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Frequently Ased Questions about ODScommerce

Q. What is ODScommerce's background?
Q. What is an Event?
Q. How do you define OnDemandServices? How does it fit into corporate strategic sourcing?
Q. What Event types does ODScommerce provide?
Q. What industries does ODScommerce focused on?
Q. What is a Reverse Auction?
Q. What is an Standard Auction?
Q. What's A Dutch Auction?
Q. What is a Multi-Line Event?
Q. What are Questions?
Q. What are Pre-Defined?
Q. What Event types are appropriate for procurement?
Q. How can I communicate with the Buyer?
Q. What are Supplier Handicaps?
Q. What are Pool Supplier Handicaps?
Q. What is Total Cost of Acquisition (TCA)?
Q. What are Visibility Options?
Q. What is a Multi-Section Event?
Q. What are Section Bid Controls?
Q. What is a Weighted Scoring Event?
Q. Can I print the details of an Event?
Q. What is an Event template?
Q. How are Bids processed?
Q. What is a draft Bid?
Q. Can I watch the process of Bids in the Event?
Q. How are winners selected?
Q. What are Bid Decrements and Increments?
Q. How do proxy Bids work?
Q. What is a reserve price?
Q. What are partial- and full-quantity Bids?
Q. How do Events close?
Q. How much time do I have left to submit my Bid?
Q. What does the data administrator do?
Q. What is bidder management?
Q. What if I need assistance determining what is appropriate for a Reverse Auction or Multi-Line Event?
Q. Will my company be able to run events without assistance?
Q. What if I need help during the event?
Q. What if I want to get information other than Price from my suppliers?
Q. What if the suppliers have questions before or during the event?
Q. How will the suppliers learn how to use the system?
Q. How are events priced?
Q. How soon can I run an event?
Q. If I have more questions, whom can I contact?

Q. What is ODScommerce's background?

A. ODScommerce is a spin-off of Moai Technologies, founded in 1996.  Moai Technologies has licensed its solutions to more than 145 customers in 18 countries from a variety of industries, including retail, manufacturing, forest products, chemicals and metals. ODScommerce  has capitalized on Moai’s technological prowess by taking a proven solution in the large enterprise space now to the small and mid-sized markets.  ODScommerce is headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA. with product development, operational / customer support and QA facilities located in Mumbai, India with marketing, sales, business development and administration in Pittsburgh, PA

Q. What is an Event?

A.  An Event is the central entity around which the system is built. It is the vehicle for all e-commerce transactions taking place at an ODScommerce site. Users view, respond to, and create Events from the Web-based client. The data poster manages Events using the Administration page on the Web client. Managing Events includes creating, updating, deleting, and archiving Events, Event Templates, Questions, Supplier Handicaps, and user and company classifications.

ODScommerce provides several types of Events, each with its own features and rules of operations. Multi-Line and Weighted Scoring are examples of Event types are specifically designed for online strategic sourcing. Some Event types are based on traditional auction models, such as Standard, Reverse or Dutch Auction Events. Others are more complex trading forms that incorporate modern business practices and give Event posters greater flexibility and control.
The basic elements of all types of Events include: the Event owner (or poster), the Catalog Item(s) to be bought or sold, and the Users (Bidders) responding to the Event. The poster maintains a database of these elements using the Administration page as well.

Q  How do you define OnDemandServices? How does it fit into corporate strategic sourcing?

A. Strategic sourcing is defined as a disciplined, systematic process for reducing the total cost of externally purchased goods or services, while maintaining or improving the levels of quality, service and technology.

OnDemandServices is the automation of this process to further decrease costs, reduce supply risks and increase profits. OnDemandServices and online negotiation technology allows companies to reduce purchasing expenditures and optimize existing purchasing processes by bringing strategic sourcing online. OnDemandServices facilitates market efficiencies between buyers and sellers to increase revenues, reduce costs and streamline business processes. For corporations and government organizations, ODScommerce solutions can cut costs, increase revenues and improve business practice efficiencies.

Q. What Event types does ODScommerce provide?

A. Different types of Events are suitable for different business objectives. Each one has different features, options, and rules of operation. ODScommerce provides the following Event types:

  • Multiple Different Item Auction (both reverse and forward)
  • Reverse Auction
  • Standard Auction
  • Dutch Auction
  • Weighted Scoring (Multiple Selection Criteria)

Standard Auction and Reverse Auction Events are referred to as competitive auctions, because suppliers directly compete with one another for the best price. The Standard Auction Event is used for selling and the Reverse Auction Event for buying.
Multiple Different Item and Weighted Scoring Events are sophisticated variants of competitive auctions that were designed for procurement. They can, however, be used for selling purposes as well.

Dutch Auctions Events are referred to as non-competitive Events, because the Bid prices are set in advance by the poster. These events are used for selling only.

