May 112024

Online Auctions are unmistakably among the hottest e-Sourcing technologies on the Internet business today. But what exactly is an online auction anyway and what are its benefits? According to The Pocket Oxford Dictionary, fourth edition (1942), an auction is a “public sale in which articles are sold to the highest bidder.” And if done on Internet it is online auction.

Online auctions create a competitive advantage because they make it relatively simple for Procurement managers to negotiate on all corporate purchases and create better deals.

Let us see some common myths surrounding online auctions:

MYTH #1: Only very familiar, particular or consistent items can be auctioned:

The myth came into being because no one understood how to measure criteria other than price. Total cost auctions take price and no-price factors, such as delivery time or customer service, into account, and they allow a customer to weight each factor accordingly. This is only a myth because when someone with sourcing expertise takes a creative approach to defining or breaking down the item in question, that item or its components can generally be auctioned.

MYTH # 2: Auctions are only effective when there is a level playing field:

This is false since a level playing field simply doesn’t exist. And, not all suppliers are alike. Face-to-face negotiations have long proven this fact. Procurement managers can now normalize for differences (e.g., customer service, warranty terms, delivery cost, etc.) using Web-based technology. In effect, these technologies measure total cost allow customers to compare apples-to-oranges.

MYTH #3: Only Internet-savvy suppliers can participate in an online auction:

Today, the majority of legitimate suppliers have access to computers. The myth that only internet-savvy suppliers can participate in an online auction is wrong. In order to participate in an Internet based online auction, the suppliers merely need to be able to log on to the Internet, log in to a web site, and log their bids. It’s just very simple. Suppliers don’t have to know how to navigate the World Wide Web or use any sophisticated search engines to participate.

MYTH #4: Maximum benefits could be derived only if large number of suppliers participate:

For any online auction, competition is a must and you must create a competitive environment, no matter if the suppliers is 4 or 400. Internet auctions put the business “up for bid.” Incumbents are wise to take notice. Once existing suppliers believe that the buyer really will change where he takes his business, a competitive environment is created. Thus concrete results for online auctions occur irrelevant to number of suppliers.

MYTH #5: Only products are auctioned?

Not true – in fact, services are also auctioned. Services such as Telemarketing services, Cellular phone services, Security services, and temporary labor services are all good examples. For example, a particular auction site held an auction for telemarketing services that resulted in an 18% cost reduction. The auction involved over 60 suppliers and more than 700 bids. The study shows that apart from products, services can also be auctioned.

MYTH # 6:Auctions are carried out only once in a year:

Event online auctions are generally used for categories of goods and services that require a long-term contract (say one year). These will achieve better results if auctioned year (or less). For example, a buyer may auction off the purchase of 10,000 PCs over a two-year period.

It is important for all to expand their concept of what can be auctioned, as long as the value of each item is ‘elastic’ enough to preclude fixed pricing. Once they have done that, the possibilities are almost endless.

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