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Invitation to tender is a process whereby companies invite various suppliers to say how much it will cost them to perform a particular task. According to the (Macmillan dictionary 2010) invitation to tender can be defined as “a formal invitation to a small number of suppliers to make a detailed proposal for completing a particular piece of work.” (Lexicon 2009) defines invitation to tender as “an instances when an organization asks companies to say how much they will charge to perform particular work, and the company with the lowest price usually gets the work.”
The process involves creating tender documents (which include statement of work, request for information and request for proposal), in other to manage the supplier selection process and as well to help the organization to select the best possible supplier available. A Statement of Work, defines 'what it is that the organization need from an external supplier, with statement of work , the organization can easily define its requirement to the supplier, describe the material and equipment need for the task, specify the deliverables to be provided by the supplier, and as well the terms and condition for payment. The request for information provides everything the organisation need to appoint the right suppliers for the business. It helps to create a Request for Information document, by listing all of the information that suppliers need to give to you, to tell you about their business. With this information, the organization can now select the preferred supplier for the business, while a request for proposal is a document that is issued to suppliers to help them provide the information needed to make a preferred supplier decision it also help the organisation select a preferred supplier for the business (Method123 2003)
Automation on the other hand is defined as “the act of implementing the control of equipment with advanced technology; usually involving electronic hardware; or is the replacement of man power with machine power”. (Answers Corporation 2010). Automation is all about minimizing waste of time during production or business process, it enhances efficiency , effectiveness and transformation , and it involves the use of information technology, it reduce administration time, reduces cost, reduces the use of paper when it comes to invitation to tender. (Wise GEEK 2010) defines automation as “the use of robotic devices to complete manufacturing tasks”. But for the purpose of this report , automation will considered from the invitation to tender point of view, it will describe how to automate the invitation to tender process and will also highlight the benefit of automation to companies. But first of all let me describe the workflow of automating the invitation to tender process.
HOW TO AUTOMATE INVITATION TO TENDER PROCESS
tenders is usally created between the organisation and various supplies.the work flow is initaited muti-disciplianary team who creat the tender document for publication on the internet from a master templates, after that a standard template is selected and then sent to the project team leaderwho then prepares the tender specification, and the sent it for approval. before it can be approve it requires legal,technical,procurement and financial approvals. if the tender is approved it is the published automaticaly on the internet, during that period the team clarifies supplier queries online. then suppliers can now login to a secure site with their user name and password and prepare and submit their bids online during the publication period. after that the tender committee approves opening bids, in that same process the team evaluate and negotiate online as well as the suppliers. it is important to note that all Bid evaluation and negotiations with various suppliers are done online.then it goes to the selection and approvalof winning bid where by the the supplier selected signs the contract.The submissions are in a database rather than in Word documents and therefore the format for all vendors is identical and comparisons/evaluations are straightforward and automated Tracking delivery of all contract items and services online iSpec automatically creates a comprehensive audit trail and a record of the entire process for easy retrieval in case of disputes without requiring lengthy searches contracting authority staff creates the electronic invitation to tender document online, which is now sent to all the parties involved for approval such as the finance and legal department after that, the invitation to tender is now published using the electronic tendering system and is now made available online for interested suppliers to look into. The Suppliers then access the electronic tendering system to view the invitation to tender via the contracting authority's website. The Suppliers will then respond to the invitation to tender by sending their bids using a secure e-mail to the electronic tendering system. It is important to note that the Security features electronic tendering system prohibit access to any of the tender responses until a specified deadline, and Once the tender deadline has been reached, the contracting authority users of the system can now view the tenders and collaborate on-line to perform evaluation analysis of the submitted bids. The supplier of the winning bid is then notified of the award using the electronic tendering system
There are different ways automation can benefit companies. It can help companies to reduce errors that often occur during the expense management process. An automated expense management system can provide a 100% return on investment in as little as a few months, depending on how large a part of the human resources department is required to work on expenses For example, duplicate claims or wrong payment methods can be flagged so that these items can be easily corrected and moved on for approval. (Joe 2009).
Automating registration processes does not only reduces errors,it saves time, increases productivity, and as well reduce cost. According to Rob Maina, executive director of CIBC World Markets Using technology products to help streamline the open enrolment or registration process can dramatically reduce cost. By properly automating open enrollment and encouraging employee self-service, companies can save effort, time, and money, and empower employees to make better choices and be more accountable for their critical health decisions. HR staff can become more strategic and have more time to do their job, motivate and retain their employees. ( HR.COM Limited 2010)
Automating a company's workflow also benefits in alot of ways for example. it help to reduce the number of tasks employees would have done manually,there by freeing them to work on other important non-repetitive tasks. This essentially allows more things to get done in the same amount of time. In addition, this reduction of repetitious work in an employee's day can help to increase employee motivation and productivity by making their job more interesting and allowing them to spread out into other areas of production. Automation also helps companies to generate more accurate and consistent products. By automating areas of production, there are fewer chances of mistakes occurring. So, companies can begin generating higher quality products with more features, with little or no additional increase in production time or resources. In fact, Automation can help improve the speed of a workflow because computer programs can perform tasks much faster than humans.
In general, the following benefits are typically achieved through workflow automation:
* Increased Consistency
* Increased Efficiency
* Increased Productive use of resources
* Increased Speed
* Increased Profit
* Reduced Errors
Automated invoice reports help consultancies to identify problems and opportunities quickly, and managers will have access to the information they need on the spot, wherever they are. Thanks to real-time billing data, they can track available budget as well as improve customer relationships by providing clients with access to the data. They can also automate calculations by running reports based on customized billing rules.