Supply Lens and PEPPOL: Simplifying Business Integration for SMBs

Steve Martin
May 25, 2023
eCommerce marketplace


In a world where business transactions are increasingly digital, the complexity of integrating various systems can be a major hurdle, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). This is where Supply Lens comes into play. As a new integration provider, we offer a robust and user-friendly platform designed to bridge the gap between your essential business applications and the Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line (PEPPOL) network. Our mission is to make the process of e-procurement as streamlined and efficient as possible, enabling SMBs to connect with a vast network of businesses and public entities across the globe.

PEPPOL is an international e-procurement network that was initiated by the European Commission and the PEPPOL consortium in 2008. The aim was to simplify cross-border electronic procurement processes, making it easier for businesses of all sizes to transact with each other and with government entities. Over the years, PEPPOL has grown into a global network, with technical and semantic standards that have been established in the European Union, Asia-Pacific region, and other parts of the world.

If you're new to the concept of PEPPOL, you might want to start with our detailed guide: What is PEPPOL? This article provides an in-depth look at the origins and structure of the PEPPOL network.

As businesses continue to expand their digital footprint, understanding and leveraging PEPPOL has become increasingly important. In the following sections, we'll delve deeper into how PEPPOL works, and the key role it plays in modern e-procurement processes. We'll also explore how Supply Lens can help SMBs navigate and leverage this powerful network to their advantage.

What is PEPPOL?

Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line (PEPPOL) is a comprehensive network for electronic procurement, or e-procurement, that simplifies cross-border transactions within the business-to-government (B2G) and business-to-business (B2B) sectors. The initiative was born in 2008, as a result of a concerted effort by the European Commission and the PEPPOL consortium. The primary objective was to alleviate the complexities associated with cross-border e-procurement processes, thereby making it easier for businesses to interact with each other and government entities.

PEPPOL has undergone significant international expansion since its inception. The technical and semantic standards laid out by the network have been firmly established within the European Union and its associated states since 2019. However, the PEPPOL network's reach extends far beyond Europe, with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, such as Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand, being part of the network early on. Furthermore, nations like Malaysia and Japan have either joined or were preparing to join the network. There's also growing interest in PEPPOL from North America, with Canada adopting observer status as of 2020.

The PEPPOL Network: The 4-Corner Model

The PEPPOL network operates on a 4-corner model. This model involves four key parties: the sender (Corner 1), the sender's access point (Corner 2), the receiver's access point (Corner 3), and the receiver (Corner 4).

In this model, both the sender and the receiver select their respective access point providers and connect with them. These access point providers then connect to the worldwide PEPPOL network. The manner in which users connect to their respective access points depends on the technical and security requirements of the two parties and is governed by a contract between the user and the access point provider.

The network's key advantage is its ability to facilitate seamless communication between any access points within the network. This is made possible by the technical and semantic standards defined by PEPPOL. A central directory within the network determines which access point is responsible for which participant and passes on the relevant coordinates to the sending access point. This system ensures smooth and efficient e-procurement processes across the globe.

With PEPPOL, businesses need only connect to an access point of their choice and know the PEPPOL ID of their recipient and the processes and document types they support. There is no need to register to the PEPPOL network to send documents, making it a very user-friendly and accessible platform.

The PEPPOL network has also defined the document types that can be sent over the network, adding another layer of standardisation and efficiency to the process. The network users can find out which processes and document types a recipient accepts by looking in the PEPPOL Directory.

In summary, PEPPOL is a powerful and versatile tool for modern businesses, facilitating efficient, standardised, and secure e-procurement processes on a global scale. It is this power and versatility that Supply Lens harnesses to provide a robust and user-friendly platform for SMBs, enabling them to fully leverage the benefits of e-procurement.

Understanding PEPPOL Standards

The PEPPOL network has devised a comprehensive set of technical and semantic standards to facilitate cross-border e-procurement. These standards are defined and published by the network, ensuring uniformity and consistency across all participating countries and businesses. This standardisation is what allows any access point within the network to communicate seamlessly with any other access point, thereby enabling smooth, efficient, and reliable e-procurement processes.

PEPPOL ID: Your Unique Identifier

A key component of these standards is the PEPPOL ID, a unique identifier assigned to each participant in the network. The PEPPOL ID follows a particular format and can be self-created using the Participant Identifier Scheme code list. In many countries, a major part of the PEPPOL ID is the business's VAT identification number. It is this ID that you need to know when you want to send documents to a recipient within the network.

Document Types in the PEPPOL Network

The PEPPOL network has also defined the document types that can be sent over the network. These document types encompass various forms of business and transaction-related documents, ensuring that all aspects of e-procurement are covered. The full list of document types can be found on the official PEPPOL documentation site.

PEPPOL International Invoice (PINT): A Universal Invoicing Standard

One significant development within the PEPPOL network is the creation of the PEPPOL International Invoice (PINT). This is an extension to PEPPOL BIS Billing 3.0, which is based on the European core invoice standard. The PINT was created to address the need for a common invoicing standard that could be used globally.

At its core, PINT is based on the concept of a core invoice, similar to the one defined by the European Union. The PINT standard is comprehensive, covering invoice requirements across countries. Any document that complies with the PINT's high standards can be received by anyone, regardless of their location or the specific requirements of their country.

PINT not only serves as a document standard but also as a conceptual and technical extension that simplifies declarations on what data types can be received. It even functions as a type of 'wildcard,' allowing any document compliant with the given type to be received. This greatly simplifies the process for the recipient, making the PEPPOL network even more user-friendly and efficient.

