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Quartzy alternative – Best Procurement system for Biotech startups -ProcureDesk

  • By ProcureDesk
  • November 02,2022
  • 10 min read

Quartzy alternative – Best Procurement system for Biotech startups -ProcureDesk


Looking for a Quartzy alternative?

Quartzy is a great tool when you are a small Biotech and purchases are limited to lab supplies only. Especially when your purchase volume is limited, Quartzy is a great starting point for many biotech companies.

It is easy when you can see when a product is available from hundreds of different partners of Quartzy.

But when your purchase volume increases, you need everything in one system that allows you to track all your spending, not just lab supplies. You need comprehensive procurement and purchasing software.

More importantly, you want control over spending by negotiating direct pricing with your vendors and not going through a marketplace.

If you have outgrown Quartzy, let us walk you through how ProcureDesk can help with your purchasing and spending control needs.

ProcureDesk can help you provide an all-in-one purchasing system for your growing Biotech.

In this article, we will detail all the features ProcureDesk offers and how it compares with Quartzy.



ProcureDesk provides end-to-end purchasing and AP automation to Biotech companies.

Biotech startups and growing companies leverage ProcureDesk to handle their cash flow and control costs better.

ProcureDesk not only simplifies the purchasing process but also helps the Accounts payable team reduce the time spent matching invoices with the purchase order and receipts.

Key features:

Here are the key features of the ProcureDesk platform.

1. Central place to track all your purchasing request

ProcureDesk provides a central place to capture all spending. Whether you are purchasing lab supplies or outsourced CRO(Contract Research Organization)  services, the employees have one place to create and track purchase approvals.

The request dashboard provides the visibility the team needs to track the status of requests:


Requisition Dashboard
ProcureDesk Purchase Request Dashboard


Users can easily track pending requests and send reminders easily.

The system remembers employee defaults – for example, the most common ship-to-use code, department, address, etc.

This speeds up the purchasing process because the employee doesn’t need to spend time filing the information.

Once the lab manager approves the purchase requisition, the system creates the purchase order and sends it to the vendor.

2. Build your marketplace through vendor catalogs

One of the main benefits of Quartzy is that it has hundreds of vendors in its network. They store those items and then ship them from their warehouse.

That offers flexibility and speed, but you don’t have any control over pricing.

That is where ProcureDesk helps you to build your network of vendors.

You can set up punchout catalogs for key vendors like ThermoFisher, VWR, etc.

Punchout catalogs give you access to the whole supplier catalog.

More importantly, you can negotiate your pricing discounts directly with the vendor, and the pricing discount gets automatically applied through the punchout catalog process.

You get the best of both worlds:

Employees get easy access to their favorite vendor catalogs. That makes it easy to create purchase requisitions.

You can negotiate your pricing and save costs. You have more control over price changes, and you get transparent pricing.

Here is how the vendor catalog process works with ThermoFisher:

The employee clicks on the ThermoFisher logo, and the system navigates the user to the vendor’s site.

Here is an example of that:

Punchout Catalog Integration

There is no need to share a username and password because the connection is managed and established by ProcureDesk.

The employee selects what they need to purchase and clicks on the “Submit” button to transfer the information back to ProcureDesk.

The website then sends the relevant  information to ProcureDesk:

ProcureDesk Cart

The employee can create the purchase order request for approval.

3. Control cost with Budgets

One of the common challenges for Biotech startups is controlling costs, especially when you are close to the next funding round.

There are two effective strategies for cost containment:

Understand your monthly burn rate by keeping track of all purchases.

Manage the cost through budgets so the employees can’t go over the budget.

The monthly spend trend report in ProcureDesk helps you understand your monthly burn rate.

The budget modules help you set up the cost control you need for managing ongoing costs.

Here is how the budget module helps you with cost control:

Setup the budget

ProcureDesk allows you to set up multi-level granular budgets.

