Delivered wholesaler 3663 has revealed it conducted an experimental online auction last month for the supply of tonnes of frozen sliced beans and sweetcorn. 3663, its strategic purchasing partner Granada Purchasing, and Anderson Consulting joined forces to run the pilot reverse auction where suppliers pitched anonymously over the Internet. Although Anderson Consulting has presided over three other reverse auctions, this was its first ever foodservice auction. The seven pre-selected suppliers worked down from the starting price in a 30 minute tendering process, cutting out the conventional two to three weeks of paper swapping. Ian Crawford, purchasing director of 3663, said: "Suppliers at the auction were positive and responsive. In many ways the system gave us increased credibility as they could see that there was no kidology going on in the bidding process." 3663 is to conduct trial reverse auctions of two chilled and two ambient products over the next six weeks, to establish how suited other food groups are to the process. Crawford said that 3663 plans to adopt the online system in the next couple of years, once a spread of both European and UK suppliers have been educated to its demands. 3663 chief executive Fred Barnes said: "In a commercial environment where information technology advances daily, it is vital to embrace any development that can help us to provide a more responsive and efficient customer service." {{NEWS }}