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Publix Launches Purchasing and Reverse Auction Web Site

LAKELAND, Fla. - Publix Super Markets Inc. has launched a Web site to support its purchasing and reverse auction program. Suppliers of items other than consumer packaged goods (CPG) that are interested in conducting business with Publix can now register through the company's Web site.

"The site enhances the process by providing suppliers with information about how to conduct business with Publix and how they can pre-qualify to participate in our auction process," said Publix spokesman Lee Brunson.

The site provides pre-qualification forms and information for two of Publix's purchasing groups: manufacturing and facilities.

Manufacturing is responsible for raw materials, packaging, supplies, and equipment and services for Publix's manufacturing plants, as well as retail supply items. This group also assists the corporate purchasing and fresh products groups in the supplier review/electronic auction process for Publix private label items and fresh products such as meat, seafood produce, bakery and deli.

The facilities group is responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of retail stores and facilities.

"Our current process requires suppliers of CPG items to contact our corporate purchasing department in Lakeland. But we are working on future applications of the Web site that will enhance the process for that purchasing group as well," said Brunson.

In Nov. 2000, Publix began using e-commerce technologies to conduct reverse auctions. Last year the company conducted 59 reverse auctions to purchase items such as pecans, containers, plastic bags, freight, Publix Brand oils and shortenings and Publix Brand Cheese.

"We're using this e-commerce technology to seek suppliers who can provide high-quality products and premier services at the most competitive prices, reducing some of the administrative costs associated with the purchasing process," said Brunson.

In other news, Publix is currently piloting self-checkout technology from NCR Corporation. The NCR FastLane solution has been installed in select stores in Tampa, Miami and Tallahassee, and in two Atlanta locations.

"Giving our customers the option to check themselves out is an added convenience that supports our goal to provide the best service," said Brunson, who added that NCR FastLane has so far been "very well received" by customers.
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