Many studies have addressed which criteria have to be considered in order to weight potential suppliers when traditional vendor–buyer purchasing transactions take place. However, due to the peculiarities of the e-procurement process, new paradigms and criteria have to be added to traditional ones for the selection of viable suppliers when these kinds of internet-based transactions are set up. In this paper, the relevant criteria to be considered for the selection of the most viable suppliers in an e-procurement environment are first defined. The outcomes are based, on the one hand, on the work of a focus group especially set up for this purpose, and, on the other hand, on the literature review. Then, the proposed selection criteria are structured into an original framework. The scaffold is of general purpose, since it can be adopted for the assessment of both raw materials/components and MRO (maintenance, repair and operating supplies) suppliers. The framework has been conceived for the direct in-field application by practitioners by means of common multi-attribute decision-making methods, such as the fuzzy analytic hierarchy process, which has been proved to solve well the traditional supplier selection problem. Owing to its structure, the framework can thus be integrated to traditional supplier selection hierarchies, extending the general selection processes to an e-procurement environment. In order to test its practical implications, the framework has been applied in a major Italian company operating in the food industry, which has recently set up a programme for the e-procurement of MRO materials.
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