The majority of the bids we are involved in are conducted online via an e-tendering process. This allows the buyer to publish an opportunity online and ask all interested suppliers to submit their bid via an online portal, or directly to them via email.
The move to e-tendering is easier both for the buyer and supplier involved, diminishing any need to print and bind a bid, and also making communication easier and more transparent. We take a look at what is involved.
E-tendering: an overview
A few years back, procuring authorities would ask for a bid to be submitted in hard copy, meaning the bidder would have to design, print and bind possibly hundreds of pages to be sent to the contracting authority. In turn the buyer would then have numerous hard copy bids to read through and evaluate, which is time consuming. Throughout this process, communication with bidders is more difficult, as there is no central portal to issue any clarifications, ask questions or provide follow up messages after the bids have been submitted.
Moving to a fully online system seems only natural. When you are interested in a contract via Tenders Electronic Daily or Contracts Finder, you are provided with a link to the online portal and can easily register your interest and access more information about the contract and find the relevant tender documents to complete. Typically there is a message function to enable all bidders to submit clarification questions and to be updated with any necessary information that may affect their tender submission.
- No need for design work, meaning there is an even playing field for all companies
- A more structured approach, as you are guided through the sections to complete and usually can’t progress until all mandatory sections are completed
- Transparency in the communication between all bidders and the buyer
- The process is more time-efficient for both bidders and the evaluators, with some portals telling you how far through the submission you are so you can track progress
- Communication can be continued after the bid has been submitted for any further information or clarifications.
Tips for tendering online
A few of the online tendering portals can be tricky to navigate (not naming any names!) and it is important to double check through everything before you submit. The other main issue with e-tendering is that the sites do have the tendency to crash in the minutes leading up the deadline, as numerous bidders will be trying to access the site at once.
Leave yourself plenty of time to upload all documents and submit your tender, so that you do not miss the deadline and are subsequently left out of the process. If you are ticking boxes and uploading documents online, perhaps get a colleague to review and do a compliance check of your bid so that everything is in agreement.
For help and support with e-tenders contact our bid team today who will be happy to talk you through the process.
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