Category Archives: Auctions

SourceDogg dogs the Sourcing Process so You Don’t Have To!

SourceDogg was founded over a decade ago (in 2009 in Ireland, with the UK subsidiary opening a decade ago in 2013) by founders from the construction industry who decided they just didn’t have any good tools for sourcing products and managing suppliers. Since then, it has evolved into a full indirect Source-to-Contract application for requesting (intake support) and sourcing products (and services) (through traditional RFX and e-Auction), managing suppliers (with information, relationship, compliance, performance, and development support), and managing contracts for customers across a wide range of industries, including a strong customer base in manufacturing, pharma / health-care, and CPG/F&B.

Like the majority of modern Source-to-Contract applications, it is a fully SaaS-based product that can also be integrated with your organization’s ERP to pull supplier and product data, especially on initial product deployment. And, like the majority of modern Source-to-Contract applications, it has a fully functional Supplier Portal that allows suppliers to fully interact with all of the sourcing, management, and contracting processes employed by the organization.

The process starts with intake, where an organizational user can request a product or request a supplier. When a user needs a new product, they can go to the web portal and select the appropriate option (by clicking on the appropriate tile) that lets them do a general product request or a request in particular categories defined by the organization. When they make a general request, the application walks them through the process (using wizard-like functionality) to collect the appropriate information on category, volume, expected cost, requirements, etc. so that a buyer can kick off the appropriate sourcing process. Category specific requests function similarly, but are designed to minimize the process steps and information required for commonly requested categories. Now, if you’re using our core requirements for intake, as defined in Part 37 of our Source-to-Pay+ series Investigating Intake – Diving in to the Details, it’s not quite a full intake platform as there’s no budget tracking and process visibility (and in-process messaging depends on whether or not the requester is made a member of the sourcing event team), but it’s better than what many traditional sourcing platforms offer with respect to intake (if they even offer intake at all). Plus, SourceDogg is continually improving their product and we do expect their intake capabilities will continue to improve over time.

From intake, we move onto sourcing which supports full, multi-round, e-RFX and e-Auction with all of the typical functionality that you expect. One thing that stands out is their ability to include matrices (and built-in formulas) in not only the quotation fields, but all forms and elements of the process, allowing the organization to collect matrix options for product/packaging configurations, team configurations (on services), compliance/certification options, and so on.

As expected, setting up an event in SourceDogg is super easy. You define the typical sourcing event meta data (name, description, products, team, internal budget estimates, scoring system, etc.), create the content (forms and bid matrices), invite the suppliers (who need to already be defined/onboard in the core supplier management module), create the FAQ (which can be extended as needed during the process), and release it into the wild. (Suppliers can then login to their portal upon receiving the notification and fill it out within the designated window. If the bid sheets or data collection forms are complex, they can be output or collected using every Purchaser’s favourite tool and format, Microsoft Excel.) When the event concludes, the responses can be viewed, various side-by-side reports generated (and output to multiple standard formats including DOCX, PDF, and, of course, Microsoft Excel), responses scored, and final decision(s) recorded in the tool (and an email auto-generated and sent to the winning supplier[s] if desired). There is also the ability to capture notes at a question level (by individual who reviewed/scored the response), the supplier level, and the project level.

e-Auctions are setup similarly, and, as expected, run for a much shorter time. The degree of feedback presented to the suppliers depends on the configuration. Upon event completion, the platform automatically generates reports ranking the bidders on cost or, if the event was preceded by an RFI/RFP with a qualitative component, on a weighted score. (And, of course, the buyer can always go in and view the complete bid history.) Note that the Q&A feature can be used to post updates during the auction to all suppliers, a supplier group associated with a lot, or just a specific supplier who asked a question or obviously needs guidance.

Supplier Management consists of four primary modules: Supplier (Information) Management (SIM), Supplier Relationship Management (SRM), Supplier Performance Management (SPM), and Action Plans.

