What is eAuction?

An eAuction is an online procurement tool that allows potential suppliers to compete against each other in real time using web-based software.

Suppliers bid against each other, gradually reducing their prices to offer the best price and win the contract. This is referred to as a ‘reverse’ auction as prices are reduced rather than increased.

In some eAuctions a supplier’s quality and technical scores are combined with their bid price to determine the overall result.

Sometimes our aggregations use eAuctions to achieve the best savings. Find out more about aggregation.

Who can use

Available to all public sector buyers.

  • bespoke or complex requirements

CCS manages eAuctions from start to finish, with a dedicated and experienced team on hand to guide you through the process. We have developed a 7 step process for a typical eAuction project:

1. establish customer requirement

This is where a customer need is identified and established to see if it would be suitable to take forward as an eAuction.

2. stakeholder engagement

Engagement with stakeholders takes place to clarify, review and aggregate (if needed) requirements. The eAuction strategy is also agreed.

3. invitation to quote (ITQ)

Once stakeholder engagement has taken place, a specification is developed, agreed by stakeholders and issues to suppliers.

Suppliers are then invited to submit their opening bids.

4. suppliers submit opening bids

Suppliers submit responses and opening bids. These are their initial quotes to provide the product or service detailed in the specification.

5. invite qualifying suppliers to eAuction

Once suppliers have submitted their opening bids, their responses to the ITQ are evaluated based on quality. Qualifying suppliers are then invited to take part in the eAuction.

6. the eAuction takes place

During the eAuction, suppliers will know their ranking but not who they are bidding against. Typically an eAuction event will last between 1 and 3 hours but can last longer. After the eAuction has been open for 30 minutes each new bid will extend the event. The eAuction event will end once no new bids have been received for 5 minutes.

The eAuction takes place online in real time. Constantly updated screens show supplier rankings which are automatically recalculated as bids come in.

7. contact with winning supplier

Once the auction closes and a winning supplier is identified, a contract is then signed with the winning supplier.

The eAuction typically lasts between 1 and 3 hours, but can last longer.

Time to supply can depend on multiple factors such as the complexity of the goods and services required.

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