Q. What industries does ODScommerce focused on?

A. ODScommerce’s solutions are used across a wide range of vertical industries, including:

  • Energy/Utilities
  • Construction/ Infrastructure
  • Transportation
  • Retail & CPG
  • Industrials
  • Government
  • Forest Products
  • Food and Beverage
  • Healthcare

 Q.  What is a Reverse Auction?

A.  In a Reverse Auction buyers post items they wish to buy, and suppliers compete for the lowest price at which they will sell to the buyer. This Event type is used for procurements, when an organization wants suppliers or contractors to compete to furnish a product, material, or service at the lowest price. For example a buyer can create an event to buy Cut Sheet Paper over the course of a year. The buyer would specify the quantity in boxes or pallets of the paper that was desired and then provide a starting price. The suppliers would then come on line and compete to see who could provide the paper at the lowest price. In order for suppliers to bid in this type of event, they must beat the current lowest price. The buyer may specify a decrement amount, which is the amount a supplier, must lower their price in order to become the lowest bidder.
 

The server defines the Next Available Price (entry price) required for each Bid, based on the auction's starting price and the minimum Bid Decrement, if the buyer has specified one. Each Bid defines the number of units the supplier wants to sell and the price the supplier will accept per unit. Suppliers can specify full-quantity only (FQO) when they want to sell nothing less than the quantity specified. All Bid prices must be in multiples of the Response Decrement value.

When a Bid is accepted, it automatically receives Winning status, and updates (replaces) any previously accepted Bid by the same supplier. To be accepted, the Bid must be stronger (better price or greater quantity) than the current weakest winning Bid. Multiple Bids receive Winning status until all quantity is taken. With multiple Winning Bids, the weakest Winning Bid may have its requested quantity decreased when less than the requested quantity exists. If the weakest Bid has a quantity restriction (FQO or supplier's minimum quantity) that exceeds the quantity left, that Bid has its status changed to Losing and the next weakest Bid has its status changed to Winning.

A comparison of price, quantity, and submit time is used to determine whether one Bid beats another. If two Bids have the same price, Winning status goes to the Bid with greater quantity. If price and quantity are the same, Winning status goes to the Bid with the earlier submit time. Though suppliers can submit Bids that are stronger in price than the Next Available Price, the Next Available Price will not change until all quantity is taken at that price by a single Bid. At that point, the Next Available Price changes by the Bid Decrement amount.

Q.  What is a Standard Auction?

A.  The English Auction is the most commonly used forward competitive auction, and shares many elements with other Event types. Also known as a forward auction, this type of Event is by used posters for selling. It is characterized by:

The server defines the Next Available Price required for each Bid, which is based on the auction's starting price and the minimum Bid Increment, if the poster has specified one. Each Bid defines the number of units the bidder wants to buy and the price the bidder will pay per unit. Bidders can specify full-quantity only (FQO) when they want to buy nothing less than the quantity they have specified. All Bid prices must be in multiples of the Bid Increment value.

When a Bid is accepted, it automatically receives Winning status, and updates (replaces) any previously accepted Bid by the same bidder. To be accepted, the Bid must be stronger (better price or greater quantity) than the current weakest Winning Bid. Multiple Bids receive Winning status until all quantity is taken. When there are multiple Winning Bids, the weakest Bid may have its requested quantity decreased when less than the requested quantity exists. If the weakest Bid has a quantity restriction (FQO or bidder's minimum quantity) that exceeds the quantity left, that Bid's status changes to Losing and the next weakest Bid receives the status of Winning.

A comparison of price, quantity, and submit time is used to determine whether one Bid beats another. If two Bids have the same price, Winning status goes to the Bid with greater quantity. If price and quantity are the same, Winning status goes to the Bid with the earlier submit time. Though bidders can submit Bids that are higher in price than the Next Available Price, the Next Available Price will not change until all quantity is taken at that price by a single Bid. At that point, the Next Available Price changes by the Bid Increment amount.

Q. What’s A Dutch Auction?

A.   A Dutch Auction is an open-outcry, descending-price, multi-unit auction. It is essentially non-competitive: the price is pre-specified, so, as long as there is quantity, every Bid is Selected. This format originated in the Netherlands, where flower growers used a descending-price format to sell off variable units of flowers as the quality of the product decreased over time.

A Dutch Auction Event begins with a specific number of units available at a starting price. A buyer can then place a Bid for some or all of these units at the starting price. The buyer's Bid is immediately given the status Selected, and the buyer is awarded the number of units requested in the Bid. After a predefined period of time (Bid Decrement Interval), the auction price is automatically decreased by a set amount. Price decrementing continues until one of the following occurs: all of the units are sold, a closing time is reached, or a closing price is reached.

The only value entered in a Dutch Auction Bid is the number of units. The buyer can request any number of units up to the number of units remaining (unpurchased), but cannot change the price of the Bid. Proxy Bids in Dutch Events, unlike those in competitive auctions, are largely inactive. A proxy is made for the price that the bidder wants to pay; it become a Selected Bid if the Event price drops to or below the proxy price.

Q  What is a Multi-Line Event?

