03 February 2005 | Cara Whitehouse
Public-sector bodies in Wales have saved £5.4 million by joining forces for the first nationwide e-auction.
The £4.1 million deal secured contracts for stationery and other office goods and was brokered on behalf of all the country's 104 public-sector organisations.
The Welsh Procurement Initiative (WPI) carried out the auction at Cardiff University, saving 57 per cent of the expected spend.
Larry Petterson, head of procurement and commercial development at Cardiff and Vale NHS trust and lead officer on the contract, told SM: "It was a golden opportunity to take advantage of collaborative possibilities.
"We have saved 103 public bodies going through the tender process and made significant collaborative savings."
Mike Melville, e-business programme manager at the WPI, also stressed the quick and tangible wins from using the auction.
"It has been a fantastically successful process that has released real money into front-line services such as the NHS," he said.
The auction lasted two and a half hours at the end of October and the winning bids took effect last month.
During a pre-auction tender process, the lowest bid received was £5.2 million, a £4.2 million saving on the initial estimate.
Almost £1.2 million more was saved in the auction, which saw bidding from 13 suppliers.
Corporate Express, Lyreco and Office Depot scooped contracts as part of the ensuing framework agreement.
The three companies will supply 10 Welsh organisations that originally signed up to the collaborative process, although the contract is open to all 104 bodies.
According to Melville, other organisations have already expressed an interest.
The WPI is promoting the deal throughout the public sector and hopes more organisations will join as contracts come up for renewal. As more join, the savings will increase, he said.
An e-auction for an all-Wales PC and printers contract has also been completed, although as SM went to press, the contract was still to be awarded.