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Electronic Orders

An electronic order is an order for the purchase of goods and services sent to a supplier from a client through the Public Administration purchase Orders Routing Node (NSO) made available by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) (decree of the 7th december 2018). Aim of the decree is to manage the validation and electronic transmission of the digital documents attesting the order (ectronic orders and other compulsory documents).
Electronic orders are compulsory for good sales (from 01/02/2020) and service provisions (from 01/01/2021) to Healthcare Public Administrations.
All the suppliers of Healthcare Public Administrations must equip themselves to receive and manage electronic orders.
This further boosts the digital transformation process started with electronic invoicing: for this reason Italy is recognised at the forefront in the world, and its methodology is taken as an example. For the NSO Italy has adopted the Peppol european standard, to guarantee the interoperability of electronic orders also abroad. Flussi documentali fra PA e fornitori tramite NSO e SDI

How electronic orders are received and transmitted

The transmission channels of the electronic orders are similar to what is used for the electronic invoicing. The compatibility with the European standard adds the opportunity to exploit the PEPPOL framework through a granted Access Point.
Administrations (PA) and suppliers can thus choose three ways of accessing NSO: electronic certified mail (PEC - Posta Elettronica Certificata), web services / FTP, or PEPPOL. The PA can also use a web portal by accrediting to SICOGE.
Modalità di trasmissione degli ordini elettronici con NSO
Unless choosing to operate through the PEC channel, all the agents have to rely on an accredited intermediary from the MEF. Choosing the accredited intermediary means:
  • Trustworthiness: to be institutionally recognised (SOGEI, AgID, PEPPOL).
  • Practicality: electronic orders management systems must be simple.
  • Interoperability: the digitization of the purchasing cycle must lead to effective advantages in the management of all administrative documents, such as issuing an invoice from an order, without redundant data entry of already known information.
  • Versatility: the taxpayers involved belong to all categories, so the system must cover the different needs: gas stations, operators in general, freelancers.
  • Completeness: the program for the electronic orders management must include all the process' phases, i.e. the receipt of the order, the sending of the response, the verification of the status (transmitted, in error, accepted ...) and the collection of notifications, certified electronic archiving. It als must include the almost immediate and automatic compilation of the invoice relating to an order received, with all the essential details (such as the so-called TdI, or Identification Triplet).

What are the electronic orders

An electronic order is a document containing business data and constitutes the body of the message that is compliant to PEPPOL specifications on the Standard Business Document (SBD). The transmission envelope is also part of the message. The envelope contains the necessary data for correct addressing (the Sender and the Recipient). For more details, please refer to the PEPPOL website.
The steps in the flow of electronic orders, as described in detail by the Technical Rules, are as follows:
  1. The Public Healthcare Administration (PA) (ASP, Hospital, etc ...) identifies the supplier and issues an order, which can be of two types: simple or complete order. At the moment, most organizations use simple ordering.
  2. The order is managed by NSO and transmitted to the supplier, through the chosen electronic channel.
  3. The supplier receives the order through an intermediary accredited on the NSO.
  4. On the basis of the type of order received and how the process must progress, the supplier can send a response:
    1. of reception,
    2. of acceptance,
    3. of denial,
    4. with modifications.
In addition to the initial Order, the PA has the ability to send a:
  1. Revocation order,
  2. Replacement order,
  3. Feedback order (to confirm, decline or replace a Document received from the Supplier),
  4. Linked order,
  5. Validation order (to validate an invoice).
An exception to the standard flow of electronic order management is the so-called order agreement, the Document representing the purchase order for goods and services, issued by the Supplier (Sender) instead of by the Customer (Recipient), in agreement with the latter.
The pre-authorization to issue the order by the Supplier, instead of the Customer, may derive from the contract (perhaps for recurring contracts and services) or from another document (for example, an order sent by fax or e-mail due to the unavailability of the computer system that issues electronic Orders, or an order completed through an electronic communication platform) with which the Customer grants this right to the Supplier, predetermining the scope and limitations within which it can be exercised. The Order agreement issued without the prior authorization of the Customer has no legal effects.
Diversi tipi di ordine elettronico
The next step of the purchase process consists in issuing the invoice relating to the goods / services object of the order. In an integrated management of electronic orders and electronic invoices managed on the same system, the invoice will be issued sharing all the metadata that are already on the order, avoiding the repetition of data entry, limiting errors, speeding up operations.

Electronic order format

Besides making all documents to be issued to their destination, NSO validates their format, in order to ensure all information needed has been specified for the following steps of invoicing and payment.
Three document types are available for the three processes above, Order only, Ordering, Order agreement, following the standard PEPPOL BIS version 3.0: Order transaction, Order Agreement transaction, Order Response transaction.
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