A.  A Multi-Line event allows a buyer to post multiple items or services within a single event. Suppliers can decide if they want to bid on all or only select lines. The suppliers then provide pricing on those lines. For each line the buyer specifies the starting price, quantity and Unit of Measure for the suppliers to bid on. In this type of event there are three types of bidding rules that can be applied. Competitive bidding works much like the reverse auction in that suppliers must beat the current lowest price in order to bid. Another approach is to use Beat Your Bid, which allows the supplier to improve their bid without necessarily being the lowest bidder. This approach will allow the suppliers to give their best pricing, even if it is not the lowest pricing so that the buyer can evaluate all Bids.Dual Direction Bid the supplier is permitted to make a weaker bid on one line to compensate for a stronger bid on another line. Buyers can also choose to receive bundled bids from the suppliers. In a bundled bid, the suppliers agree to provide the full quantity of all the lines at a specified price. The buyer may provide a starting price for the bundled bidding which may be a discount off of the sum of the lines.

Q. What are Questions?

A. A Question is a request by the buyer for information from the supplier. In traditional auctions, suppliers respond to Questions about price and quantity only. In ODScommerce, however, it is possible to create Events that require or allow suppliers to answer Questions about other important factors, such as product specifications, delivery date, warranty terms, material type or grade, payment method, or condition of goods. These Questions can be specific to particular industries.

In Standard and Reverse Auction Events with automatic Bid Evaluation, non-price and quantity Questions do not serve much purpose - awards are made based on price and quantity only. However, additional Questions do play a role in Bids Evaluation in the following types of Events:

  • Standard and Reverse Auction Events using manual selection. The poster assesses the Responses for all Questions, including the default Comments and Questions, and hand picks the winners.
  • Multi-Line Events. Due to their complexity, Multi-Line Events use manual selection only. The poster selects the winners for each Section. No scores are generated for Questions, as they are for Weighted Scoring Events.
  • Weighted Scoring Events. All number, date, and money Questions are scored. Suppliers are ranked based on total scores. The system can select winners based on the highest scores, or the poster can use the scores as decision support for manually selecting winners.

Q.  What are Pre-Defined Questions?

A. Pre-Defined Questions include system Questions, part of the ODScommerce Platform, and user-defined Questions. System Questions include price, quantity, proxy price, minimum quantity (the minimum quantity the bidder will accept), and comments.
 

User-defined Questions are specific to the needs of a particular company or industry. They are created at the ODScommerce site by users with administrative privileges.

Pre-Defined Questions are stored in the database and are available for posters to assign to Events on an ongoing basis. Posters can also create their own Questions if they cannot find what they need in the Question pool. However, Questions created by posters that are specific to the Event, and are not saved in the pool.

Q. What Event types are appropriate for procurement?

A. Posters must match their business needs with the Event type. ODscommerce provides three Event types that can be used for procurement — the direct and indirect sourcing of materials, products, or services. The following are general guidelines about the use of procurement Event types:

  • Reverse Auction Events — appropriate for simple buys, MRO, indirect materials, and spot buys, where price is the major consideration, and any supplier is acceptable.
  • Reverse Multi-Line Events - online RFQs (request for quotes) They are helpful for:
    • Complex procurements, where multiple products/materials/services need to be sourced together
    • Encouraging suppliers to discount items
    • Selecting suppliers according to bid schedules
    • Evaluating many different kinds of suppliers in one Event for the long term, according to multiple factors
  • Weighted Scoring Events — a quick way to select suppliers using complex criteria, of which price is just one factor. These criteria can include:
    • product/material characteristics (e.g., specifications, grade, condition)
    • transaction factors (e.g., delivery date, warranty terms, payment method)
    • supplier capabilities (e.g., production rating, machinery specifications, certifications).

In addition to selecting suppliers for a specific contract, buyers can evaluate them for long- term business.

Q.  How can I communicate with the Buyer?

A. There are multiple ways provided to communicate with the Buyer.

Feedback: This feature allows the Event poster and bidder to interact and negotiate. After the supplier has placed their Bid, the poster can respond directly to each Bid via the feedback mechanism. Once the bidder sees the feedback, they can update their Bid accordingly.

The poster can input feedback to each Bid from the Bid Summary page. For Multi-Line Events, the poster can respond on a per-section basis. The bidder will then see the most recent poster feedback when they view their Bid.

Message Center: The Message Center is a mechanism for suppliers and buyers who conduct events to communicate with one another, and clarify uncertain points during the event. Messages are an improvement over email in several important respects:

  • Messages are tracked by the server in an auditable per-Event history.
  • Messages do not have to be sent via email.
  • Public Messages with an option to send email are automatically sent to all invited suppliers, eliminating the need to manually locate the email address of each supplier.
  • Message emails are sent individually, so suppliers cannot 'find' each other by inspecting the header of an email.

