The Life Science Procurement Center (LSPC) is an electronic purchasing system that allows GE healthcare's customers to search and order not only from its catalogue but from its competitors' catalogues as well. The company believes that the new tool will make life easier for its customers while exposing users to product lines that they may not be aware of. The web-based e-purchasing tool requires no IT integration and promises to make ordering faster and more convenient. With GE Life Sciences offering this service for free, one has to ask the question "what's the catch?" According to Robert Stenborg, Web, E-trade & Inside Sales Manager for Europe at GE Healthcare, "the catch is that we have been pushing for e-commerce for many years and it is important for us so that we can provide better service to the customer." "Many of our customers have been talking about e-commerce for years but made no progress in its implementation. If we can offer our customers a tool like this then we can make their lives easier while also increasing brand awareness and our customer's knowledge about our product lines." The system will allow users to manage their spending and reduce order costs by allowing customers to compare the prices of products from different suppliers. GE believes the system will take between three to four weeks to implement with users needing to provide contract price lists from other suppliers that they may want to use and these can either be obtained direct from the supplier or through freesupplierportal.com. Companies can use the LSPC for all their purchasing requirements not just when buying life science products. "What we are trying to do is to target the customers that are too big to use a standard webshop but not big enough to deal with the investment needed to switch to an in-house electronic purchasing system," said Stenborg. He was quick to assuage any fears about GE being able to access information about users buying habits: "the operational and maintenance aspects of the platform are being carried out by a third party company to make sure that we can show the customers that they have data integrity and we don't have any insight into their purchasing habits." With a single login and password users can access catalogues from any of their suppliers while allowing user spend limits and approvers to be set by administrators. Different buyers can have different purchasing limits set as well as allowing multiple approval flows which allows customers to keep track of any biological or radioactive sample orders and alert the relevant people within an organisation that such an order has been made. "For example if you are allowed to spend €2000 but your order is for €4000 and contains a radioactive isotope, the order will be sent not only to your line manager for approval but also the radiation officer as well," said Stenborg. GE are so confident in the new system that they are offering a risk free trial. If the system lives up to its promises it may provide a great example of where the best things in life really are free!