Is your relationship with email under strain? Maybe you are asking too much from it…Fall back in love with email by stop trying to make it work for complex tendering…

Ever wonder why you and your procurement team spend so much time figuring out who said what, when and to whom? Why does every new tender feel like a groundhog day of the same communication issues and irritations of finding information? Or why you get that unsettled feeling when you pass the compliance office? Yes I know it’s their job but they’re people too!

Many energy, shipping and heavy industrial companies operate tendering processes manually using email, documents and spreadsheets. This results in considerable audit and compliance risks along with inconsistent, inefficient manual processes and difficulties in sharing information as in the diagram below.

Compliance risks tendering emailThis is often despite your colleagues in IT making a considerable investment in ERP and e-procurement systems and regularly doing battle with “Big IT”. It seems these systems either do not support the complex tendering processes common in your industry, or users find them just too cumbersome to be useful for these tasks. 

When it comes to tendering, there are lots of things that just suck the joy out of work and make doing a great job much harder. So we’ve put together some tips to help you ditch email, keep the Dementors at bay and make tendering less stressful.

Tendering doesn't have to be a headache - we’ve put together some tips to help you ditch email, keep the Dementors at bay and make tendering less stressful. Click To Tweet

1. Clunky

It’s not surprising that many procurement teams feel like email is letting them down and needs to try harder! But let’s face it, email was never intended for exchanging hundreds of sensitive documents per project with multiple parties. And email is only part of the problem – there are all the manual processes needed to run tenders too. So we shouldn’t be surprised that it doesn’t deliver the smooth, user-friendly experience we’ve come to expect for e-commerce.

2. Unsecure

Email is by nature not very secure but even if your company email is encrypted, that doesn’t help when someone clicks “reply to all”. Or when they accidentally include the sensitive email trail in a forwarded message to a different supplier. Let’s be honest – we’ve all done it – but we are only human. No-one enjoys swallowing that sinking feeling down while trying to find where they’ve put the “recall message” button now (and besides, it never works properly anyway!).

Email is by nature not very secure but even if your company email is encrypted, that doesn’t help when someone clicks “reply to all”. #cybersecurity Click To Tweet

3. Admin-intensive

So far email has been helping you out the best it can but a big part of the problem is all the manual processes that are still required to manage a tender process. Let’s face it, manual tender processes have got a lot to answer for. Whether it’s repeating the same steps for each supplier, quickly understanding the status of an ongoing tender process or just making sure that every bidder gets consistent current information. These processes are wasting your time on stuff that “should just happen”.

4. Knowledge & information management risks

So your team member had to take a day off at short notice but that doesn’t mean you can move the tender deadlines. Email is not going to be able to tell you where they got to when they left, what the next step is with each supplier or remind you that you still need clarification from legal for a specific bidder. Tenders are rarely just one person’s work – how about sharing specific elements with other colleagues?

Tenders are rarely just one person’s work - how about sharing specific elements with other colleagues? #procurement Click To Tweet

5. Poor auditability

No matter how great a job you do, eventually someone is going to want to know what, when and why…When there is a query from Compliance or the auditors come around, exhaustively searching your inbox is not the best way to evidence how you came to a decision, what the precise communication trail was or which version of a document you were referring to. Even the very best manual process will take huge amounts of time to document when needed.

The DeepStream Alternative

Simple workflow deepstream procurement

As it happens, there is a platform which is much better tailored to the tendering process than email. Here are 5 reasons why you should consider DeepStream:

1. User-friendly

Organise your suppliers and have a configurable tender workflow that fits the required stages (e.g. mandate an RFI, or go straight to RFP). Then, once you’ve uploaded all your tender documentation related to each stage – invite your suppliers to review and complete. Instead of email, chat and exchange data in-app with your suppliers to ensure every step is captured and auditable. 

2. Secure

Give email a break and look for a tendering solution that enables you to exchange documentation securely with multiple suppliers; lock and unlock tender documents and manage acceptance, deviations and clarifications at every stage using encrypted IM. Manage access permissions stage by stage so only the users that are supposed to can view relevant documents (e.g. only shortlisted suppliers see the draft contract). 

what is complex tendering3. Automated

What about an application that automates the tender process so that data is uploaded once and appears in the right place – at the right time throughout the process? Data entry errors are eliminated; you get at-a-glance status information for every tender and suppliers to know exactly what is expected of them and when. 

4. Streamlined

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a web-based dashboard on desktop and mobile that shows the exact status of each step and every supplier for all your tenders? Drilling down in a specific tender status enables you to see why it’s not complete and what needs to be done next. Add as many team members as you want and control which documents they can view (e.g. share just the technical parts with engineering). 

5. Auditable

A fully auditable solution will capture every single document exchange, acceptance status, clarification message and everything in between. Audit and compliance reports are generated with a few clicks and every time-stamped action is listed with the user identification and relevant documents. So you can be safe in the knowledge that whenever it’s needed, the right information will be there. 

Download audit trail procurement digital

 

So let DeepStream help you run a more efficient, compliant tender process. Remember what email is great at and why you were so attracted all those years ago… Get in touch now for a demo: david.clitherow@deepstreamtech.com 

 

David Clitherow