General Electric Capital Corp. unveiled its proprietary purchasing card software this week at a conference of the National Association of Purchasing Managers in Anaheim, Calif.

The software, known as Purchasing and Accounting Reporting and Information System, has been operational since August 1994. GE said other companies using the program include McDonnell Douglas Corp., the defense contractor, and Seagate Technologies, a disk drive manufacturer.

But GE said it wanted to test the system to make sure it was fully stabilized before making an announcement. "We've taken (the software) to the marketplace in direct conversations with prospects and clients," said Mark Miller, senior vice president with GE Capital's Corporate Expense Management Services. "Now, we're having our coming out party."

GE Consumer Card Co. offers a line of corporate cards which will run on the system. Like other purchasing card software on the market, it helps companies save money by streamlining the paper-based purchase order system.

General Electric Co., which spends more than $20 billion per year on supplies ranging from staples to raw materials for manufacturing, has been deploying the purchasing system to its various units.

The GE purchasing products offer daily reporting and ad hoc reporting capability. The software can automatically upload card purchasing information into a company's general ledger accounting system, eliminating manual data entry.

Mr. Miller said the system is more flexible than those of American Express, Visa, and MasterCard. But Robert Levaro, Visa's senior vice president, commercial card products, said his association's system "works exactly the way GE's does."

"While there are technical differences amongst all the systems," he said, "the intelligent use of data is a defining factor on which the different providers will be competing."

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