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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New Online System Takes Aim at Fixing Indirect Spend



Don Jean, founder and CEO of FocusedBuyer, says he has innovation in his blood: “When I was in purchasing, I always wanted to know what was new and how something new could help us do something that would save the company money.”

Jean, an experienced purchasing professional, and his business partner, Tom Middleton, also an experienced purchasing pro, recently launched, an online buying and selling system. Middleton is founder and COO at FocusedBuyer, which is based in Lehigh Valley, Pa. The two received a patent for in 2013.

As Jean sees it, can help procurement professionals better manage their companies’ indirect spend. Indirect spend, he tells My Purchasing Center, can be a challenge because procurement teams don’t have oftentimes the spend data they need.

He recalls a procurement professional at one company responsible for managing $4 billion in indirect spend who was able to tell him how much was being spent on a category but not what was being purchased. Many procurement teams, Jean adds, still go to their suppliers for this information.

“I find indirect (spend) intriguing,” Jean said. “Even with the most sophisticated systems, the challenges for procurement don’t seem to go away.” is a system that’s simple to use, Jean says. In fact, he says buyers can learn how to use it in 30 minutes.

A buyer registers on the secure website — there are no registration or transaction fees for buyers or suppliers — and creates “a listing” using a template that asks for information in 11 required fields and puts up a request for proposal (RFP) or request for quotation (RFQ). An example of a required field: What do you want to buy, rent, or lease?

Buyers send the RFP or RFQ to their preferred suppliers, or they can test the waters by making the RFP or RFQ public. Managers can have complete control over the purchasing process by setting up the system so that it includes approvals at each step. also has capabilities for buyers to negotiate, issue purchase orders (POs), and manage other purchasing activities, including monitoring performance to a contract. They can pay suppliers through an online payment system called Precious Payment. And the system keeps track of what’s happening, storing information in a database from which procurement teams can extract what they need to develop sourcing strategy or negotiate with suppliers.

Having such line-item detail on indirect spend can also be used to help procurement card (p-card) managers with reconciliation, Jean says.

“As a buyer, you can be anywhere in the world, on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smart phone, and create an RFQ on and send it to whom you want,” he explained. “The supplier receives it, evaluates it, and can make an offer. You can right then and there issue the PO.”

Jean and Middleton designed for small to midsize as well as larger companies, and it is able to perform a group buy for procurement teams at non-competing organizations. The two business partners also are available to provide professional consulting services to procurement teams.

For more information, Jean can be reached by e-mail at or phone at (908) 265-9136.


Susan Avery is Chief Editor at My Purchasing Center. She writes articles, blogs, and white papers and manages and creates other content for the online procurement and supply management publication. She produces and moderates webcasts. Susan has more than 25 years experience covering procurement and supply management for Purchasing magazine and

This article was originally published at My Purchasing Center and has been republished with permission. For more stories, visit


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