A typical task in the management of a project is administration of the bid process including issuance of all bid documents to the bidders and receiving the bids at a specified time and place. In this era of time saving technology, it is surprising how many owners are still using a manual paper process to distribute bid documents and receive bids. While this process is without a doubt tried and true, it comes at a very high cost: printing paper sets of bid documents, distributing those paper sets, tracking who has documents, issuing addenda, staff time to manage the process are all time consuming and expensive.
Published in the Educational Procurement Journal of NAEP (Fall 2016)
If your responsibilities include requesting and managing bids or proposals for goods, services or construction you have likely received submissions that did not comply with your expectations and documented requirements. They may have been received late, were missing required information or contained some other irregularity that rendered the submission non-responsive. When your objective is to run a fair and equitable process that ultimately selects a fully compliant and responsive bidder, then the process you utilize matters.
If you are closing a bid, tender or RF(x) and the closing time is 2:00 PM, when is that? That’s easy, it’s when the clock says 2:00 PM, right? Not necessarily. Which clock, the one on the wall, the one on your phone, the watch on your wrist or the official national time clock? Any one of them could be correct but what matters is what you stated in your Instructions to Bidders.
There has been a lot of discussion around the idea of having bidders pay the cost of using eBidding systems, with some pretty strong opinions that the bidders will resist, boycott, complain, or just be unhappy.
Online bid submission has been in use for the better part of a decade now. When considering an online bid submission process, owners often ask:
We set out a number of years ago to modernize and streamline the methods used for the calling and submission of bids, tenders and RF(x)’s. We understood the pain points experienced by both the procurement professional receiving the submissions as well as the proponents. The traditional paper based process is no longer good enough and presents too many potential problems and costs for both parties.
It matters because a good process significantly improves the prospect of good results. Let’s consider some of the key reasons that this is important:
The traditional paper based process of receiving bids and proposals has proven itself fertile ground for claims and litigation. The people responsible for managing these processes attempt to eliminate the potential for problems by using strict protocols and instructions. Why then are there still so many claims, delays and lawsuits that arise from the bidding process? I suggest it is the complexity and manual nature of the process that creates the risk of problems. If we examine how to deal with some of the common issues that arise, a clear and obvious solution emerges.
There is a growing trend towards moving business practices online to gain efficiencies. One of the activities that is moving that way is the process of submitting a bid. It is important to make sure that moving your process online doesn’t leave gaps that can increase the risk of errors or omissions. To do that a complete bidding system that integrates all the related elements of the process is essential. What then, are the elements of a complete system?
Most bidders find themselves needing to stay well informed of the twists and turns of current bidding laws as new cases wind their way through the court systems changing the precedents and seemingly establishing new standards. The issues being litigated can be the very finest of points. I have personally been an expert witness on a bidding related question to answer the question of when is 2:00. One of the parties seemed to be arguing it was a period of time rather than an instant in time. You be the judge.
Topics: Bid event management
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Our blog will periodically post information related to procurement with a focus on sourcing and bid processes and issues. We look forward to your participation.