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

    ing for audits and future negotiations.

  • Centralized vendor management that incorporates a contract database and
    supplier performance data.

  • Sourcing analytics that address expenditure, supplier and process data for
    superior benchmarking and visibility.

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