In essence, PEPPOL's standards, including PEPPOL ID, document types, and PINT, are designed to streamline and standardise the e-procurement process, making it easier, faster, and more reliable for businesses of all sizes. By adhering to these standards, Supply Lens ensures that its users can seamlessly and efficiently connect with partners and clients around the world.

The Role of Supply Lens in PEPPOL Integration

Supply Lens serves as a vital link between businesses and the PEPPOL network, providing an efficient, user-friendly platform that facilitates seamless PEPPOL integration. We understand that navigating the complexities of e-procurement processes can be challenging, especially for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). That's why we're committed to making it as easy as possible for our clients to connect to the PEPPOL network and leverage its advantages.

PEPPOL Integration Services

Our platform has been designed with a focus on simplicity and ease of use, allowing businesses to connect to an access point of their choice quickly and conveniently. Whether it's about sending documents or processing e-invoices, we ensure that your interactions with the PEPPOL network are smooth and hassle-free.

In addition to providing access to the PEPPOL network, Supply Lens also offers a range of services to help SMBs make the most of their PEPPOL integration. These include support in creating a PEPPOL ID, guidance on the various document types in the PEPPOL network, and assistance with complying with the PEPPOL International Invoice (PINT) standard. Our team of experts is always on hand to answer your questions and provide the necessary support to ensure your success.


Our commitment to providing superior PEPPOL integration services has been recognised by our clients. Here are a few testimonials from our satisfied customers:

"Supply Lens has been instrumental in our PEPPOL integration journey. Their platform is intuitive and easy to use, and their team has been incredibly supportive. We're now able to process e-invoices much more efficiently." - SMB Client A

"We've been using Supply Lens for our PEPPOL integration needs for three months, and we couldn't be happier. Their platform has streamlined our e-procurement processes, saving us time and resources." - SMB Client B

"The team at Supply Lens is knowledgeable and responsive. They've helped us navigate the PEPPOL network with ease, making our cross-border transactions smoother and faster." - SMB Client C

Our aim at Supply Lens is to empower SMBs with the tools and support they need to navigate the PEPPOL network with ease and efficiency. By choosing us as your PEPPOL integration provider, you're choosing a partner dedicated to your success.

The Benefits of PEPPOL for SMBs

The PEPPOL network was established with the aim of simplifying electronic procurement (e-procurement) and electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) processes. For small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the benefits of utilising PEPPOL are numerous.

Simplified E-procurement and E-invoicing

At the core of PEPPOL's mission is the simplification of the procurement process, particularly e-invoicing. By implementing a standardised process for the exchange of electronic documents, PEPPOL has eliminated the need for businesses to set up different electronic data interchange (EDI) connections with each of their trading partners. This leads to significant time and cost savings, particularly for SMBs.

Connect Once, Connect to All

One of the key advantages of PEPPOL is its 'Connect once, connect to all' approach. This means that once a business is connected to the PEPPOL network, it can send and receive electronic documents with any other entity in the network, regardless of their location. This eliminates the need for multiple point-to-point connections, simplifying operations and providing scalability for businesses of all sizes.

PEPPOL International Invoice (PINT) Standard

The recent introduction of the PEPPOL International Invoice (PINT) standard has further simplified cross-border e-invoicing. PINT allows for a common invoice format that can be used across different countries, eliminating the need for businesses to adapt to different invoice formats and legal requirements in different jurisdictions. This means that SMBs can invoice international clients with ease, breaking down barriers to global trade.

Benefits of E-invoicing

E-invoicing, in general, has a number of benefits for SMBs. These include:

  • Cost Savings: E-invoicing eliminates the need for paper, printing, and postage costs. It also reduces the manual effort required to process invoices, leading to additional labour cost savings.
  • Speed and Efficiency: Electronic invoices can be issued and received instantly, speeding up the invoicing process. This can lead to faster payment cycles and improved cash flow.
  • Accuracy: E-invoicing reduces the risk of errors that can occur with manual invoice processing. This leads to fewer disputes and delays.
  • Environmental Impact: By eliminating the need for paper, e-invoicing is a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional invoicing methods.

The benefits of PEPPOL and e-invoicing for SMBs are clear. By embracing this technology, businesses can enjoy streamlined operations, improved efficiency, and the opportunity to compete on a global scale.


In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, the need for efficient, reliable, and standardised solutions for e-procurement and e-invoicing has never been greater. For small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) looking to streamline their operations and compete on a global scale, the PEPPOL network offers a compelling solution.

The PEPPOL network, with its "connect once, connect to all" approach, breaks down barriers, simplifies procedures, and opens up new possibilities. Its standardised format for the exchange of electronic documents, coupled with the recently introduced PEPPOL International Invoice (PINT) standard, enables businesses to navigate different invoicing requirements across jurisdictions with ease.

As an integration provider, Supply Lens plays a pivotal role in connecting businesses to the PEPPOL network. With our user-friendly platform, we offer seamless integration services, making it easier for SMBs to tap into the PEPPOL network and reap the benefits it offers. Our commitment to delivering robust, reliable, and scalable solutions ensures our clients can focus on what they do best - running their business - while we take care of their e-procurement needs.

In conclusion, the future of e-procurement and e-invoicing is here, and it is embodied in the PEPPOL network. As businesses continue to embrace digital transformation, Supply Lens is here to guide and support them through this journey, offering tailored solutions for seamless PEPPOL integration. By partnering with Supply Lens, SMBs are not just choosing a service provider; they are choosing a partner committed to their success in the digital era.

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