Challenging the Preconceptions of E-Auctions

There is a common misconception that e-Auctions are all about price, leaving little consideration to quality or terms of supply. Whilst price often does dictate the leading bid, clients are in no way obligated to award the contract to the lowest bidder, as ultimately the client will have other requirements to fulfil. As is typical with any auction, the nature of the bidding process encourages competition, however the key to a successful auction is to ensure specification and quality requirements are clear and agreed from the offset for all involved.

Procure4 Head of Food & Beverage Procurement Hannah Kirton explains: “e-Auctions are a proven procurement tool, providing robust pricing alongside competitive, sustainable contracts on a range of spend areas. Whilst often used across the low complexity, tactical spend areas, an e-Auction can be run on any category so long as there is a defined scope, clear specifications and full terms agreed in advance by all participants.” Having successfully run e-Auctions for a range of clients across sectors including Private and Public Sector Healthcare, Casual Dining, Hospitality & FM, Hannah outlines her five key benefits to an e-Auction;

  1. Speed

Once the auction type is decided (English Reverse, Japanese, Dutch), e-Auctions are quick and easy to set up compared to other techniques.  Requests for proposals (RFP’s), full tender processes and face to face negotiations can take up weeks of elapsed time whereas a typical e-Auction can run in 20-30 minutes.

  1. Transparency

e-Auctions provide complete transparency for suppliers and the client with a visible audit trail. As suppliers are competing directly with each other in a live environment, they gain a useful benchmark as to where they sit within the market as well as other market knowledge. Suppliers are also aware of exactly what is expected and what they are bidding to provide. 

  1. Relationship building

Transparency from the offset helps ensure a sustainable relationship with the awarded supplier throughout the contract. Also, smaller or less well-known businesses have the opportunity to compete on a level playing field in an e-Auction, enabling them the opportunity to break into new sectors.

  1. Best result

When the results of an RFP/tender process are not considered favourable, an e-Auction may be run to ensure suppliers are offering their most competitive bid. This provides clients with a true sense of what the best market price available is, which may have been previously unknown.

  1. Feedback

Suppliers will gain an understanding of where they sit in the market in real time. Procure4 also provides all suppliers with full individual feedback after each e-Auction, which they can use to their benefit for future tender opportunities.

Procure4 run e-Auctions act as an accelerator for the broader procurement process. Prior to each e-auction, Procure4 identifies and engages with suitable suppliers, carries out market assessments and reviews specifications, as well as setting the timelines and scope for the auction in advance. Communication with both the client and potential suppliers is critical to the success of any e-Auction. On occasion, suppliers will be required to submit RFP’s in order to set the starting prices. In addition, full supplier training is given via a test auction to ensure all participants are clear and comfortable with the process.

Procure4 is passionate about engaging suppliers who can meet the changing and demanding needs of our clients. We work with businesses who are dynamic, proactive and who consistently tailor their solutions to deliver additional value, quality and service. Click HERE to learn more.


[An e-Auction is an electronic auction in which a number of suppliers compete against each other in real-time via a cloud-based platform. Although there are different types of auctions, they all create an environment where suppliers bid against each other in order to win a contract.]

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