Retailers; how much are you really saving with reverse auctions and other e-procurement tools.

August 16th, 2010

Most retailers are not saving anything because they are not using the tools. In fact most retailers’ costs have gone up during the past year and as a result operating profits are down if there even were any.

Further more; your buyers can not save you as much as you might save if you used these types of tools. So when and if you do, make sure you measure and understand the true savings.

There are all sorts of e-procurement companies. Not all focus only on retail. However, all of them have web sites and all of the web sites tout savings that are all over the map. The question is what type of savings are they talking about. Following are some of examples.

1. Total low quote savings.
2. Total low quote company savings.
3. Total savings awarded companies.
4. Total realized savings.
5. Total savings versus budget period to date.
6. Total category savings.
7. Total savings year to date.
8. Total annual realized savings.
9. Total potential savings.

Companies really have to be specific as to what they ask each company relative to savings opportunities and make sure they have a formula in place for calculating savings over the course of the contract period for which the products are being sourced. There are all sorts of missed opportunities associated with actual event based low quote savings that can be created by lengthy review periods, delays in sample evaluation, extended award time periods, delays in contract dates, switching costs within the finance department, delays in shipping, specifications not being matched and specification creep that results in adding more expensive non specified items.

The bottom line is that you may have had low quote savings of 28% and that’s great. You may have had net realized savings of 18% and that’s great too. However if you don’t have a plan as to how you will measure savings you won’t know what caused the leakage and it can’t be fixed.

We look forward to and appreciate you comments.

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