Let’s start with Supplier (Information) Management. The system tracks all the core supplier meta-data you would expect as well as all associated contacts, product data sheets, RFX and other data from specific collection effort (from SRM, SPM, or Development Actions) responses, certifications, contracts (including full version history support), other relevant documents (the organization wishes to track), and any critical notes. It also maintains a full-history of interaction with the supplier that can be viewed and queried as well as allowing the supplier to be tagged using category and location tags (that can be defined by both the buyer and supplier.

The Supplier Relationship Management module allows the organization to define supplier reviews, track the results of those reviews, and define actions to be completed by the supplier and followed up on by buyer personnel when the supplier indicates the action has been taken. It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done efficiently, and that’s what’s important.

The Supplier Performance Management module allows the organization to design and track KPIs and supplier scorecards in support of processes to measure, analyze and manage supplier performance. The scorecards can be simple or complex across a wide range of metrics and categories. It really depends on what data the organization has and is willing to collect (through surveys) or enter into the application. (At present, it does not integrate with risk/etc. data feeds out of the box, but if these feeds are pushed into your ERP and associated with suppliers and products, that data can be pulled in.) Creating a Performance Review is easy. Once simply creates an instance, and a record for every area, sub-area, and rating that one wants to record. The review can then be sent to as many team members as you want and they can be limited to rating specific areas, sub-areas, or records, as appropriate.

The Action Plans module allows for the creation of specific improvement plans and non-conformance reports for a supplier that needs to improve generally or specifically on one product. The Action Plan modules supports multiple default plans (called forms) that can be used to quickly an initiate a new action plan. The forms can be used as is or modified to the appropriate situation, and the monitoring team can include as many organizational personnel as required. Once a supplier responds, the team can then accept or reject the response, and once all responses have been accepted, the response can be approved and archived. If performance slips or the issue comes up again, an action plan can also be “reactivated” and parts, or all, of the plan kicked-off again.

Layered on top of all of the supplier related modules is a supplier visualization dashboard for non-procurement organizational users and executives that make it really easy to get statistics on organizational suppliers (total, approved, by-size [SME, MM, Large], by type [Product, Services, Subcontractor]) and filter down by category & sub-category, status, and other key identifiers as well as see the (subset of) suppliers on a map. From this primary visualization screen, the user can jump into individual supplier records (with key performance dashboards also displayed)

The contracts module, which revolves around contract governance, is very straight-forward and easy to use as well. Contracts can be grouped by area for easy human location, searched on key metadata and tags, and viewed within the tool. The default meta data is fairly extensive (and can be extended by the organization on implementation) and should capture all of the key information necessary to locate a contract, track expiry, track key terms, and track key clauses. While there’s nothing fancy about the contracts module, we want to re-iterate just how straight-forward it is for an average user to add a contract (addendum or updated version), define or edit the metadata, and locate any contract in the system quickly and easily. Some of the more advanced CLM tools focussed around negotiation support or analytics lose sight of the fact that the average person who needs to retrieve a contract is not a Procurement or Legal or Technology super user and just need a system that follows the KISS principle.

The entire suite also contains a fully modifiable tile-based entry dashboard that allows an average user to define the parts of the application they use, as well as any customized intake forms or application modules, organize them by frequency of access, and see which modules have updated information or new actions assigned to them.

This fully modifiable tile-based entry dashboard with alerts is also the first thing a supplier sees when they login to the platform (and, to complete the tri-fecta, a non-Procurement organizational stakeholder who needs to make a Procurement request, review an RFX, or participate in a supplier development initiative). While simplistic, this is a key feature as you can ensure that supplier or organizational users are not overwhelmed with over-crowded dashboards or 40 menu items they will never use (and likely never understand).

The application is also highly configurable by the client admin who can define the organizational profile and branding, the settings, the certifications it requires from all its suppliers, data-sheet categories, security settings, users and user categories, guides (which can also have an access tile on a main dashboard), default fields for core system objects (requisitions, auctions, supplier profiles, contracts, action plan forms, etc.), supplier onboarding workflow, tags and tag groups, SourceDogg Connect (for ERP and/or organizational data feed pulls), etc. Plus, the SourceDogg team can make additional customizations across the product during implementation and support initial data loads as required.

