In construction, eTenders are simply procurement processes which occur entirely online, through online documentation and communication.
In short, a buyer posts details of a construction job online and uploads any documents needed. Relevant suppliers register on an online portal, such as Construction Tenders, to express their interest and download documents. Suppliers can submit bids for the work digitally, without needing to print or post any documentation. Construction bids can be submitted either directly to the buyer via email or via an online portal.
We’ve looked at the benefits and shortfalls of eTendering in general and how to build construction contracts for tender. Now, we’d like to take a sector-specific approach and ask: What are the ramifications of using eTenders in construction bids? And how can the features of eTendering help make a construction bid as strong as possible?
Firstly, you might be thinking: eTendering sounds a lot like ‘normal’ tendering, doesn’t it? You’d be right – these days, eTenders are very much the norm across all industries.
Now, the vast majority of construction tenders are carried out almost entirely online. This includes the Invitation to Tender (ITT) at the start of the process, right through to the final stages of completion. Generally, pen, paper and postage are becoming a thing of the past in tendering. Perhaps the procurement manager will print out tender documentation for their own ease of reading. You can consider formatting bids with print or branding in mind, as our design masterclass on Tender VLE explains. However, design is rarely an important factor in construction bids, where strict formats are stuck to.
Here at Hudson Succeed, the percentage of requests we get for postal submissions is less than 5%. Obviously, this is a small fraction. The majority of our tendering work is carried out online. Because of this, we’re always looking at how to make the process of eTendering more efficient at every stage.
When it comes to the rise of eTenders, construction is one of the industries that benefit the most. The Government recognised the importance of eTenders in construction as part of their Construction 2025 report, back in 2013. They predicted eTenders would deliver much greater productivity by 2025 and major efficiency gains from the earlier engagement of supply chains. This has certainly come true in recent years.
Ultimately, the effectiveness of an eTender in construction can be defined by how well the procurement process is completed. Also, whether the specification and response accurately reflect the intentions of the contracting parties. All of this is a lot easier with eTenders.
So, how exactly has eTendering revolutionised construction contracts?
A Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) is a supply chain list where tenders are published to specific members. A DPS is a completely electronic process.
We’ve streamlined eTendering through our 11 sector-specific tendering portals, including Construction Tenders. Opportunities on our portals can be filtered according to the needs of the user. This makes sure users only see tenders that are relevant to their specific industry and sector. Ultimately, the user avoids having to trawl through irrelevant tenders. The process for buyers is also streamlined, as they can publish competitive opportunities to actively engaged suppliers.
Having a secure online platform where tender documents can be distributed, amended and submitted helps streamline the procurement process further. This saves time, money and resources and allows for ongoing collaboration as you create your construction eTender.
The ‘Tasks’ function on our portal allows multiple users to work on a tender simultaneously. You can set tasks for different team members regarding different elements of the tender, such as pricing or quality. You can then view each member’s progress, whenever you need to, and when milestones are hit, you can alert participants.
Construction tenders are highly complex. There are often multiple buyers, multi-tier supply chains, and very detailed specifications to think about. With eTenders, constructions bids and proposals are a much clearer and more accessible process, for both buyers and suppliers.
A construction tender is often a very large document. For instance, we’ve talked about the trials of setting out tender rates in construction, which can be a long process. The schedule of rates (SOR) alone may contain 100+ pages, 50+ headings and countless sub-sections and pricing units. eTenders allow construction contractors to use software to properly price their works and boost the chances of effective tender management.
eTendering also allows for early engagement between buyer and supplier and encourages ongoing communication. If something needs to be clarified or negotiated, it can be done so fairly easily. This helps reduces tender cycle times and lowers transactional costs.
Easy and streamlined communication between contractor and sub-contractor is an often-overlooked blessing of eTendering compared to past methods (postage). Good communication is always essential when it comes to multiple companies collaborating effectively!
Eliminating the need for pen, paper and postage also removes the need for a lot of extraneous physical processes. This, in turn, leaves a lot less room for human error.
Imagine, for instance, you’ve filled out the 100-page SOR document and made a mistake on page 56. Previously, it could have been printed and sealed inside an envelope in time for postage. Now, however, multiple team members can have online access to a digital document, 24 hours a day. This is a lot more likely to be spotted and changed before submission. The eTender can also be checked over and amended right up until the deadline for submission.
In turn, staff members who would be burdened with extraneous jobs can focus on more important tasks. For instance, knowing the ‘scope of works’ is perhaps the most important aspect of the procurement process in construction. eTenders give the buyer more time to define the contract terms, and the supplier more time to understand and negotiate them. Extra time to make the contract and tender documentation more accurate is valuable and will reduce the risk of errors.
If you need any support with construction eTenders, our Hudson Succeed team is happy to help. We can give expert writing support to maximise your success.
eTendering allows for automation which drastically speeds up elements of the tendering process. For instance, the automatic submission of a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ). The PAS 91 is the construction industry’s answer to the PQQ. Sites like ConstructionLine can be used to prove you are PAS 91 compliant. Essentially, once suppliers have completed one PAS 91 questionnaire, the same set of standard responses can be used again.
While moving online has simplified many stages of the tendering process, this comes with a major issue, seen in CPV codes. Automation doesn’t always provide the best outcome. A major downfall with eTendering and online portals is the widespread dependence on CPV codes to source tenders. Up to a third of CPV codes are used inaccurately, causing many businesses to miss relevant tenders.
To avoid this, all opportunities on Construction Tenders are sourced and tagged manually. In this area, it’s clear that humans are still beating robots!
Book a free live demo of Construction Tenders today and receive a daily construction leads bulletin straight to your inbox. The bulletin contains all the relevant construction tenders that we have uploaded that day.
This includes the following sub-sectors: