Do you know Bobex? It’s a european B2B marketplace. Not a new one, as Bobex started business in 2000 . Their tagline? “Matching suppliers and buyers”. The principe is simple, as mentioned on their website: Buyers submit their request free of charge and suppliers reply with customised bids. ‘Customised bids ‘ means that Bobex is providing standard templates/questionnaires to buyers, for specific categories of good or services. It enables both buyers and sellers to save time in the tendering process. At the end, the buyer can easily compare the offers from the sellers who replied… as those offers are fully comparable. The number of categories available is already impressive. There might be something like a hundred of them. You can have a look at it here. The other interesting point is that Bobex is available in different countries (Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Netherland, UK), so in different language and with a different set of suppliers – of course – per country.
I think it can be an excellent online tool for SMEs in general, as SMEs can’t afford to spend too much time in sourcing, product specification, tendering and quotation. For larger companies, it is not flexible enough to include additional necessary clauses or to invite specific supplier to participate…but Bobex already thought about it and s offering BPS2, an e-Sourcing software for Professional buyers – in ASP mode – and dedicated to those big or public organisations.