Love them or hate them ­ and several suppliers certainly do ­ online auctions are one facet of exchange technology that's probably here to stay. Collectively, exchange members have put over 10 billion dollars worth of supply contracts up for auction in the last 18 months, from own label commodities to PCs, and savings have run into hundreds of millions of dollars. Tesco reckons about 20% of its goods could be procured in this way, while other members place the figure as high as 80%. What's surprised everyone is how much money they have actually saved and how much more scope there still is for saving, says Accenture's Jon Bumstead. "Sure, when you've reached critical mass, the same savings won't keep on coming. But we're not even close to that yet." Also overlooked is how effective exchanges have proved as sourcing tools, as well as standardising specifications and saving time and money, says P&G's CIO Steve David. "If we're buying corrugates or phosphates, we might think we know all the suppliers out there. But we don't." {{FEATURES }}