Finally, they have extensive support guides and courses on their customer web site to help you extract maximum value from the platform. (And those constant iOS/Android action required alerts will dog you through the process of getting things done.) If you’re a SME or MM company looking for a modern best-of-breed S2C (Source-to-Contract) suite (especially in construction/facilities, manufacturing, pharma / health, O&G, CPG, and F&B) to get the job done, SourceDogg is a platform we suggest that you check out.

Serex Procurement: Easy e-Auctions for the Small Enterprise and Lower Mid-Market

Serex Procurement is a point-based solution with one purpose: to replace the spreadsheet that most e-Procurement departments in smaller companies still use to manage their procurement (as well as eliminate the thousands of emails needed to collect prices and update that spreadsheet).

You might ask why, with so many auction-centric mini-suites available on the market, and over 70 e-Sourcing solutions available, we would focus on a niche solution centred around e-Auctions, request-for-price, and centralized buyer-supplier communications. The answer is simple — not every Procurement department is supporting a large enterprise and not every Procurement department needs advanced functionality, a mini-suite, or a pricey solution with bells and whistles they aren’t going to (be ready to) use at the current state of their Procurement evolution.

It may be 2023, but there are a still a large number of Procurement departments still running Procurement events from a spreadsheet, still stuck with an archaic ERP, and, especially in the small enterprise / mid-market, still burdened with a very limited budget for Sourcing and Procurement software. Furthermore, for these departments, this single step up is sometimes everything they need from an e-Sourcing perspective at the current step of their e-Procurement journey which gives them incredible value today. (And, as per our stance that what Procurement needs is a platform that allows them to add one module at a time on their digitization journey, it’s the puzzle piece they need right now.) Also, there are organizations that bought into super suites that have an end-to-end Source-to-Pay process but no auctions, an archaic process that doesn’t support quick and easy auctions, or a user-based licensing model that prevents roll-out to the entire organization. For these organizations, a point-based auction solution with an API that supports data pull and award push through the API (or fixed-format spreadsheets where the current solutions don’t support a modern API) is exactly what they need.

Plus, the blended pricing model Serex Procurement offers makes it very affordable for companies with no budget to start on a gain share and, once the value is proven, move to a fixed price model with no gain share. More specifically, an organization can sign up for as little as $300/month by giving up 50% of their savings, or get unlimited events with 0% gain-share for $5,000/month. (Or pick a tier somewhere in between — Sourcing Innovation recommends doing the math based on the conservative end of the estimated savings on the events you will be running and picking the tier appropriately.) Furthermore, while there is a minimum contract term, an organization can upgrade their tier at any time during the contract term (once they are confident they’ll save more by upping the tier.)

The fully SaaS e-Auction solution has all of the core capability you’d expect from a modern SaaS e-Auction platform, and then some. One of the key differentiators is that the platform is SKU-based and supports the definition of SKU groups in a manner that makes it just as easy to source a direct Bill of Materials as it is to source an indirect lot of office supplies. Not many sourcing/auction platforms make it easy to do both, but Serex Procurement does.

In addition to product groups, the platform also allows the definition of bidder groups which allows an organization to group suppliers that it typically invites for a certain category (indirect) or Bill of Materials (direct). Combine this with the fact that an auction can be defined on a set of product groups and bidder groups, and this makes it extremely quick to define a new auction from scratch, and even quicker to define a new auction as a copy of a historical auction, as this only requires changing the start and end dates and times to make the copy. (Once the copy is made, a buyer can edit whatever they wish.)

