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New tool for web-based purchasing debuts

MIT's web-based purchasing effort took a major step forward in June with the launch of ECAT2 and its expanded list of selected MIT partner vendors.

Vendors currently available through ECAT2 are BOC Gases, NECX for computer hardware and software, and Office Depot. VWR Scientific will be available through ECAT2 later this summer. Those who make MIT purchases from these partner vendors are urged to move to ECAT2 as soon as possible. The old EREQ system was discontinued on June 30, and the earlier version of ECAT will be shut down on July 31.

ECAT2 integrates the vendors' web-based catalogs and ordering systems with MIT's SAPweb system for quick, all-electronic shopping and requisition creation by MIT purchasers. The vendors' web sites include up-to-date catalogs with improved searching and browsing features. In ECAT2, access to the vendors' web sites relies on MIT web certificates, while authorization to order is based on the purchaser's SAP profile.

To order items using ECAT2, purchasers go to the vendor's Web site and select items from the catalog. The order is then passed to SAPweb, where a requisition is created with most of the information filled in automatically. All the purchaser needs to supply on the SAPweb form is cost object and other account information. The requisition is processed and approved in SAP, and the vendor is notified to fulfill the order. All this happens electronically, saving paperwork and time for MIT and for the purchaser.

For more information and links to the vendors' web sites, go to the ECAT2 home page at For a demo and quick-start training, plan to attend an upcoming Overview of Purchasing on the Web session. The next quick-start session is Thursday, July 29 at noon in the N42 Demo Center.

Anyone with questions about ECAT2 or the partner vendors may contact Glenn Curtis in the MIT Procurement Office at x3-3820 or

A version of this article appeared in the July 14, 1999 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 44, Number 1).

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