The finance team can set up a budget based on the GL code and Department or Class (In case you use QuickBooks)

Or you can create your own structure.

For example, you should set different budgets for each research milestone and the experiments required under that.

You could go with generic Budgets for other non-lab supplies-related items—for example, budget for office supplies or outside legal counsel.

Whatever your needs are, ProcureDesk’s flexible budget accommodate can accommodate that needs.

Here is an example of the budget setup:

Budget setup
Budget setup

In this case, we have a two-level budget. The overall budget is split by the GL code and then into departments.

Enable budget controls

Once you enable the budget, the next step is to control the budget behavior.

In other words, you must decide what happens when the budget is exhausted.

Budget control settings

Here are a couple of options:

You can stop the purchase from happening. That is, the employee can’t make the purchase if there is no budget available.

You can allow the employees to go over the budget up to a certain threshold-for example, 10% over budget.

You can show them a warning and route the request for additional approvals.

Employee selects the correct budget

Once the setup is complete, the employees get real-time budget visibility.

When submitting a purchase request, the requester can select the appropriate budget.

The requester can then see the available budget amount and submit the purchase for approval.

The manager can see the current budget utilization and confidently approve the purchase. The real-time budget visibility ensures that you stay within budget.

Here is a manager view of budget:

Approver view of the budgets

4. A multi-channel and multi-level approval workflow

ProcureDesk offers a flexible workflow engine that allows you to create multi-step workflows and makes the process easier.

The finance team can define the multiple steps based on the approval threshold or what the scientists are purchasing.

Most of our clients use a workflow that routes the purchase to the lab manager and then to finance if it exceeds a set threshold.

For example, anything less than $500 doesn’t need any approval.

Anything more than $500 should be approved by the director of operations.

And if the purchase amount is greater than $5,000, it needs to be approved by the VP of operations.

Many purchasing tools allow employees to pick their approvers.

Though the approach seems flexible, it causes a compliance nightmare. If you let users choose who should approve the purchase, there is no way to ensure that the purchase gets approved at the appropriate level.

With ProcureDesk, you can set up the workflow and forget about compliance.

Here is an example of how you can easily set up the workflow:

Setting up an approval workflow in ProcureDesk

And once you configure the workflow, the system automatically displays the workflow to the user based on the pre-defined conditions.

Here is an example of how the user sees the workflow.


ProcureDesk’s workflow engine provides multiple options for approvals.

The approver has the following options.

Approve by logging in to the application

Here is how that works:

Approver Dashboard for faster approvals

This is an example of a user approval dashboard where the user can see all purchases that are pending approval.

So if you are someone who only does approvals once a day, this is a perfect way to efficiently approve the purchases.

Using email

The system sends email notifications to the approvers.

But you can also approve from the email.

ProcureDesk creates a hot link in every email and the user can click on that to Approve or Reject the purchase.

You don’t need to log in to the system to approve a purchase.

Using Mobile app

The mobile app provides the flexibility you need to do approvals on the go.

The mobile app allows you to review and approve a pending purchase request easily.

Here is an example of mobile approval.

Mobile app for approvals
Mobile app for approvals

5. Granular vendor order tracking

If you are tracking orders in an excel spreadsheet, you will love this feature!

ProcureDesk procurement software not only automates the purchase order dispatch process and provides different ways to track purchase orders through their lifecycle.

You of course get a single dashboard to track all purchase order requests.

Here is an example of the central dashboard:

Purchase order Dashboard

Unlike Quartzy,  this is a central place to track all purchase orders and not just the order for lab supplies.

After the system issues the purchase order to the vendor, the system helps you to track the following:

Order acknowledgment

With order acknowledgment, you can track if the vendor has received the purchase order and whether the vendor can ship the product on time.

In the current uncertain supply chain, it isn’t easy to track what is available and what is currently on backorder.

Order acknowledgment allows you to capture this information from the vendor and make it accessible with the click of a button.