Buyers and Suppliers can create, view, and respond to Event Messages and Multi-Line Event Messages either from the Message Center tab or from the Event Deatils Page; A Supplier accesses Messages from the Message Center tab (the Activites tab) or from the Bid Form. At the Event Details page and Bid Form page, the Message Center displays up to 5 of the most recently received messages. (Note: if there are no incoming Messages, the table is not displayed.)
A count of incoming versus outgoing messages is displayed as a link at the bottom of this table. Clicking the link takes the user to the View Messages pop-up of all the Messages s/he is allowed to see. The user can either view an existing message or send a new message. All Event participants, with the exception of the Message Manager, may only send messages to the Event Message Manager. For Multi-Line Events, Buyers and Suppliers have the option to send/receive Messages at the Section level as well. This makes it easier to distinguish Messages targeted in reference to a particular Section (these Messages are also included with the Messages for the Event at the top of the form). The Message Manager has control over whether any Message are sent via email or not. Regardless of whether a message is sent via email, all Messages are logged into the database.

Q. What are Supplier Handicaps?

A. Supplier Handicaps allow the owner of an Event to enter values that are used to evaluate each supplier participating in an Event. Supplier Handicaps are not revealed to the supplier. They are available as a tool for the buyer to consider additional factors when comparing suppliers.
A Supplier Handicap consists of the following fields:

  • Name
  • Description
  • Type (Numeric or Text)
  • isTotaled flag (applies to Numeric type) - the isTotaled flag determines whether or not the Supplier

Handicap is included in the Total Cost calculation.

The buyer associates Supplier Handicaps with an Event during Event creation. The buyer can either choose to add a new Supplier Handicap or use an existing Pre-Defined Supplier Handicap (see below).

When creating the Event, the buyer inputs the initial values for Supplier Handicaps after selecting suppliers. Once a supplier has responded to an Event, the buyer can modify the Supplier Handicap values for the supplier. The buyer can edit and compare these values on the Bid Summary page.

Q. What are Pool Supplier Handicaps?

A. The concept of Pre-Defined Supplier Handicaps is similar to Pre-Defined Questions. These Supplier Handicaps are stored in the database and available for buyers to associate with Events on an ongoing basis. Pre-Defined Supplier Handicaps can be created and maintained by a user with administrative privileges. Buyers can also create their own Supplier Handicaps if they cannot find what they need in the Supplier Handicap pool. However, Supplier Handicaps created by buyers are specific to the Event, and are not saved in the pool.

Q. What is Total Cost of Acquisition (TCA)?

A. The Total Cost (TC) allows the Event buyer to assess more accurately the total cost of a supplier's Bid. The TC calculation includes factors beyond direct price/quantity calculations. The buyer uses Supplier Handicaps to define additional cost factors that he does not want the suppliers to see. The TC calculation can then take these factors into account when calculating the total cost.

The system comes with a Default TC Calculator. This calculation simply takes the Bid total (price x quantity for standard Events, Section total for Multi-Line Events) and adds it to all the Supplier Handicaps that are flagged for totaling. The TC calculation can be customized to meet individual customer requirements - this requires the creation of a custom TCA calculator. Please contact Professional Services for more information on customizing the TC calculation.

A supplier must be invited in order to participate in a TC Event. This is done in order to ensure that the correct Supplier Handicaps are provided by the buyer.
When responding to a TC Event, the supplier follows the same process as a non-TC Event. The only difference is that Bids are evaluated by the system using the TC. If this information is revealed, then the supplier will be able to view it on the Bid Summary page.

Q. What are Visibility Options?

A. The buyer can set the Bid Status Visibility option to determine the amount of information that will be revealed to suppliers. The Bid Visibility option controls the display of each Bid's status which is either sealed or unsealed. Sealed means that no information is revealed to the supplier and unsealed usually shows whether the Bid is Winning or Losing.

Q. What is a Multi-Section Event?

A. Multi-Line Events are used for buying or selling multiple products, materials, and/or services at the same time. They are, in effect, multiple Events in one. This type of Event enables the buyer to aggregate Bids from multiple suppliers in a structured form.

Multi-Line Events are structured in three levels: a Header (the Event as a whole) and two levels of Sections. The sections are referred to as (parent) Section and (child) Sub-Sections. Each Sub-Section itemizes the Section above it. For example, an Event to procure supplies and labor for building a bridge could have Sections for engineering, pile driving, steel construction, pavement work, painting, etc. Each Section would, in turn, have its own Sub-Sections, breaking the supplies and services into smaller components.

Each Section or Sub-Section can contain any number of Questions, which need not include price or quantity. For example, a buyer can require Sub-Section Bids to Questions about delivery date, payment method, and detailed product specifications. The multi-Question feature also allows buyers to request bid schedules (i.e., different prices under different conditions).

Due to their complexity, Multi-Line Events use manual winner selection only, with automated decision support. The buyer has the ability to select winners on a section-by-section basis. To select a section's winner, the buyer can compare any Bid against any other Bid, or against the section's best Bid. Suppliers can include attachments, red-lined documents, or comments with their Bid for each Section.

Q.  What are Section Response Controls?

A. Buyers can also specify separate Bid rules for each event:

  • Competitive — updated Bids must be better than those of competing suppliers
  • Beat Your Bid - updated Bids must be better than supplier's previous Bid
  • Dual Direction - Bids can improve previous Bids or not

Buyers can designate a Section with no Sub-Sections be included in the total price for the Header. Buyers can designate that a Sub-Section be included in the total price for the enclosing Section. This provides buyers with additional information for evaluating Bids. Suppliers may have the option of supplying a bundle Bid price for a section. Additionally, the system provides an option for suppliers to calculate the total of all their Bids. The bundle Bid gives the supplier the ability to provide a discounted price for a Section or for the entire Event.

Q. What is a Weighted Scoring Event?

A. ODScommerce allows the creation of an unlimited number of Questions. These custom Questions can be created to address the unique needs of a business or industry. A Question can be about a product/material characteristic (e.g., specification, quality, grade, unit of measure) or a transaction term (e.g., delivery schedule, warranty, insurance coverage, payment method).

In Standard or Reverse Auction Events, posters can include any Questions they wish, but the system still selects or recommends winners on the basis of price and quantity Bids or on the basis of Total Cost. Weighted Scoring Events, however, use a complex form of auto-matching that scores Bids, assigns status, and selects winners using Bids to non-price-and-quantity Questions as well.

An individual Question can have one of five types of Responses: money, list of choices, number, date, and text. All types of Responses except text can be scored. When a Question is created, a range and a direction (whether higher or lower values are better) are specified for the Bid. The buyer then assigns a weight (relative importance) to each Response required in the Event.

When a supplier submits a Bid, the individual Responses contained within it receive a score based on their direction, level of importance, and place in the assigned range. Individual Bids scores can also be created dynamically: if an upper (or lower) bound for an individual Bid is not specified, the system will score it based on the range of similar individual Bids received. The scores for each individual Bid are added together to produce a total score for each overall Bid. The total score is always given as a percentage between zero and one hundred.

Unlike Standard and Reverse Auction Events, all Bids in Weighted Scoring Events - whether Winning or Losing, updated or new - are accepted and displayed to suppliers. Responses for individual Questions are Dual Direction: they can either increase or decrease with each updated Bid. In order to respond effectively, suppliers must be able to correlate changes in overall Bid scores with adjustments in the values for individual Responses. To do this, they must understand the way that individual Response scores are computed.

The system selects the winners at the end of the Event, based on the best total scores. If the Event uses Poster Selects Winners, individual Responses to each Question, and supplier attachments and comments. To select winners, and to weight the Responses properly when setting up the Event, buyers must also understand how the scores are computed.

Multi-Line Reverse Events (eRFQ)

A reverse Multi-Line Event is essentially an online request for quotes form (eRFQ) for the procurement of goods and/or services. Different aspects of the procurement effort can be broken out into smaller and smaller component sections, to which responds can be given separately, possibly by different suppliers. The e-RFQ feature is designed for strategic sourcing of indirect materials, complex project contracting, and spot procurement.
Multi-Line Forward Events

Multi-Line forward Events provide competitive Bids for multiple, itemized goods and/or services. Each section is essentially a separate Event for a separate item. The feature is known as "strategic selling." It is useful for:

  • Large inventory liquidation — many kinds of items are auctioned off separately to a single bidders or different bidders
  • Production planning — manufacturers sell their products in advance in order to optimize scheduling, hiring, and material purchases.

Q.  Can I print the details of an Event?

A. On the Bid Form, a tool is provided to help suppliers print information in a format that is easy to read. A 'Printer Friendly View' button is displayed.
When a user clicks this button, a printer friendly version of the page is displayed. This page contains all the textual information that was displayed earlier, but omits unnecessary HTML page elements such as images, hyperlinks, text boxes, drop down menus, help icons, buttons and such others. This not only helps pages print faster, but also makes them clearer and more legible.

In the case of form elements, such as text boxes, information can be lost on a printout that was not printer-friendly. If user enters textual information whose length is greater than the text box size, then the whole text is not visible on the HTML page. If the user prints this page, only the visible portion of the text is printed. However, the printer friendly view displays the entire text. No information is lost when printing pages in this view.

When a user wishes to go back to the Bid Form pages from the printer friendly view, they can do so by clicking on the 'Back' button that will appear in the place of the 'Printer Friendly View' button.

Q.  What is an Event template?

A. Templates are essentially Events that can be reused with minimal modification. They make the job of Event creation easier and quicker, and are particularly helpful for creating complex Multi-Line or Weighted Scoring Events.

When setting up Events, posters are able to select a template whose description appears to meet their needs most closely. They can then modify the pre-specified information (e.g., Event name and owner, item, price, quantity, dates), Bid rules (e.g., winner rules, extensions, proxy rules), and structure (sections, section rules, Questions) as needed.

Q.  How are Responses processed?

A. All Bids are processed based on the time they reach the server. While the Bid is being processed, the supplier is shown a hold screen in their web browser, instructing them to wait until the Bid is processed. When the Bid is fully processed, the supplier is shown the Bid Summary screen or the Bid form, where the Bid s/he just placed is visible. Orders for Event winners in competitive Events are generated at Event close. In non-competitive Events they can be generated as soon as they are accepted.

