Do you remember the times when some customers actually thought that reverse auctions where the thing to do for just about anything? It probably started out pretty well for items such as commodities. I used to be in utter disbelieve when a few customers started to also include capital equipment. It ended up as a lot of unpaid consulting on our part since part if not all of the system design information would almost always end up on the web.
More confounding was trying to figure out the question what if anything the customer was supposed to get out of this deal. Sure, the thought of a vendor having to compete with his own bid must have been appealing to buyers and accountants. A paper towel is pretty much a paper towel, but a bulk conveying system is just too specialized to be able to obtain comparable quotes. Almost every system ? even including primary air movers ? is the culmination of years worth of detail laden OEM manufacturer experience. Without proper communication the chance of getting such an endeavor successfully up and running were slim to none. I am glad that these auctions are mostly history. How about you?