As a trainer here at dotStaff™, my favorite moment in my training presentation arrives early on, when I point out our Reverse Auction feature.  “A reverse what?,”  you say.  The phrase “reverse auction” is like a 97% chocolate bar, almost too rich to get your head around.  Think of it like eBay, only in reverse.  To better illustrate, here’s how it works:  In the job board table, both the Client and Vendor have the ability to see the lowest bill rate submitted to date. This allows the vendor to decide if they want to submit at a lower rate.

I used to believe that this feature is more advantageous for our Clients than our Vendors.  But not anymore.  Here’s what this feature looks like in dotStaff™:

Here is a breakdown of what this feature means for both our Vendors and Clients, and the advantages to each User.

For our Vendors:

1)      You know what the lowest bill rate is.  Without dotStaff™ or a VMS in place, vendors have no idea what bill rates other vendors submit.  Now it is visible to you.  The Reverse Auction feature gives you an idea of what bill rate the manager has to work with, and then you have leverage that you didn’t have while you were “submitting in the dark.”

2)      Knowledge is power, and now you have a choice.  You can submit someone at a slightly lower bill rate, or hold your ground, knowing that your highly qualified candidate with winning interview skills is worth every penny.

3)      Your relationship matters.  In one sense, the Reverse Auction feature levels the playing field, as it lays bare all vendors’ bill rates for the Client. At the same time, we know that as the Vendor, your  world is built on relationships.  On the strength of that relationship, hiring managers may pay a bit more for your temp.

For our Clients:

1)      Manager can make informed decisions.   The Reverse Auction feature drives the bill rate to what the market demands.  The low bid isn’t required to win, but the psychology of seeing competition naturally drives a supplier to make more informed decisions to win your business. Bottom line: The Reverse Auction feature keeps everyone honest.

 2)       As a hiring manager, you can decide who you want, regardless of price.  As the hiring manager, you may decide you can take a rookie straight out of college, who demands less money.   You can also decide, I need someone with years of experience, and I’m willing to pay a little bit more.  The reverse auction feature makes it more likely that you will have a range of choices rather than a fixed, or worse, inflated price across experience levels.  Bottom line? You’re the decider.

 3)      As the corporate sponsor, you learn “buyer characteristics.”  The reverse auction feature allows you to see who your managers select each time. When we create reports, we track high/low bids, and which ones managers choose. If spend is excessive or commendable by region, by facility, by manager, you have that information at your fingertips via our reporting.

 Competitive bidding isn’t a new concept.  Vendor Management programs have relied on it for years, using it at the start of a program to establish a standing rate card.  In this more conventional  Vendor Management scenario, the rate card is based on fixed qualities such as job category and description.   We, however,  believe this process needs to be much more fluid.  Don’t the unique characteristics of the Contractor play a factor in what you are willing to pay? Isn’t talent equally important as price? We say yes.  The inherent elasticity of the Reverse Auction feature provides value to both our Client and our Vendor Users.  It was created out of a desire to introduce fairness and transparency to both.  That’s a concept everyone can get their head around.