As we indicated above, the auction platform supports the standard parameters you would expect, including:

  • start and end time
  • auto-extension of y minutes with a bid in the last x minutes
  • show/hide bidder position
    by setting to “hide”, the platform can be used as a simple request for price
  • tie bids accepted/rejected
  • bid increment
  • max bidder position
  • bid validation window
  • landing factors (% of savings required to leave an incumbent to acknowledge switching costs;
    basically it is a penalty factor on new suppliers)
  • shipping factor (to acknowledge additional transportation costs / currency exchange costs)
  • product yields (to account for variable wastage due to packaging/sizing)

It also supports new bidder definition, new product definition, import from spreadsheet or API for bidder or product definition, and Excel-based bidding for suppliers. Product sheets can be uploaded and attached with as little or as much information as needed, and in-platform messaging allows for easy direct or group-based communication between the buyer and suppliers.

The platform allows the buyer to setup as many email / message templates as they like, to make supplier communications quick and easy as events are created / modified. It’s also very easy to search products, bidders, and past events (to find the perfect instance of the event to copy for quick setup).

When you think about its intended market, about the only thing missing is better quick-hit RFP functionality, as the way you do it now is to set up a private price-based auction. Since they already have document management, bid sheet support, supplier and messaging support, and history management, it would be quite simple to add easy three-bids-and-a-buy RFPs where suppliers can get requests, upload their own options to fulfill a request as well as corresponding prices (at different volume breaks), and provide more detailed information and the buyer can then select one or more to either direct award to or invite to an auction with pre-certified options. Serex has acknowledged that this would be useful, and is in their queue for future development, but they are very customer driven and the queue gets prioritized based upon what current customers are asking for. However, should multiple customers converge on this, it would not take them very long to build it as they have three decades of software development and implementation experience (with the first 20 years in CRM system selection, implementation, and custom integration add/on development — an area their other division are still leading experts in).

If you are in the market niche, we strongly encourage you to check Serex Procurement out as you can get a great, unlimited use, e-Auction solution for a few thousand a month (plus modest gain share, or unlimited use platform for only 5K/month) without the need to bite off more than you can chew solution capability (and cost) wise.

The 39 Steps … err … The 39 Clues … err … The 39 Part Series to Help You Figure Out Where to Start with Source-to-Pay

Figuring out where to start is not easy, and often never where the majority of vendors or consultants say you should start. They’ll have great reasons for their recommendations, which will typically be true, but they will be the subset of reasons that most benefits them (as it will sell their solution), and not necessarily the subset of reasons that most benefits you now. While you will likely need every module there is in the long run, you can often only start with one or two, and you need to focus on what’s the greatest ROI now to prove the investment and help you acquire funds to get more capability later, when you are ready for it. But figuring out how much you can handle, what the greatest needs are, and the necessary starting points aren’t easy, and that’s why SI dove into this topic, with arguments and explanations and module overviews, both broader and deeper than any analyst firm or blogger has done before. Enjoy!

Introductory Posts:
Part 1: Where Do You Start?
Part 2: Where Should You Start?
Part 3: You Start with …
Part 4: e-Procurement, and Here’s Why.

e-Procurement
Part 5: Defining an e-Procurement Baseline
Part 6: There are Barriers to Selecting an e-Procurement Solution (and they are not what you think)
Part 7: Over 70 e-Procurement Companies to Check Out

Interlude 1
Part 8: What Comes Next?

Spend Analysis
Part 9: Time for Spend Analysis
Part 10: What Do You Need for A Spend Analysis Baseline, I
Part 11: What Do You Need for A Spend Analysis Baseline, II
Part 12: Over 40 Spend Analysis Vendors to Check Out

Interlude 2
Part 13: But I Can’t Touch the Sacred Cows!
(including Over 20 SaaS, 10 Legal, and 5 Marketing Spend Management / Analysis Companies to Check Out)
Part 14: Do Not Stop At Spend Analysis!

