BT ANNOUNCED its intention to switch its entire $9 billion (£5.5bn) annual procurement operation to the internet - a move that will save it $1bn yearly. According to the telecoms giant, which processes 1.3 million purchase transactions annually, the move online will reduce average ‘per transaction’ costs from $80 to $8. BT expects that 95% of all purchasing activity will be conducted via its private secure intranet site as early as next February. The decision affects many marketing services suppliers and printers - although whether it will extend to agencies is uncertain. The system, BT MarketSite, went live in September. BT’s entire supplier roster of around one thousand companies will be required to provide MarketSite with stock lists, product availability data, delivery times and prices. The data will be viewable only by authorised executives, with seven tiers of purchasing authority. BT is also making the new facility available to other companies, with the Boots and Bass groups likely to switch their procurement operations to the site following several months of trials.