There is one area more than any other that always delays the running of reverse auctions.

August 27th, 2009

That area is product and services specifications.

Has you ever heard a buyer say I can?t find or don?t have a specification for that product or service? If we are all being totally honest with ourselves, we know this is true and it happens every day of every week of every month. The interesting part is that we are asking for something that is already being used by the company or being sold by the company. How in the world can the specification be missing or not exist in the first place? How would we even know if what we were receiving is what we ordered? Back door receiving systems have tracked this for years. What happens if we order one type of copy paper like recycled 96 white, and receive a lower quality product?

This has always amazed me because an original order had to be placed at some point in time. In many cases the invoice (at least the original one) may even reference the product number or description if not both. Sometimes the invoice even calls attention to the terms and conditions. In fact, it may be a good bet that the current supplier has a copy of the original contract and specification on file that can be obtained with a simple phone call. On many occasions when hosting e-negotiation events new sources of supply may help to clarify specifications through their questioning. And then, and it is a big and then, there is of course the internet and sites like Ask, Google, and now Bing.

Of course you can also ask your e-procurement solutions provider if they have a product specification template library that is constantly updated. If they do, you can get a specification from them. At least it?s a place to start.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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