Reviving Reverse Auctions with Scout: It’s all About Smart Supplier Engagement

From the start, our focus at Scout is all about making the business of doing business as simple, effective, and frictionless as possible. And a big part of that is balancing the needs of both our customers and their suppliers. It’s in that spirit of partnership and collaboration that I’m thrilled to share with you a series of major upgrades to Scout Reverse Auctions that are reviving this valuable sourcing tool.

Before we get to the good stuff, let’s rewind the clock a bit. Originally conceived as a powerful approach to extract price concessions from vendors, reverse auctions quickly garnered a reputation as a heavy-handed approach to cost management. As a result, while we still see our customers purchase tens of millions of dollars of valuable goods through these events, suppliers and category managers remain wary of their long-term benefit.

That’s about to change. By managing such a large volume of events through Scout, we’ve learned some unexpected, but highly successful strategies that have changed how Sourcing and supplier are approaching auctions. We’ve taken their best practices and built these strategies directly into Scout Reverse Auctions to help you improve the effectiveness of every event you run. Or, in other words, beat your savings targets, bolster vendor relationships, and ensure you maximize the value of these key partnerships.

Here’s a Quick Rundown of all the new Capabilities in Scout Reverse Auctions:

Updated Real-Time Interface, Supplier Presence, and Auction Health

What makes Scout Reverse Auctions so powerful are their real-time nature, but a big part of making an active event successful is how well the platform supports and encourages collaboration. We’ve seen teams who actively manage both the event execution as well as supplier communication during the event more than double their ROI from every auction.

To that end, we’ve made it easier and faster to drive a collaborative auction in Scout. In the new update, we’ve added a number of updates to assist the process here, including:

    • Live supplier presence
    • Active chart updates and drill-down
    • Highlight suppliers in the chart

scout reverse auctions

Line-Item Feedback to Encourage Participation and Competition

Particularly in auctions, it’s rare to have a winner-takes-all award, especially for complex RFPs and bids. To help sourcing provide suppliers with a realistic scope of their buyers’ requirements, we’re giving our customers the ability to set detailed line-item feedback in every event.

By setting clear goals and expectations for each line item, combined with the ability to communicate where a supplier’s bid falls competitively for each SKU, it helps both sides align on the most ideal outcome for both parties, and encourages more participation and productive competition.

scout reverse auctions

Optimize Your Auctions Strategy with Powerful Event Analysis

While the above enhancements are all about running more effective events, the last set of changes we’re rolling out to Scout Reverse Auctions is all about optimization. Or, in other words, how do we take what we’ve learned from our past events and use them to dramatically improve the performance of future events?

We’re introducing two big updates here. The first will help you accurately assess supplier engagement and participation, looking at key dimensions like registration, online presence, and activity, and the recency of their last action. This will help you immediately dig into how engaged each invited supplier is – and perhaps how you might engage them differently next time.

scout reverse auctions

Second, once the event has concluded, we’re providing a much more in-depth event analysis and bid comparison, giving you time-based trends for every supplier and each line item in an auction. Scout now will show you, per line item, the entire bid history per supplier, allowing you to understand at a new level of detail how the event played out. 

There’s a lot more to come from the Scout team for events and auctions in the next few months. We’re taking what we’ve learned from the best in the business (our customers) and working hard to make it accessible and repeatable for every sourcing team. In the meantime, you can bookmark this article for a deep dive into these new updates. 

Interested in learning more? Contact us today and schedule a demo with one of our experts.

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