Here is an example of order acknowledgment:

Purchase order acknowledgment

Order Status

When the vendor ships the product, you can track the status in real-time without the need to go to different vendor websites and track the status,

With the built-in tracking of the orders, you can easily track the delivery of the product.

With ASN (Advance Shipment Notification), the vendor can provide the tracking information and the system tracks the purchase order for you.

The system checks the order status and sends you an email when the order status changes.

Here is an example of the order status:


Goods receipt note

One of the challenges for many AP teams is that they need to spend a lot of time chasing employees to confirm if the invoice is good to pay.

In most cases, they are just waiting for a confirmation from the stakeholder that they have received the order.

With the built-in GRN (Goods Receipt Note) capabilities, it is easy to keep track of deliveries.

The ProcureDesk Mobile app makes it easier to create a receipt by taking a picture of the packaging slip.

Better order tracking helps with better inventory management and supplier management.

6. Detailed spend analysis for tracking spending

One of the challenges for Biotech companies is tracking the burn rate to keep an accurate spending forecast and manage their fundraising cycles.

There are many inbuilt reports in ProcureDesk that helps the finance team keeps track of the purchase commitments.

Here is an example of a monthly burn rate report.

Monthly Spend Trend

This report shows the month-over-month spending trend or any spikes in the spending trend as a result of large capital purchases.

If you want to track current commitments and what is still pending to be invoiced, the open order report provides you with just that.

The open order report allows you to see all the open order amount (committed amount), what is invoiced and what is still pending to be invoiced.

Here is an example of open order report:

Open Order Report

You can use this information to track the remaining amount pending invoicing and build a cash flow statement.

This will help you to predict your working capital requirements accurately.

7. Inventory management and tracking

The central order tracking allows you to keep track of all the purchase orders.

But what if multiple people are ordering the same item and they are duplicating the orders?

That is where the inventory tracking module allows Lab managers to track the inventory status accurately.

Every time you receive an item in ProcureDesk, it updates the on-hand quantity of the inventory.

That allows you to track the inventory in real-time.

Here is an example of a central inventory tracking dashboard:

ProcureDesk Inventory Module

You can track on-hand inventory, min and max levels, and the re-order level for inventory.

If you want to track the inventory valuation, the inventory reports provide just that.


In this example, you can see all the stocked items, their stocking levels at each location, and the total value of the inventory.

You can use the average, LIFO(Last In First Out), or FIFO(First In First Out) method for inventory valuations.

If you want to track who is using the inventory, the release process allows you to do that.

With releases, you can track the inventory issuance to different scientists or allocation to different projects/experiments.

Here is an example of an inventory release:


8. Integration with the accounting software

If your purchasing system doesn’t integrate with your accounting system, you are duplicating the work for your AP team.

Let’s suppose that you use QuickBooks online for your accounting and the Bills are directly uploaded into QBO.

Now, if you create the purchase order in a different system, you need to manually create the purchase orders in QBO and upload an invoice against that.

You also need to make sure that the cost is booked to the correct cost center.

So, if the purchase order is coded to a GL, class, or project code, you need that in your accounting system.

ProcureDesk makes the integration seamless by automating the integration process for you.

ProcureDesk automatically syncs the chart of accounts, suppliers, classes, project codes, and other cost fields that you need from your accounting system to book the cost at the right cost center.

Not only that, ProcureDesk automatically syncs the purchase order to the accounting system so that you don’t have to export and import the data manually.

No more exports and imports, the purchase order data is automatically synced to QuickBooks.

ProcureDesk supports integration with the following systems:

  1. QuickBooks Online
  2. QuickBooks Enterprise
  3. Xero
  4. Oracle NetSuite
  5. Sage Intacct
  6. Microsoft Business Central
  7. Bill.com

Quarzty overview


Quartzy provides a single platform to track your lab supplies management. It provides the request workflow and inventory management so that you can order and track lab supplies in one single system.

