A new online auction platform developed for Nisa by US software giant FreeMarkets will help address some suppliers' concerns about e-tendering, the company has claimed.
Nisa started working with FreeMarkets earlier this year after its original auction technology provider, a subsidiary of Barclays, was folded by its parent company.
Nisa CBC MD Neil Turton said the new platform allowed buyers to include a range of variables to help them weight bidders according to factors other than just cost. "The new system has a lot more bells and whistles," said Turton. "You can set differentiators and measure the value difference between brands."
Nisa was acutely aware that some suppliers were unhappy with the way the technology had been applied by some retailers, said Turton. "We haven't rushed into this. Other people have got a bad name by handling this badly.
"We are treading tentatively. We are on course to do Â£50m in purchasing through e-tendering this year. But that could easily be Â£250m if we held auctions on unsuitable product areas.
"We have started using them on brands in commodity sectors such as canned meat, but we are aware that manufacturers have very different views on whether there is such a thing as a commodity brand."
The forward focus is on areas such as printing, Turton said, following a successful auction on printing for customer leaflets.
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