Leading shipping company adopts a SharePoint based bid management platform to automate the process
Client Business description
Our client is one of the leading integrated, full-service maritime yards located in MENA region. They focus on building ships, offshore vessels, rigs, platforms. Additionally, the yard helps to the repair & maintain these vessels.
They had several cases where they needed to award construction & repair contract to third-party vendors. The client used an outdated tendering process to award these new contracts. Because of the technological limitations, the process was time-intensive and cumbersome. The system had several challenges:
- They created RFPs with future bid open and close date.
- When bid opened, access the client’s employees were not able to access the information. Similarly, after bidding closed, the bidders were denied access. Only those in the organization could access the system. The process was manually controlled and cumbersome.
- The system was unsecured and relied heavily on paper copies. Bid documents could be stolen or manipulated in the wrong hands.
- Email invitations sent to bidders using the previous system were not customizable.
How we helped
To overcome the shortcomings of the manual bidding system – the client wanted to use SharePoint lists to automate this business process. However, they were not sure how to implement this solution. They had more than 250 users for Office 365 in the company. They approached our Beyond Intranet SharePoint experts for help developing a fully automated bid Management solution. We understood how the current client workflow utilized a manual bidding process. We turned their workflow into a custom digital solution. A common SharePoint platform was created where the Bid or proposal owners, reviewer team, and external users (Bidders)- could collaborate seamlessly and complete the bidding process. The automated process included the following workflow:
Bid Project form
Created a Bid project form with predefined fields like:
- Bid Project Title
- Bid Description
- Project Members
- Internal employees
- Start Date and Time
- Bid Close Date and Time
Add External users
Another challenge we solved was successfully inviting external or non-SharePoint users for bidding. The project owner was able to add as many bidders as needed and send invites through the software.
Bid document access
Bidders received automatic access to designated folders as soon as the bid opened and automatically denied access to the organization members.
Similarly, on the bid closure date, access to bidders was automatically denied and given to the organization members.
SharePoint allows us to send emails at various trigger points, but these emails are not customizable. As per the client's need, we prepared custom email templates at various trigger points which gave more information to the recipients. Custom emails are sent when any bid starts or is about to close. Reminder emails are sent to bidders before the bid is about to close.
Emails are also sent to the bid evaluation team as soon as Bid is closed, and the evaluation team gets access to documents.
Bid evaluation process
With a high level of security involved in the bidding process, we created a condition in the bid evaluation process. The technical team is required to evaluate the documents first and after they give approval, the Commercial team can access them.
Also, the system does not allow opening the Bid documents without valid authentication by all the members of the evaluation team.
The client was able to tap the full potential of the Office 365 user license their employees used with the new bid management service. Some other significant benefits of the system were:
- Using the custom-developed bid management solution helped the client make the bidding process faster and seamless. This helped Project owners, the evaluation team, and external bidders collaborate on one platform and easily work on bids.
- Bidder repository helped the client send bid invitations to appropriate vendors and save them from duplicating their effort on each bid.
- With an advanced level of user permissions and access levels, the new system was 75% more secure than the traditional bidding system.
- The evaluation process also became smoother, faster, and more secure than the previous system.
- The client was able to close bids 35% faster in the new system.
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