Optimising the management of tenders
In order to achieve potential savings, many shippers are putting more and more orders out to tender, meaning logistics companies and forwarders need to be able to skilfully respond and manage them. When tendering for projects, contracts or services, the aim is, of course, to find the best partner and the best offer, but, particularly in the field of logistics, tenders can become very costly and complex. With complex and technically challenging projects and a large number of applicants, this can become very time-consuming. Therefore, the option to digitalise and automate repetitive steps and simplify them with appropriate software is growing in popularity. Furthermore, due to their complexity, the management of tenders is often outsourced to specialised service providers or tender specialists.
However, tender management encompasses much more than just the administration and processing of tenders by means of software. Successful tender management goes through a number of phases (1). First, the tender manager works out the specific requirements for the tender with the client, e.g. a logistics company. In the subsequent planning phase, the framework conditions are set. These include the type of award, the requirements for the client and the bidders, the concrete planning of the process and the definition of an evaluation grid for the bidders. It must also be determined how the offers and service tariffs of the individual bidders are to be recorded and compared. The tender documents are also drawn up in this phase. The tender is then published and the received bids are collected, compared and evaluated. This phase also includes the renegotiations and contract negotiations with the bidders. In the final phase of tender management, support is provided for the selected bidder or the processes after the contract has been concluded. In addition, the entire process of the contributed services is evaluated therby allowing the processes and cooperation with the bidder to be optimised.
The standardisation of processes and business procedures in procurement can drastically reduce the processing time of tenders. It is also the basis of digitalisation and the use of time-saving tender management software. Siemens Digital Logistics conducted the study "Digitalisation of Tender Management in Contract Logistics" (2) in 2020. It showed a glaring lack in the area of digitisation of tender management, as 80% of logistics companies see a great need for improvement here. Just under a third of the shippers and 20% of the logistics service providers surveyed were working on this. For example, unsuitable tools, a lack of integrated software solutions, a lack of IT know-how and a lack of resources in the specialist departments were seen as hurdles to implementation.
The quality of tenders is significantly influenced by the coordination of technical and commercial assessments and a lack of coordination can have a negative impact on the overall assessment of a supplier. Of course, the human factor also plays a major role, which is influenced in particular by the technical qualification of the buyers in the area of tender management and the team composition (3). Standardised and automated routines are important, on the one hand to consider all aspects in the tender and on the other hand to ensure quality in the tender. Upstream and downstream processes should be considered in the tender in order to be able to optimise processes and fix the roles of those responsible. A holistic management model with a clear distribution of the roles of those responsible should be developed. Through a coach, quality can be improved by working out the right approach and preparing for important negotiations. Supplier relationships have also become much more significant and complex as a result of the pandemic. It is now no longer just about price negotiations, but also about delivery capability, flexibility, mutual benefit, supplier innovation potential and, in short, building a good relationship. Optimising tender management can contribute a great deal to increasing the added value of procurement.
1 Tender management, Delta esourcing, Link
2 Günnel Thomas, Contract logistics, Study: Tender management digital - how far are the logistics companies?, Automotive Industry, Vogel Communications Group GmbH & Co. KG, Link
3 New Now in Organizations, Refocusing on Tender Management to Increase Corporate Value, January 2021, Camelot Management Consultants, Link