SEPTA Set to Launch e-Procurement

Pennsylvania transit authority to use iRail system for most purchases

Parsippany, NJ — March 21, 2003 — The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is set to begin full-scale operations of its e-procurement system as of April 7, running a solution provided by transit industry technology specialist iRail.

SEPTA is the United States' fifth largest public transportation authority, carrying over 1 million passengers a day with a fleet of more than 900 pieces of rail rolling stock and 1,300 buses. SEPTA operates in Philadelphia and four suburban counties, serving a population of 3.9 million people within an area of 2,200 square miles.

iRail said its procurement software provides SEPTA buyers with a custom-built, electronic tool to conduct purchasing. The system automates the purchasing workflow from the initial inquiry stage through the issuance of a purchase order, mirroring SEPTA's existing workflows and procedures and interfacing with SEPTA's existing systems. "The system automates and mirrors our existing procurement processes," said Andy Tarter, director for purchasing and contracts at SEPTA.

SEPTA will use the system for procurements under $25,000, which corresponds to roughly 95 percent of its total purchase orders.

"We believe the new e-procurement system will create greater opportunities, efficiency and accuracy for our suppliers and SEPTA alike," said Tarter, explaining that the system would afford suppliers greater opportunity to be notified and compete for SEPTA's requirements than ever before. Suppliers who register on the SEPTA e-procurement system will be automatically notified whenever a product or commodity within their area of business is being procured by SEPTA.

A group of 26 suppliers used the new SEPTA e-procurement system during a three-month trial conducting actual transactions. During the pilot, one supplier commented, "I am seeing more opportunities for a wider variety of my products," while another noted that her favorite feature was the 24 hour prompt if she had not yet responded to a request for quote.

iRail offers technology solutions and operates an e-marketplace for the transit, rail and bus industries. The provider's two e-marketplaces, and iBusXchange, offer procurement, sales and auctions of a range of equipment, materials and services, along with collaborative tools, industry-specific content and community features.