In a competitive auction (Standard or Reverse) a Bid is accepted and becomes the current Winning Bid, if it meets the current minimum Bid requirement. This minimum acceptable Bid is, at auction opening, the starting price. Thereafter, the minimum Bid price, if there is one, is determined by the Bid Increment (Standard Auction) or Decrement (Reverse Auction), an amount that is automatically added to or subtracted from the Next Available Price when quantity is no longer available at that price. These values are specified by the Event poster.

In competitive multi-unit Events (forward or reverse), Winning status is dependent on quantity as well as price. Since the total quantity of items can be spread among multiple suppliers, older Winning Bids can retain Winning status if the latest accepted Bid is not for the full quantity. In addition, the Bid resurrection feature allows a Bid with a Losing status to gain Winning status over a higher priced Bid that is demoted because its specified minimum quantity is no longer available.

Q. What is a draft Response?

A. Draft Bids allow a bidder to prepare a Bid and save it to the database for later submission. A Bid may be saved as a draft during theAcceptance phase of an Event. Once the Event has reached the Bid Acceptance phase, the bidder must explicitly submit the Bid for processing. Only one draft Bid may be saved per bidder per Event. Once the draft Bid has been submitted for processing the Save as Draft button is no longer available.

Selecting the Save as Draft button rather than the Begin Bid Submission will take the user to the Bid confirmation page to review the information and then clicking on Yes will save the Bid to the database with Draft status. To revise the draft or submit the Bid for processing, just return to the Bid Form and the current draft Bid will be displayed, just as it would display if a Bid had already been submitted. The bidder may modify the Bid information and either save the Bid as a revised draft or submit the Bid for full processing.

For Multi-Line Events, the draft Bid consists of Bids on only those lines desired. It is legal to omit the Bid from a section with the required attribute as long as the Bid remains a draft. Once the draft is ready to be submitted for processing, all lines must pass validation.

Q. Can I watch the process of Responses in the Event?

A. Following the bidding trend of an Event is useful to both the suppliers, who need this information in evaluating when or whether to respond or update their Bid, and important to buyers, who may use this information to extend or curtail an Event, or simply to understand more about the bidding behavior of their suppliers.

The graphing display is a part of all Events. However, Weighted Scoring Events provide a modified graph window that shows the current weighted score - but not how the score changes over time - of each bidder in a bar graph format.

The Bid History Graph

While Bids can be submitted for an Event, the Bid History Graph is available to both bidders and posters simply by clicking on the graph icon in the Bid Summary page. Note that graphing is not available for Events that do not contain a Question regarding price or for totalable sections of a Multi-Line Event. Also note that this graph is unavailable to bidders in a sealed Event. When bidding stops, the Bid History Graph is still available to both poster and bidders in the same way. As an aid in selecting winners, the poster may also select this graph from the Winner Selection page. In a Multi-Line Winner Selection page, the graph icon appears on every section for which graphing is available - i.e. all sections of a Multi-Line Event that contain a price and are not totaled in another line.

The graph window contains these elements:

Title: the window's title gives the Event name (followed by the section name, if it graphs part of a Multi-Line Event). Below, it displays other important information about the Event (Phase, Bid Acceptance Time, and Bid Deadline).

Graph: the Bid price vs. time graph contains a line that reflects the best Bid price as a function of time. It also plots a point for each Bid made by each bidder, as a symbol unique to that bidder. (If the poster did not allow bidders to see who else is bidding, these points are not visible to any bidder, only the poster). The filter feature of the graph (next) allows a display of any subset of the bidders. The red vertical line depicts the Bid Deadline.

Filter: To the right of the graph, a drop-down box enables you to select which suppliers’ Bids to display. Shift-click or control-click to select different subsets of the bidders, or click on Show All below the box to display all users. If all bidder names are filtered out, only the price/time line is visible. In a bidder's graph, the names of bidders only appears if the poster has set up the Event to allow bidders to see each other's names.

Legend: Below the graph, a unique symbol is associated with each bidder's name.

Refresh: The graph information updates only when you click this button at the bottom of the window.

Q. How are winners selected?

A. There are two methods of winner selection in competitive Events:

  • Manual selection — The poster hand picks the winners after the Bid Deadline is reached. The poster can change the Bid statuses assigned by the system. Manual selection is performed from the poster's Bid Summary page.
  • System selection — The Event may be set up so that the system selects winners automatically at the Bid Deadline in non-Multi-Line competitive Events.

There are three types of system selection:

  • Price and quantity - The system uses Bid price, quantity, and submission time (if necessary) to determine winners.
  • Total Cost - The system uses value calculated for Total Cost to determine winners.
  • Weighted Scoring — The system selects winners on the basis of each supplier's total score for all numerical responses (money, numbers, dates, and list of choices). The scores are based on the ranges and weights assigned to the Questions when they are created. This type of selection is used in Weighted Scoring Events only.


The poster specifies which type of winner selection to use when creating the Event. With system selection, winner selection, Event close, and order generation occur simultaneously at the Bid Deadline. With manual selection, the Event goes into a Bid Evaluation phase that lasts until the poster manually closes the Event after selecting winners and assigning quantity.

