How poor eTendering systems are inflating costs and delays in construction projects

Director and Founder of Compliance Chain, Robbie Blackhurst, shares his thoughts on the pitfalls of eTendering platforms

The drawbacks of current eTendering platforms

If you’ve submitted a construction tender recently, you’ve likely used an eTendering portal. These platforms have become the norm in the construction industry, promising enhanced efficiency, data access, and improved competition. However, there are clear drawbacks to current eTendering platforms. The disconnect between tender management and compliance checking has led to increased costs, heightened risks, and significant procurement delays. The heavy administrative burden required to manage all aspects of the procurement process only exacerbates these issues.

A digital lag in procurement processes

While digital advancements like Artificial Intelligence (AI) are revolutionising construction project delivery, other aspects of the procurement process are being left in the dust. Efficient planning at the tender stage is crucial for successful project outcomes. However, without streamlining this critical phase and improving the usability of outdated platforms, projects are faced with delays, compliance issues, and increased costs.

Public sector users and suppliers frequently encounter usability issues with historic platforms. Although these portals serve as digital vehicles for issuing and receiving information, many lack the necessary tools to closely monitor a supplier’s progress during a bid. Consequently, buyers spend excessive time chasing updates from suppliers throughout the tender period. The absence of basic automation in many eTendering platforms leads to understandable frustrations for both client users and suppliers and, in some cases, delays during the procurement process.

Where many eTendering portals miss the mark

Poor usability makes the tendering process extremely time-consuming, especially when managing multiple tenders. Clients are often forced to juggle various project-management and compliance-checking platforms, resulting in expensive subscription fees and increased confusion for stakeholders. The need to switch between different platforms creates further inefficiencies, making an already complex process even more tedious.

Moreover, many eTendering portals fail to facilitate easy feedback from buyers to suppliers during the bidding process. This feedback is crucial for suppliers, as it helps them make necessary improvements for future tenders. The inability to provide feedback easily can be incredibly frustrating for suppliers and often leaves them wondering exactly where they went wrong. This is now more important than ever, with the stringent feedback requirements outlined within the Procurement Act (2023).

Regulatory and compliance challenges

Compliance during the procurement process is critical, yet no eTendering platform offers comprehensive functionality for sourcing and managing compliant suppliers. This often forces buyers to use multiple platforms to manage compliance checking, increasing time and costs while complicating the search for compliant subcontractors. This carries significant risks. For instance, if a supplier lacks the current insurances, health and safety accreditations, or lack financial convenance, buyers could be held liable for any incidents, leading to legal action, supply chain insolvencies, and reputational damage.

The solution: a holistic platform for the future

To drive efficiency and improve compliance standards across the industry, the process of identifying and procuring responsible suppliers must be simplified.

Project stakeholders currently face heavy administrative burdens because they can’t closely monitor a supplier’s progress during a bid, provide necessary feedback, or check supplier compliance. Additionally, performance management, a crucial aspect of procurement, is overlooked in current eTendering platforms. Tracking a supplier’s past performance would help clients create better tender lists for future projects.

The future of eTendering demands a platform that combines tendering, compliance checking, and performance management in one central hub. Such a digital tool would act as a single source of truth, drastically reducing administrative tasks for all project stakeholders, cutting costs associated with multiple platforms, and upholding compliance standards required in public sector construction projects.

The digital revolution in tender management and compliance assurance is not just a possibility — it’s a necessity. To remain competitive and compliant, contractors and clients should seek out intelligent, holistic platforms that streamline and automate the procurement process, ensuring efficiency, transparency and compliance at every stage.

Compliance ChainCC Logo Final Blue Transparent is a unified construction platform that houses Compliance Checking, Supply Chain Management, Project Management and Social Value Management under one roof.

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