Supplier Management
Part 15: Supplier Management is a CORNED QUIP Mash
Part 16: Supplier Management A-Side
Part 17: Supplier Management B-Side
Part 18: Supplier Management C-Side
Part 19: Supplier Management D-Side
Part 20: Over 90 Supplier Management Companies to Check Out

Contract Management
Part 21: Time for Contract Management
Part 22: Contract Management is a NAG: Let’s Start with Negotiation
Part 23: Contract Management is a NAG: Let’s Continue with [Contract]Analytics
Part 24: Contract Management is a NAG: Let’s End with [Contract] Governance
Part 25: Over 80 Contract Management Vendors to Check Out

e-Sourcing
Part 26: Time for e-Sourcing
Part 27: Breaking Down the ORA of Sourcing Starting With RFX
Part 28: Breaking Down the ORA of Sourcing Continuing with e-Auctions
Part 29: Breaking Down the ORA of Sourcing Ending with [Strategic Sourcing Decision] Optimization
Part 30: Over 75 e-Sourcing Vendors to Check Out!

Invoice-to-Pay (I2P):
Part 31: Time for Invoice-to-Pay
Part 32: Breaking Down the Invoice-to-Pay Core
Part 33: Over 75 Invoice-to-Pay Companies to Check Out

Orchestration:
Part 34: How Do I Orchestrate Everything?
Part 35: Do I Intake, Manage, or Orchestrate?
Part 36: Over 20 Intake, [Procurement] [Project] Management, and/or Orchestration Companies to Check Out
Part 37: Investigating Intake By Diving In to the Details
Part 38: Prettying Up the Project with Procurement Project Management
Part 39: Deobfuscating the Orchestration and Fitting it All Together

Source-to-Pay+ is Extensive (P30) … And Sourcing IS Very Extensive … So Here Are 75 e-Sourcing Companies to Check Out!

And now the next post you’ve all been waiting for! A partial, starting, list of 75 e-Sourcing providers that may (or may not) meet some, or many, of the core baseline capabilities we outlined in the last three parts of this series (Part 27, Part 28, and Part 29) as we discussed the Optimization, RFX, and Auction sides of e-Sourcing today.

As with our lists of e-Procurement Companies (in Part 7), Spend Analysis Companies (in Part 12), Sacred Cow Companies that do, or support, customized “spend” analysis on Marketing, Legal, and SaaS (in Part 13), Supplier Management Companies (in Part 20), and Contract Management Companies (in Part 25), we must again give our disclaimer that this list is in no-way complete (as no analyst is aware of every company), is only valid as of the date of posting (as companies sometimes go out of business and acquisitions happen all of the time in our space), and does NOT include any e-Procurement vendors that support simple requisition or quick-quote capability to select vendors already in the system as that is not how we defined RFX capability.

Furthermore, as we’ve said before, not all vendors are equal, and we’d venture to say NONE of the following are equal. The companies below are of all sizes (very small to very large, relative to vendor sizes in our space), cover the baseline differently (in terms of percentage of features offered, the various degrees of depth in the feature implementations, and differing levels of customization for a vertical), offer different additional features, have different types of service offerings (backed up by different expertise), focus on different company sizes, and focus on different technology ecosystems (such as plugging into other platforms/ecosystems, serving as the core platform for certain functions or data, offering a plug-and-play module for a larger ecosystem, focussing on the dominant technology ecosystem(s) in one or more verticals), etc.

Do your research, and reach out to an expert for help if you need it in compiling a starting short list of relevant, comparable, vendors for your organization and its specific needs. For many of these vendors, good starting points can again be found in the Sourcing Innovation archives, Spend Matters Pro, and Gartner Cool Vendor write-ups if any of these sources has a write-up on the vendor.

