The benefits of eAuctions for sourcing teams | Unit4
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The benefits of eAuctions for sourcing teams

from  September 6, 2022 | 4 min read

An electronic auction (eAuction) is a procurement tool that uses web-based software to allow potential suppliers to compete online, in real-time, to give prices for the goods or services under auction. They can be based on price alone, or other criteria such as quality, delivery, or service levels can also be considered. There are many benefits of e-auctions for both buyers and suppliers. Regardless of your company’s industry, you can utilize e-auctions to obtain the best value on a variety of products and services across categories.

eAuctions help procurement professionals negotiate with more suppliers using a structured process that removes the need for time-consuming one-to-one discussions. They are much more efficient than traditional negotiations and provide process transparency as well as reduce the final price due to increased supplier competition.

The benefits of eAuctions

Reduce cycle times

Reducing the cycle time to source and award services is one of the main benefits of eAuctions over traditional face-to-face negotiations. eAuctions can be conducted in as little as an hour instead of days or even weeks. More importantly, future sourcing events become more standardized and streamlined with the data collected from running eAuctions.

Standardize processes

Standardizing eAuctions is a sourcing best practice that will expedite the entire source-to-contract process from set-up to award. It also provides a documented way for sourcing teams to communicate value and savings to stakeholders.

Streamline negotiations

The negotiation time in an eAuction is shortened from several weeks to around 45 minutes on average – including Q&A – by streamlining communications through the eAuction's messaging functionality. Face-to-face meetings by phone or email should be reserved for clarification of the most critical details.

Post-event reporting

Instead of reviewing notes from multiple face-to-face meetings with several suppliers, a detailed report-out of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) prices expedites the evaluation phase.

Continuous process improvement

eAuctions provide structure and uniformity around the sourcing process, which makes it easier to create a best practices playbook for your team. Buyers can reuse each other’s eAuction templates and create new benchmarks to improve sourcing activities. This ensures a smooth experience and better eAuction outcomes.

Reduce friction

Uniform negotiation procedures reduce friction between buyers and suppliers, resulting in stronger partnerships. When suppliers are approached in the same way regardless of the individual buyer, it helps the supplier know what to expect so both players can come to the table with better-informed expectations.

Improve compliance

With a consistent sourcing process, it becomes easier to coach new buyers on the company’s sourcing best practices, which will increase compliance and reduce costly mistakes. New buyers have access to previously run eAuctions so teams can cross-train on multiple categories. A uniform process of evaluating suppliers also improves compliance. Parameters such as switching costs, penalties, and preferences will be visible in the eAuction, as these must be quantified to run the eAuction on TCO.

Global market insights

Multiple bidders in an eAuction give the buyer better insight into the real price of the product or service. This kind of transparency requires minimal resources and facilitates better planning for future sourcing strategies.

Comparable bids

Every incoming bid in an eAuction is directly comparable, which makes the buyer’s job of evaluating the bids easier. Suppliers in an eAuction know exactly what they are bidding on. No additional factors can be brought into play during the negotiation. On the contrary, there are many different factors brought into play during a face-to-face negotiation, such as service levels, payment terms, quality, and lead times - all of which make it difficult for the buyer to objectively compare suppliers’ prices in the final analysis.

Supplier innovation

The market insight derived from an eAuction is also beneficial for suppliers. Suppliers that don’t win the buyer’s business may optimize and innovate supply chains to increase the chances of a successful outcome in future eAuctions.

Better value

While the lowest cost is often the goal of running an eAuction, obtaining the best value ought to be the primary goal. Cost savings are part of the value proposition of eAuctions when suppliers compete with each other. Research shows that eAuctions, on average, generate savings of 11.10%.

Increased competition

In an online marketplace, more suppliers can participate in the eAuction process. The increased global competition results in significant cost savings for both the buyer and supplier over traditional negotiations. When sourcing is limited to only local or regional suppliers, options become scarce, and so do savings.

Avoid cost increases from incumbent suppliers

eAuctions provide significant leverage for buyers with their incumbent suppliers. Not only will the supplier know that the buyer is exploring alternative suppliers, but it also keeps the supplier’s rates competitive with current market prices.

How can Unit4 by Scanmarket help your organization?

Focus on innovative solutions to your sourcing challenges through a true partnership with your suppliers. Unit4 eAuction by Scanmarket ensures you achieve true market pricing for goods or services, regardless of whether the market itself is rising or falling.

Book a Free Demo now or click here to see our suite of software and to learn more about how we help our customers meet their objectives that generates long-term value.

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