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Ariba Bolsters Sourcing Options

Mountain View, Calif.-based B2B e-commerce platform provider Ariba Inc. (Nasdaq: ARBA) has beefed up its Ariba Sourcing product, allowing customers to choose from a more auction formats, communicate more efficiently with suppliers and analyze the results of RFQ-based events.

The sourcing app is a Web-based platform that automates the entire RFQ process.

Meanwhile, petroleum giant Sunoco Inc. (NYSE: SUN) implemented a private procurement marketplace for its national operations using the Ariba B2B Commerce Platform. Spending on the project was not disclosed.

Sunoco said it also intends to use Ariba Buyer to improve management of direct and indirect goods and services throughout the company. Ariba Buyer enables Sunoco to electronically aggregate corporate purchasing from each desktop and direct spending to preferred suppliers, B2B marketplaces and exchanges.

Also, in what may or may not have been an accident of timing, Cambridge, MA-based Frictionless Commerce today introduced its Frictionless Sourcing software, targeted toward the Global 2500 and the federal government.

The new Frictionless integrated software suite also automates the entire strategic sourcing process, from expenditure analysis to supplier selection and vendor management, the company said.

Frictionless said it already has signed customers that include John Hancock Financial Services, Hasbro, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force, as well as other users, including Hasbro.

The company said its product offers collaborative, automated supplier negotiation that is instantly scored and analyzed on both quantitative and qualitative criteria.

Ariba said its beefed up sourcing platform now lets buyers select the most appropriate bidding format for an RFQ, including:

  • Reverse Auction: This format allows suppliers to bid online in a real-time environment with all competing supplier bids visible.
  • Closed Bidding: During the bidding time allotted, suppliers may only view the current low bid, without access to the number of suppliers participating.
  • Sealed Bids: At a designated time, suppliers may submit one bid, without access to the bids of other participating suppliers.
  • Absentee Bidding: In addition to the selected bidding format, suppliers may enter a pre-bid for the RFQ, if the scheduled bidding time is not convenient for them.

Ariba Sourcing also has a new Java-based user interface that allows the buyer to delineate any number of suppliers to invite or exclude from participating in bidding events. The interface also allows designated users (such as vice presidents and directors of purchasing) to view all RFQs across an organization, including divisions and locations.

"This new release will help buying organizations work even closer with their suppliers to help bring efficiencies to the entire supply chain," said John Raguin, director of product development for Ariba Sourcing.

The sourcing product includes multiple collaborative processes such as analyzing purchases across commodity categories and business units, researching suppliers and supply markets, estimating savings opportunities, preparing RFQs, and staging competitive events to negotiate the final purchase price and terms.

Frictionless said its new solution offers:

  • A customized sourcing workbench from which contract managers can access all relevant purchasing data and sourcing functions-directly from the desktop.
  • e-RFP/RFQs that are collaborative, automated and value-scored.
  • A portfolio of online auction formats and features, integrated into the sourcing process.
  • Project tracking that enables better management, collaboration, and information archiv