Quartzy is designed to support purchasing from the Quartzy marketplace.

So if all you do is purchase lab supplies from the vendors already part of the Quartzy marketplace, then it is the perfect solution.

However, if you are looking for a purchasing system where you can track all purchases and not only lab supplies from limited vendors, then Quartzy is not a good fit.

If you want to use Quartzy for all purchases, you can still use its purchase request form but it needs extra work. It needs to be integrated with a purchasing system like ProcureDesk to issue purchase orders to vendors that are not part of the Quartzy marketplace.

Key features:

Here are the key features of the Quartzy platform:

Purchase requests


With the built-in request feature, scientists can easily request the supplies they need to run their experiments.

The request can be first routed to the lab manager for approval before a purchase order is placed with Quartzy.

Quartzy allows you to create customized forms, which scientists can use to place requests.

The purchase request form is very simple. All the scientists have to do is enter the catalog number, and the system populates the description and price.

This only works if the vendor is in the Quartzy marketplace.

There is no place to add additional cost fields like class, projects, etc.

Once the request is created, scientists or lab managers can send it for approval.

Quartzy allows you to define thresholds below which no approvals are required.

Once the managers approve the request, the order is issued to Quartzy.

If you use a third-party vendor that Quartzy does not support, you need a different process to issue the purchase order.

Quartzy Marketplace

Quartzy has a marketplace of 1800 vendors.

The marketplace is nothing but a giant catalog of items the Quartzy sells through its marketplace.

That makes it easier to select an item and not have to type in the item details, pricing, and so on.

Quartzy also keeps the inventory of these items at its two warehouse locations.

That makes it easier for the purchasing team to see the product’s availability before ordering it.

The marketplace is very convenient for a lab that is just getting started and doesn’t want to deal directly with the vendors.

Reading the online reviews, some customers prefer that model, and some complain that the pricing is not transparent and you end up paying more to Quartzy.

Now, if you have special pricing with the vendor that is already on the marketplace, then you can’t purchase through Quartzy, but you need to issue a separate purchase order.

That makes the tracking process cumbersome.

Inventory tracking


For the items that are ordered through Quartzy, you can easily track the inventory of those items.

You can set up locations and sub-locations to stock the items.

Quartzy also allows you to add custom fields to the inventory details to capture additional information like serial numbers.

If you are just getting started and want to upload the current inventory, there is an import feature that allows you to upload the existing inventory.


Quartzy is a great tool for lab supplies. With its integration with 1800 vendors, it provides a convenient way to purchase items from vendors that are part of its marketplace.

However, if you are looking for a complete solution that allows you to capture all spending, including lab supplies, then ProcureDesk is the right choice for streamlining your procurement operations.

You can still set up your own marketplace with your preferred vendors. ProcureDesk’s punchout process allows you to see the entire vendor catalog and not only limited items.

More importantly, you control the pricing discussion with the vendor.

If you are able to negotiate a better price with the vendor, all power to you!

Keep the savings because we don’t resell any items.

You purchase directly from the vendor, which offers you more control over your purchasing process.

So if you are ready to supercharge your Biotech purchasing process, click on the link below to schedule a demo with our product specialist.

What you should do now

Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways we can help you scale your purchasing and Accounts payable process.

  1. Claim your Free Strategy Session. If you’d like to work with us to implement a process to control spending, and spend less time matching invoices, claim your Free Strategy Session. One of our process experts will understand your current purchasing situation and then suggest practical strategies to reduce the purchase order approval cycle.
  2. If you’d like to know the maturity of your purchasing process, download our purchasing process grader and identify exactly what you should be working on next to improve your purchasing and AP process.
  3. If you’d like to enhance your knowledge about the purchasing process, check out our blog or Resources section.
  4. If you know another professional who’d enjoy reading this page, share it with them via email, Linkedin, Twitter.