Company LinkedIn
Employees
HQ (State)
Country
Optimization RFX Auction
Aestiva 17 California, USA R
Archlet 46 Switzerland O R
Aufait 114 India R
Bamboo Rose 205 Massachusetts, USA R
Bideg 3 Turkey A
Bonfire 87 Ontario, USA R
Claritum 8 United Kingdom R
Cloudia 40 Finland R
Cobblestone Software 131 New Jersey, USA R
Corcentric 588 New Jersey, USA R
cosmoONE 20 Greece R A
Coupa 3674 California, USA O R A
Deep Stream 25 United Kingdom R A
Delta eSourcing ?? United Kingdom R
ebidToPay ?? Bavaria R
Elcom 18 United Kingdom R A
eSupplier 6 Dubai R A
FairMarkit 161 Massachusetts, USA R
FullStep 128 Spain R
GEP 4650 New Jersey, USA O R A
Intenda 111 South Africa R
Ion Wave 22 Missouri, USA R A
ISPnext 59 Netherlands R
Ivalua 849 Ivalua O R A
Jaggaer 1266 North Carolina, USA O R A
K2 Sourcing 10 Wisconsin, USA R A
Keelvar 117 Cork, Ireland O R A
LevaData 58 California, USA O R
LGX Corporation ?? North Carolina, USA O R
LiveSource 7 Georgia, USA R
loopio 304 Ontario, Canada R
Market Dojo 34 United Kingdom R
MarketPlanet 72 Poland R A
Medius 562 Sweden R A
Merlin Sourcing 29 Germany R A
MySupply 15 Germany O R
NegoMetrix (Mercell) ?? Netherlands R A
Newtron 54 Germany R A
Oalia 22 France R
Oboloo 6 United Kingdom R
One Market (LogicSource) 307 Connecticut, USA R
One More Source ?? Bulgaria R
Onventis 129 Germany R A
Pantavanij 213 Thailand A
Penny Software 35 Saudi Arabia R
PostRFP ?? United Kingdom R
PratisPro (SabancıDx) ?? Turkey R A
Proactis 557 United Kingdom R
ProcurementFlow 5 Estonia R
ProcurePort 8 Indianapolis, USA R A
ProcureWare (Bentley Systems) 4830 Pennsylvania, USA R
Prokuria 8 Romania R A
Promena 20 Turkey R A
Prospeum 6 Germany R
Raindrop 27 Raindrop R
Ready Contracts 243 Australia R
RFP360 20 United States R
SafeSourcing 10 Arizona, USA R
SAP (Ariba) 2963 California, USA O R A
ScanMarket (Unit4) 60 Denmark R A
ScoutRFP 44 California, USA R A
Serex Procurement Solutions ?? Ontario, Canada R
Simfoni (EC Sourcing) 260 California, USA O R A
Sorcity ?? Texas, USA R A
SourceDogg 31 Ireland R
Sourcing Force 4 Ontario, Canada R A
SupplyFrame 310 California, USA R
SupplyOn 239 Germany R A
Synertrade 180 Germany R
TenderEasy (Alpega) 6 Sweden R
The Green RFP ?? Texas, USA R
Trade Interchange 27 United Kingdom R A
Vendorful 14 New York, USA R A
Vortal 188 Portugal R A
Zycus 1464 New Jersey, USA R A

And now, as you probably guessed, it’s on to Invoice-to-Pay in Part 31.

Source-to-Pay+ is Extensive (P28) … Breaking down the ORA of Sourcing, Continuing with (e-)Auctions

In our first post, Part 26, we noted that, after covering e-Procurement, Spend Analysis, Supplier Management, and Contract Management, it was finally time for Strategic Sourcing. When it comes to Sourcing, we have to deal with the ORA et labora. The work, and the prayer (that it gets the results we want). But at least when it comes to the prayer, we have three tools at our disposal:

  • Optimization
  • RFX
  • Auction

Yesterday, in Part 27, we started with the most classic sourcing tool, RFX, where RFX stands for Request for X, where X could be Bid, Information, Proposal, Quote, etc. depending on the depth of response required and the terminology used in the industry and geography the RFX is being issued in.

The primary alternative to RFX is e-Auction. In e-Auction, instead of asking for quotes which will be reviewed in a long, detailed, often weighted process, you’re asking for real-time quotes in an online auction where a supplier can update its bids until it self-selects to drop out of the auction.

