Introducing our latest updates to streamline buyer and supplier communications
Asking and answering questions is a crucial part of the tendering process. It should be straightforward, but often feels overly complicated and time consuming.
Questions may take some time and effort to answer but there’s no reason why the process itself shouldn’t be effortless.
DeepStream’s latest update includes several improvements aimed at speeding up and streamlining this important communication process between buyers and suppliers.
Of course, all good solutions start with problems. Let’s take a look at some of the challenges our users identify around clarifications and how we’re addressing them.
Companies often use a spreadsheet to track clarifications. Sometimes this is created from a company template. In other cases, it’s down to individual users to decide exactly how this document should look and function.
When it comes to the level of complexity that most procurement events require, inconsistency is a killer. It leaves suppliers confused, fails to promote internal transparency and collaboration, and increases the risk of things going wrong.
DeepStream clarifications follow a set structure with clear responses and statuses designed to ensure the conversation reaches a conclusion and the process is managed consistently well across your team.
At times a direct individual reply is all that is needed, but sometimes a clarification needs to be issued to all participants at the same time. Other times it’s a mixture of both.
Typically this is handled with a combination of emails, spreadsheets, and emails with attached spreadsheets. There can be a lot of overhead in managing different types of response and ensuring everyone is kept up-to-date, internally and externally.
DeepStream clarifications allow you to respond both individually to a supplier, or to issue a bulletin post to all suppliers at once as part of your response. You can make each of these responses as many times as you need over the course of a clarification.
And if you need to reopen a clarification to address something else under the same topic, it’s as simple as clicking ‘Undo’.
Reducing manual work
Even the best clarifications workflows are typically only as good as someone’s ability to remember to reply to an email and update a spreadsheet.
Where the main form of communication is email, this is particularly important. Emails aren’t secure by default and we receive hundreds competing for our attention every day.
These tasks are necessary but manual, and hardly value-adding – worse, they’re very prone to the risk of something important being mislaid, overlooked or forgotten.
DeepStream removes the need to issue emails or update spreadsheets manually. In-app and email notifications are automatically issued with each response you make, and all of this happens in a secure environment, logged in an audit trail.
If you still need an offline register of clarifications, you can download a CSV which replicates your manual spreadsheet without you having to do anything extra.
Clarifications can cover a variety of areas, so it’s often necessary to involve more than one person. Handling this manually over email can be a challenge of who should be cc’d or not. Trying to collate these responses from individual emails so you know exactly what’s happened can be a nightmare.
With DeepStream, users on your team can work together to contribute and respond to the same clarification individually and directly. Or give people read-only permission and use the internal comments board to communicate. All responses are logged in the audit trail, as you would expect.
Our flexible collaborators feature even allows you to bring external companies onboard to your request and grant them permission to read and respond to clarifications as appropriate.
A side effect of clarifications living in emails and spreadsheets is that it’s very difficult to keep your team updated on their progress. The solution is often more emails, more spreadsheets, and even more to keep track of.
With DeepStream, any number of your team members can be added to a request and given permission to view or respond to clarifications.
What’s shown in the platform is live and always up-to-date, no more emailing round spreadsheets or asking for the latest version.
Clarifications are available now for all newly-created requests on DeepStream.
We’re keen to hear how they fit your process – try them out today and let us know!