Have you checked out the Customer Success group at Ariba Exchange? There are several Best Practice webinars with links to review the replays, including a few on auctions.
If you're not currently a member of this group, simply request permission to join by contacting Beverly Dunn. Beverly also publishes a great series of tips called Knowledge Nuggets.
Ariba Exchange Community Manager
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I prefer to generally deal with the manufacturers and standardize equipment. It becomes a dual sourcing event as you will auction the actual hardware in the initial event to all of the manufacturers, but then run a secondary event for resellers. Manufacturers are moving to just in time inventory so the days of holding stock and immediate shipment are over. Your resellers will provide a cost plus model to cover the warehousing and fulfillment for roll-outs where you'll want less than 14 day delivery times. As always, forecasting will provide the maximum cost savings, allowing you to order directly from the manufactuer and anticipate the long lead times. This will come into play when your IT department is good at planning refresh projects. However your environment should have some level of immediate turn around expectations, such as replacement units and new hires (30% or so of total volume). There are many key suppliers in the reseller space. I would recommend using Garner's Magic quadrants to determine who would fit your needs.
Hope this helps!
Director of Strategic Sourcing