BASIC

Lot Configuration
Just like surveys were so fundamental and obvious for an RFX solution that you’d think we shouldn’t even need to mention it, lots are so necessary to e-Auctions that we shouldn’t have to mention it either. But while you should trust a solution has configurable lots, you should always verify you can configure and manipulate the lots to suit your needs and your preferred lotting structures for category-based auctions.

Saved Market Baskets
Just like an RFX should support templates so you don’t have to re-create a survey from scratch every time, the e-Auction platform should allow you to define saved market baskets which represent pre-defined lots that can quickly be adjusted as need to set up events quickly. If a category is always sourced in a similar fashion, and the products / services the organization sources don’t change much over time, then a senior buyer should be able to pre-define a market basket for quick lot initiation.

Multiple Auction Types
There are multiple types of auctions — and the system should support a number of formats that may include standard reverse, sealed-bid, reserve-price, fixed price, Japanese, Brazilian, Vickrey, English, Dutch, and Yankee.

Supplier-Specific Views
A supplier should only see the lots they are invited to bid on, should only see the public messages and private messages sent to them, should see everything in a view localized to them, and so on.

Substitution Support
Sometimes a supplier has multiple products that can meet a buyer’s need, or sometimes has an alternate SKU that they believe would also work for the buyer (that requested a specific SKU be bid on) that the supplier could provide at higher quantity, higher quality, or lower cost that the supplier would also like to present. The platform should allow a supplier to define one or more substitutions for each product in a lot that the buyer can choose to consider, or not.

Proxy Support
The internet, like any other system, is not perfect — routers can fail, lines can be cut, providers can temporarily go offline, and so on — it’s as fault tolerant as anything we’ve ever designed in tech, but that doesn’t mean everyone has access all the time. A supplier should be able to define a lead bidder and multiple, ordered, proxies who can take over if the lead bidder cannot connect, or loses connection. The system should allow multiple proxies to be logged in at the same time, but only the lead bidder, or, in the lead bidder’s absence, the highest ranking proxy should be able to bid and every other proxy should be view only.

Messaging
The system must support real time chat with each supplier bidder who has a question as well as group-based broadcast messaging.

ADVANCED

Formula-Based Pricing and/or Bid Modification
Just like a modern RFX solution should support should-cost models, a modern e-Auction solution should support formula based pricing to allow for easy bidding during a short-time frame auction. For example, reduce all bids by 1%, the product cost is x + y% of the current commodity cost for steel per ounce (as the supplier will be buying steel at market price), etc.

Extensive Formatting
An auction, especially one with a short time-frame, needs to be extremely comprehensible to the supplier. As a result, the solution should support extensive formatting so the supplier display can be designed to be as comprehensible, and if necessary, as minimal as possible. This goes beyond just matching a colour scheme, but altering table formats, graphs, defining alternate views, and so on.

Asynchronous Real-Time Graphical Views
If there are lot of items in the lot, or a lot of suppliers in the auction, it can be difficult to understand tabular bids, assuming the bid is not blind, even if the tables are modified to tell a supplier their rank (and some indication of how much they have to bid to go up a rank). It’s often easier for a supplier to understand the current bid situation with a graph, that should automatically update after every bid.

Real Time Supplier Connectivity Monitoring
The platform should continuously monitor whether a bidder is (still) online. Due to the fact that the internet is not perfect, a bidder could lose connection at any time. The platform needs to detect this and if a bidder drops, automatically invite and promote a proxy, and if multiple bidders drop, assume there is a major connectivity problem and suspend the auction for a predefined time, or until the buyer selects a new time.

Constraint Support
A modern e-Auction platform should also support the definition of constraints on the bidding. Minimum decrements, floors, all or nothing on lots, and so on.

Of course, this is not a complete list of what an e-Auction platform might have, or necessarily should have, as systems continue to improve, but a baseline of what they must have to be considered a modern e-Auction solution.

Hi-ho, Hi-ho, now it’s time for “O” in Part 29.