31 October 2002
The Ministry of Defence's purchasing arm saved 60 per cent on army engineers' surveying equipment in an online auction.
Three bidders competed in the one-hour auction to replace what the Defence Procurement Agency called "a historic mishmash" of obsolete or antiquated surveying equipment and associated IT tools.
The Engineering Survey System, which the Royal Engineers will use to survey, design and construct roads, bridges and buildings, was originally valued at £1.8 million.
Suppliers were told only their relative position in the bidding process, and no prices were visible to the other participants.
Leica Geosystems, which won the deal, is also to host its own e-auctions for electronic parts.
The DPA is considering other complex and high-value contracts to put through auctions.
The event followed the ministry's first reverse auction, which saved 29 per cent on a cleaning products contract.