Online Bidding Process

Overview

Online Bidding Process service provides an automated matchmaking mechanism for information requests from buyers to suppliers, to execute negotiations and business transactions automatically via configured agents. It is a matchmaking application which achieves automated negotiations and business transactions between interested stakeholders. The matchmaker’s goal is to find the best possible supplier to fulfill a request for a service or product in a fully automated way. Different decision criteria for supplier selection, according to several qualitative and quantitative factors, are considered by the matchmaker. It also evaluates the available offers from the providers in order to suggest the best one to the supplier.

This specific tool aims to address the challenges and realize the Circular Economy Scenario of EFPF. KLEEMANN (KLE), ELDIA and MILOIL are the three participants of the scenario, focusing on Closed-Loop Supply Chains. The scenario starts with KLE granding the potential to a stakeholder business to collect and manage waste material on a marketplace, like wood waste or scrap metal. Then, ELDIA and other interested companies attend the process of online bidding in order to acquire the business contract. The winning bidder can use the marketplace again to sell the waste to bio-energy companies such as MILOIL. The recycled material is offered back to KLE and other manufacturers through the marketplace for reuse, completing the business circle.

Circular economy scenario

Figure 1: Circular Economy Scenario

High-level architecture

Online Bidding Process solution provides a series of different technologies:

  • An Agent Marketplace. It provides the infrastructure to enable agents interaction (language, protocols, interfaces). An Agent represents a company during online negotiation/bidding for specific services/goods
  • A Matchmaking Engine that finds matching suppliers to fulfil a request for product/service.
  • A functionality of live offers evaluation by the Matchmaking Engine. The available offers are evaluated against a list of prioritized criteria (price, delivery time, payment terms and methods etc.) in order to match the request with the best available offer
  • A web-based UI to be used by both requesters and suppliers participating in bidding process. The interface enable the users to participate live in a bidding process or set default offers that will be submitted automatically by the representative agents
Architecture

Figure 2: High level architecture

The Agent ecosystem is composed of a set of agents built to communicate with each other and with other platform’s components to perform an automated negotiation. To achieve this an Agent includes modules to support different communication protocols using their own communication language called CXL (Composition eXchange Language) derived from the FIPA ACL communication standard. Agents are differentiated by the following roles:

  • Requester: Represents a company who is requesting for a service or/and a related good
  • Supplier: Represents a company who provides a service

The Matchmaker component provides a full semantic framework for the agents with CRUD operations for agents/companies and two type of matchmaking functionalities. It matches requesters with suppliers for a service/good and in a second level matches the request with the best available offer (coming from supplier agents’ bids) based on different evaluation criteria such as price, payment and delivery methods, reliability etc.

The UI of the bidding process is web-based and enables a user to carry out the following functions:

  • Register/set up and agent
  • Initialize a bidding process in order to request for a service/good (requester)
  • Add information and priorities for the request (requester)
  • Online monitoring of the process for both suppliers and requester
  • Opportunity for supplier to bid for a request
  • Suggestion for best offer and details of all submitted offers in the case the user want to ignore system suggestion and evaluate by himself (requester)
  • Visual notification for win/lose in bidding process (supplier)
  • Bids history available to user (requester)

The system is available to the user through the EFPF portal where an authenticated user is able to configure and set up a new agent and to control the bidding processes by the means of UI.

Online Bidding Process Documentation

Documentation for Developers

Documentation for Users