Jul 17

Written by: RSouthard
7/17/2008 6:00 AM

There are very few retailers beyond the very largest that even use e-procurement tools and more specifically reverse auction tools. In the very largest companies these are legacy tools that are installed behind the company’s fire wall and staffed by company employees. In other cases these tools are embedded in very large scale implementations of integrated supply chain offerings and don’t even get used because the retailer does not know how to host a reverse auction, doesn’t know how to use the tool or don’t have access to a robust retail database,  event template library or best practice methodologies.

E-procurement tools also known as spend management offerings and a variety of other naming conventions within the procurement space is crowed with offerings both new and old. Segmentation is typically by industry based on the experience of those who conceived of the company. With the genesis of these offerings in the late 1990’s, many applications and the resulting functionality are a little long in the tooth. This tends to happen to companies once they have a large customer base that drives their release content and drives scope creep and the  resulting delays or have not been profitable enough to re-engineer their applications in order to keep up with advances in technology.

As such, the question as to whether or not to host full service or self service events in many cases is determined by the application and its provider. Questions a company might ask when trying to make this determination might include but certainly are limited to the following.

1. Is this application easy enough to use so that a company could host self service events if they wanted to?
2. Is the application intuitive enough that the lowest level user could build a simple event without instruction?
3. Can this be done in less than 20 minutes?
4. Does the application make it easy to source suppliers?
5. Does the application make it easy to access and post product specifications?
6. Is the application easy for suppliers to use?
7. Do suppliers have to change screen views all of the time?
8. Is the e-procurement event screen interactive or static?
9. Can you show me all of the above in fewer than 30 minutes?
10. Have new and innovative tools been added to the application?

If the answer to all of these questions is yes, the question as to whether to host self service or full service events has been answered for you. If you would like to, you can. Additionally, your provider should offer the flowing services and price them accordingly.

1. Full Service
2. Self Service
3. Assisted Service
4. Hybrid Service

We look forward to your comments

Copyright ©2008 Ron Southard