In non-competitive Dutch auction and Fixed Price Events, accepted Responses are automatically given Selected status. Multi-Section Events require manual selection. All other Event types allow posters the option of either manual or system selection.

Q. What are Bid Decrements and Increments?

A. The Bid Decrement is the amount by which the price decreases in any reverse Event, where the price can change. When all quantity has been taken at the Next Available Price, the decrement amount is subtracted to reach a new Next Available Price.

The price component of a Bid is restricted to multiples of the Bid Decrement. For example, if the Bid Decrement is $50 and the Next Available Price is $1000, bidders can specify a Bid price of $950, $850, $800, or $700, but not $915, $975, or $920. When suppliers submit bids that are not multiples of the Bid Decrement, they are notified of the error on the Bid form.

The Bid Increment is the amount by which the price increases in any forward Event, where the price can change. When all quantity has been taken at the Next Available Price, the increment amount is added to reach a new Next Available Price.

Like a reverse Event, in a forward Event, the price component of a Bid is restricted to multiples of the Increment. For example, if the Increment is $50 and the Next Available Price is $100, suppliers can specify a Bid price of $100, $150, $250, or $400, but not $115, $175, or $220. When suppliers submit Bids that are not multiples of the Bid Increment, they are notified of the error on the Bid form.

The suggested range for competitive Event Bid Decrements and Increments is one to five per cent of either the starting price or the expected winning price.

In Dutch Auctions the Bid Decrement is the amount by which the price decreases automatically after a specified time interval. This interval is called the Bid Decrement Interval or Bid Interval. The suggested minimum for the Bid Decrement Interval is five minutes.

Q. How do proxy Bids work?

A. A proxy Bid is also known as a limit price. It is a concealed price boundary that bidders in competitive auctions can specify so that the server will automatically respond in their stead, to the limit of the specified price. The system will always calculate the least costly amount needed to get Winning status at any given time, until the specified proxy price is reached, at which point the bidder is withdrawn from bidding.

The proxy Bid feature is available for Standard Auction, Reverse Auction, and Dutch Auction Events. In Standard Auction Events, the proxy is the highest price the bidder is willing to pay. In Reverse Auction Events, the proxy is the lowest price at which the supplier will sell.

Proxy Bids work differently in Dutch Auction Events. Here proxy Bids are made for a price lower than the current price. As long as the proxy Bid remains lower than the Event price, it loses; but if the Event price drops to or below the proxy price, the proxy Bid becomes a winning one.

Q. What is a reserve price?

A. If posters are unsure of the demand for their Event items, they run the risk of selling them at prices that are unacceptably low (Standard Auction). If buyers are unsure of the supply for their Event items, they run the risk of buying them at prices that are unacceptably high (Reverse Auction). The reserve price feature ensures that this does not happen.

A reserve price is a concealed price boundary that the poster specifies when creating an Event. For a Standard Auction Event the reserve price must be higher than the opening price; for a Reverse Auction Event it must be lower than the opening price. If, at the end of an Event, Bids with winning prices do not meet the reserve price, orders for the Winning Bids are not generated. The items are not sold in the case of Standard Auction Events or bought in the case of Reverse Auction Events. These items can be placed in another Event at a later time, when demand might be higher.

The reserve price option is available for Standard and Reverse Auction Events only. It is not available for Weighted Scoring, Multi-Line, or Dutch Auction Events. It is intended to be used with system winner selection.

Q. What are partial- and full-quantity Bids?

A. Most Events are multiple unit Events. Bids in a multi-unit Event include both quantity and price. The server uses both requested quantity and Bid price to determine Winning Bids. Depending on the quantity available, a Bid can (1) become Losing, if another Bid of greater quantity is stronger or (2) keep its Winning status, but with a smaller quantity than requested.

In Standard Auction Events, bidders can specify that they will only accept the full number of units requested in their Bid. In Reverse Auction Events, suppliers can specify that they will only supply the full number of units requested in their Bid. This type of all-or-nothing Bid is known as a full-quantity or full-quantity-only (FQO) Bid. An FQO Bid can also have its status changed to Losing if a Bid with a better price is assigned part of that quantity. Excess quantity may then become available at the Event's Next Available price. This rule overcomes the problem of a poor-price, high-quantity Bid stagnating an Event.

Q.  How do Events close?

A. Events close for one of the following four reasons:

  • The close price is reached
  • The close quantity is reached
  • The Bid Deadline is reached
  • The poster closes the Event manually after selecting winners

Posters specify the Bid Deadline when creating the Event. They can also specify a close price and/or close quantity. When one of these three points is reached in the Event, Bids are no longer accepted and winner selection occurs. Winner selection can be determined by system or manual, whichever has been specified for the Event. (Multi-Line Events have manual selection only.) Events are closed automatically with system selection; the poster closes the Event manually with manual selection. When an Event closes, orders are generated.

The Bid Deadline of an Event can be overridden if the extension option is being used. The extension option allows the Event to remain open past its Bid Deadline if a Bid is received within the specified grace period before the Bid Deadline. Posters and administrators can also move the Bid Deadline forward or back after an Event opens.

