Elaine Watson Co-operative Group has teamed up with Barclays b2b to host online auctions for own label following the success of Barclays' tie-up with Nisa. Co-op Group general manager, category buying, David Messom said that the society had conducted pilot auctions for butter and pickles this month, and would trial them across three more categories before deciding on a roll out. Ultimately, up to 10% of CRTG's buying could be conducted via auctions, said Messom, from non-branded commodity lines like paper towels or butter and soft drinks, to services. "The opportunities are endless. We are very happy with the results of the first auctions." He rejected claims that auctions damaged relationships with manufacturers by pitting them against each other to drive down prices ­ effectively shifting costs upstream rather than removing them from the chain to everyone's benefit. "Manufacturers like the time saving aspect as well as the transparency of the process," said Messom. "It also gives new suppliers in Europe and beyond the opportunity to win new business." Manufacturing sources accepted auctions highlighted weaknesses in their own supply chains by offering an insight into competitors' prices ­ and therefore costs. But several said auctions were just another tool with which to beat up suppliers. One said: "I don't think auctions are to the benefit of the whole chain ­ which is what ECR is supposed to be all about." {{NEWS }}

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