows impressive results. For identical items, traditional methods took 56 working days while the Zephyr system completed the task in 5.5 days. Most of the delays using traditional methods could be traced to paperwork. By using the Zephyr system, the cost of a stereolithography part decreased 40%, from $850 to $510.
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