A major new procurement initiative from Nisa-Today's has demonstrated internet auctions are not only for the big boys. Nisa CBC members Londis, Budgens and Somerfield used their first web auction to procure four million cases of soft drinks on Monday. The group invited six manufacturers to bid to supply them with "cheapest on display" fizzy drinks at an online auction hosted by Barclays' b2b division. Nisa CBC md Neil Turton said the trial halved the cost of putting out this type of tender via traditional means. "This has been a phenomenal success. But it's also a natural extension of our business. This just adds the technology." Ultimately, half of the group's business could be handled through auctions. "This has bags of potential, especially for high volume products like soft drinks. It can also be used for services and promotional slots on branded goods." Suppliers can participate via a standard web browser, and have been given training and support from day one, said Turton. "Suppliers told us the multiples have been a little heavy handed with auctions, simply informing manufacturers they would have to bid for contracts, giving them an e-mail and password and expecting them to get on with it. "But we wanted to demonstrate that auctions are not just an instrument of torture." "Now we are satisfied the technology works, we're setting about building it into our trading culture. The next step is to extend this across all our trading divisions." Londis trading director Dean Lawson said: "Unlike conventional auctions, where items are sold to the highest bidder, we used the internet auction to drive down the cost of goods and to find the lowest bid." {{NEWS }}