Q. How much time do I have left to submit my Bid?

A. The countdown clock provides up-to-date information to users about the remaining time in an Event. It is present on Bid form pages and Bid Summary pages.

The countdown clock displays the number of days until the Bid Deadline is within 24 hours. At that point it displays the time remaining in HH:MM:SS format. When there is less than 30 seconds remaining, the numerals in the clock turn red.

Extensions Auto Refresh: If extensions are enabled, the clock will a) auto refresh one time per minute, 5 minutes before the Bid Deadline, and b) increase the refresh rate to once every 15 seconds, 2 minutes before Bid Deadline.

When there is no more time remaining, the clock displays "None." If the Event is still being processed during the refresh (which can happen with large Multi-Line Events), the clock displays "Processing..." and refreshes itself (not the entire page) every ten seconds until the Event's state is determined.
Note: The countdown clock only works with Internet Explorer version 5.0 and higher.

In the system, extensions are calculated when the Bid Deadline is reached. For that reason, the countdown clock will always count down to zero, even if an extension will take place due to bidding activity.

Q.  What does the data administrator do?

A. Data administration is performed via the Administration link on main menu bar. The page that appears allows data administrators to:

  • Create and modify Events
  • Monitor Events
  • Create and update site Questions, Supplier Handicaps, Event Templates, and Supplier Classifications
  • Archive and delete Events, Templates, Questions, or Supplier Handicaps
  • Maintain user and company accounts (add, update, delete, archive)
  • Maintain Event Catalog Items
  • Grant user privileges and permissions
  • Create a system of product categories (used for site navigation and security)
  • Configure various aspects of the system (e-mail notifications)

Q. What is bidder management?

A. A Bidder List is a set of users (companies and/or users) with a common characteristic. Data administrators can simplify the job of managing suppliers by defining Bidder Lists. Buyers can then associate Events with one or more Supplier Lists to expedite the supplier invitation process. When Events are created, suppliers can be identified via Bidder Lists and quickly invited to events.

For example, a manufacturer could define a Bidder List for all its microchip suppliers. Buyers at the site could then search by that Bidder Lists when creating microchip sourcing Events, and know that all appropriate suppliers would be automatically found. Also, data administrators needing to review, update, reclassify, or delete information about suppliers could use the microchip Bidder Lists as a quick way to retrieve useful information about users.

The Administration page allows administrators to perform the following classification tasks:

  • Define Bidder List — Create, edit, or delete a Bidder List (e.g., "Chip Manufacturers"). New or edited Bidder Lists are then available when creating an Event for automatically notifying suppliers of the Event.
  • Add Users to Bidder List — Add users to an existing Bidder List.
  • Add Companies to Bidder List - Add companies to an existing Bidder List

Q. What if I need assistance determining what is appropriate for a Reverse Auction or Multi-Line Event?

A. The ODScommerce- Full Service event can help identify commodities within an organization that would be best suited for an on-line event. Our sourcing professionals work with your buyers to identify e-Sourcing opportunity, set up the events and execute these events. It's also an optimally available service for self-service and managed-service users.

Q. Will my company be able to run events without assistance?

A. ODScommerce is a service that is focused on making each customer independent. Depending on the resources and experience within the organization this can happen in a matter of events. It will be up to the buying organization to determine how quickly they move to a self-service model. The ODScommerce team will be available to assist your company throughout this process.

Q. What if I need help during the event?

A.Technical support will be available before, during and after the event. We will insure that the event goes smoothly.

Q.What if I want to get information other than Price from my suppliers?

A. ODScommerce allows you to ask the suppliers for additional information other than price and quantity. This additional information can be in the form of data entry field or pick (drop down) lists. The buyer defines what information is needed and how it will be captured from the suppliers.

Q. What if the suppliers have questions before or during the event?

A. ODScommerce provides both buyer and suppliers with a Message Center. Suppliers can post questions or clarifications on the Message Center. Buyers can also post information on the Message center. Messages can be private to one supplier or public to all suppliers. Suppliers cannot communicate with one another. The buyer determines what information all suppliers see. All messages can be copied on email.

Q. How will the suppliers learn how to use the system?

A. Depending on the nature of the event, the ODScommerce team will work with you to provide the appropriate training for your supplier group. This can vary from a mock event to a 1-hour on-line training session. Training materials will also be available on-line for the suppliers to use.

Q.How are events priced?

A. ODScommerce events are conducted at a fixed, flat fee. Discounts are available to those planning on conducting multiple events over a selected time period. Please contact sales@ODScommerce.com for additional information.

Q. How soon can I run an event?

A. This depends upon the type of service selected – self, managed or full. For self service events, you decide how soon you want to run an event and get it scheduled with our event support team. Managed and full service events can typically be run within 20 days of buying an event.

Q. If I have more questions, whom can I contact?

A. Please look at our Contact Us link and e-mail the appropriate person with your question.

We can always be contacted at: info@odscommerce.com or sales@0dscommerce.com

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