Getting the Final Leg of SCM Automation Right – Bid Submission and Evaluation

Automating bid submission and evaluation

David GitongaDespite the adoption of automation in supply chain management (SCM) to enhance efficiency and productivity, numerous businesses continue to receive and evaluate bids manually. In fact some companies still have a darkroom dedicated to storing old bid responses, says Director and Business Development Head at Wema Software Solutions in Pretoria, David Gitonga. The aspiration to achieve an end-to-end paperless procurement process is still valid. In this article, he explores the significance of automating the last leg of SCM, with a specific emphasis on its ability to enhance the efficiency of the bid submission and assessment procedure.

The Current State of Bid Submission and Evaluation
Manual bid submission and evaluation processes can lead to delays, increased administrative costs and limited visibility into supplier performance. To address these issues, companies should embrace automated systems that streamline the bidding and evaluation processes. Automation in bid submission and evaluation is vital for companies seeking to optimise their procurement processes and gain a competitive edge in the market.
Automating bid submission and evaluation in SCM is challenging due to unstructured bid documents, complex evaluation criteria and the need for supplier engagement. Analysing and standardising unstructured data poses difficulties for automated systems. Determining and assessing evaluation criteria, including quality, pricing, delivery time and technical specifications, is complex and varies between organisations.
Additionally, integrating systems and ensuring data security are necessary for suppliers to electronically submit bids. Overcoming these challenges is crucial for successful automation of bid submission and evaluation in SCM.

What’s available in the market: Comparing different software vendors
In today’s competitive business landscape, companies strive to enhance their purchasing procedures. To achieve this, suitable software for bid submission and review is essential. Known software packages like SAP Ariba, Zycus, Coupa and Wemasoft offer numerous benefits and features. Assessing each programme’s strengths and advantages allows companies to make informed decisions on which software aligns best with their requirements.

Factors to consider in choosing bid submission and evaluation software
Factors to consider while choosing a tool to automate bid submission and evaluation processes:

  1. Cost: The price is a crucial factor when considering a software purchase. Some vendors may have hidden fees, while others will cost an arm and a leg for consultation and customisation. Therefore, find out what are upfront costs, implementation costs, as well as recurring costs.
  2. Customisation: Are you looking for something off-the-shelf, or something that can be tailored to your needs? What is the effort, budget and timeline required to customise to your liking?
  3. Trial: Sometimes you can spend a lot and not achieve your expected goal. A trial version gives you confidence that what you are about to purchase will be a fit for your organisation even before you spend.
  4. Integration: In most cases, a company might have an existing ERP system which does not need not replacing. Instead look for a solution that plugs into your ERP to add the missing features.
  5. Buy Local: This is in line with government’s plans to revive South Africa’s economy so that millions of jobs can be created and unemployment can be reduced. Buying local will help, albeit in a small way, to stimulate job creation.

Considering these factors, businesses can choose a tool that offers cost efficiency, customisation options and strong supplier management capabilities. These features contribute to a streamlined and optimised bid submission and evaluation process, ultimately leading to better procurement outcomes.

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