eBusiness Ordering Channels: What works for growing Life Science companies?

A major advantage to Gold members of One Nucleus is their access to our Group Purchasing Scheme with discounts available across eight high quality Preferred Suppliers (https://onenucleus.com/purchasing) which already saves our members in excess of £3M per year.

Businesses are increasingly adopting technology-driven approaches to purchasing, some more integrated than others and some requiring more investment in than others to initiate. None of the approaches exclude a member from being able to access One Nucleus pricing with any of our Preferred Suppliers, but there does appear to be some knowledge gaps for companies assessing which option is best suited to their level and range of purchasing.

To shine a light on the various options, One Nucleus convened a purchasing lunchtime roundtable discussion with members on the 23rd January 2019 for each to share experiences and insight. The membership is using all the different available ordering channels below:

Manual Order

Generate an order either from an accounts package or standalone system, submit the order via e-mail, fax or phone to the supplier, the supplier verifies and inputs the order on their system.

The item arrives the delivery note is given to accounts, the delivery note is attached to the invoice, the invoice is paid, and paperwork stored or scanned.

Perceived disadvantages:

Labour intensive


Cost of generating an order, raising an invoice etc.


Prone to human error



Depending on the company procedures you may still need to generate an order either from an accounts package or standalone system but there is no set up costs or lengthy project implementation. 

Again, depending on the company procedures, you may still need to match the delivery note to the invoice etc.

Perceived benefits:

Ability to see full product range with search function


See net pricing


Easy to use favourites for repeat orders


Real time stock and order tracking


Speciality product search tools and full tiered requisitioning



Perceived disadvantages:

Resource cost of generating orders and raising an invoices


Cloud-based Procurement

Companies can buy bolt on solutions, which include an e-Requisitions module for enabling companies to control purchases, as well as to streamline the purchase approval process and maintain budgetary control, the e-Invoices module automates transmission, approval, reconciliation and audit of the invoice process. They also provide e-Catalogue, a Web interface enabling to find, view, and compare products from suppliers, e-Configurator module that integrates with e-ordering hub and transmits orders directly into the supplier’s order processing system for error-free transactions; e-Reports solution that offers pre-configured procurement and finance, spend by category, transaction, supplier, performance, departmental, and contract monitoring reports; and transaction hub, which is a Web-based platform that connects purchasing and supply organisations for secure automated procure-to-pay document transmission. In addition, the companies offer non-catalogue ordering capability services to cater for off catalogue purchases of bespoke items.

Perceived benefits:

Savings on headcount & ordering process


Ease of generation of various reports


Whole process is electronic



Perceived disadvantages:

Can incur set-up costs


Lead time for implementation


Stock availability not live


Reported over charging on the savings from list price rather than the One Nucleus price



This is an e-procurement software application that makes it possible for a company to access a supplier's web site from within the company’s own procurement application. The company leaves ("punches out" from) their company's system and goes to the supplier's Web-based catalogue to locate and order products, while their application transparently maintains connection with the Web site and gathers pertinent information. PunchOut enables communication between the software and the web site so that relevant information about the transaction is delivered to the appropriate channels.

Perceived benefits:

Allows creation of customer requisition direct from the basket on the web


Dynamic product range


Live-stock availability


Customer specific pricing


Multiple platforms supported



Perceived disadvantages:

Can incur set-up costs


Lead time for implementation



This enables companies to use their existing own ERP to send and receive data directly to their supplier. Using data directly from the customers ERP, the supplier can then ‘map’ this directly into their our own ERP ensuring a fully automated eProcurement solution

Perceived benefits:

Error Free


Direct peer to peer integration


Possible to automate the whole supply chain process



Perceived disadvantages:

Can incur setup costs



There is a variety of solutions available to life science companies when it comes to how they purchase products, track orders and integrate the purchasing into their own accounting procedures. There is not a one-size fits all, but the discussion revealed a number of pros and cons for each option.

Looking Ahead

One Nucleus is currently meeting with a variety of providers of the above platforms in order to bring further support to our members to enhance yet further the already impressive savings afforded to our members