Purpose – In the 1990s, reverse e-auctions were designed to be a widely used procurement tool due to the dramatic cost reduction. However, the current usage is more limited than expected, because eauctions do not always produce the benefits expected and firms have great difficulty in deciding the right tool to use in the negotiation. The aim of this paper is to propose a methodology for a useful utilization of the reverse e-auctions. Design/methodology/approach – This paper suggests a method based on the quality function deployment (QFD) technique to help purchasing managers to choose how and when they should use e-auctions to buy a new product or service. Findings – The approach proposed is structured as a tree and developed in three steps: choice between traditional negotiation and e-auction; choice between the different typologies of e-auction (open, secret, and in sealed envelope); and, finally, choice of the specific characteristics of the e-auction to guarantee an optimal negotiation outcome. Practical implications – As completion and validation of the method proposed, two case studies are presented and discussed. Originality/value – The value of the methodology is to propose a simple but systematic approach to use the reverse e-auctions technique. The use of a QFD-based approach represents the originality of the method.
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