As Digital India, the dream project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is gaining momentum it seems that usage of electronic medium in the government sector would increase. This increase also gives a hope that e-tendering process would also gain pace.
E-tendering is a process of carrying out entire tendering cycle online, including submission of price bid to harness efficiency, economy and speed of Internet. In other words, the E-tendering process means transformation from a traditional tendering system to an online process making huge advances in efficiency, transparency, data storage and retrieval systems.
This process comes under the wide range of e-procurement. This is the business-to-business or business-to-consumer or business-to-government purchase and sale of supplies, work, and services through the Internet as well as other information and networking systems, such as electronic data interchange and enterprise resource planning.
The e-procurement value chain consists of indent management, e-tendering, e-auctioning, vendor management, catalogue management, purchase order integration, order status, ship notice, e-invoicing, e-payment, and contract management. Indent management is the workflow involved in the preparation of tenders. This part of the value chain is optional, with individual procuring departments defining their indenting process. In works procurement, administrative approval and technical sanction are obtained in electronic format. In goods procurement, indent generation activity is done online. The end result of the stage is taken as inputs for issuing the NIT. Elements of e-procurement include request for information, request for proposal, request for quotation, RFx (the previous three together), and eRFx (software for managing RFx projects).
The usage of e-tendering gives additional benefits such as increased efficiency, cost savings (faster and cheaper) and improved transparency (to reduce corruption).
Revolutionizing procurement through E-tendering
The best part of the e-tendering system is that late and delayed offers after due date and time are not permitted. In case of manual tendering system, especially in India, last minute hustle is 100 per cent sure. Not only last minute hustle but there are people who use their influence to get their tenders submitted even after deadline. Submission of manual offers along with electronic offers shall not be permitted.
In the process of e-tendering there are various facilities provided to the contractors too. They get a free online login registration ID for online participation in E-Tenders. They can search e-tenders for free and download tender documents and tender corrigendum. Further, they can directly participate in the e-tender and submit the electronic offers online directly. There is also a provision for submission of offers in standard commercial rate page in fully secured manner directly.
Apart from submitting the offers contractors can directly view tender opening and view of tender tabulation from website after tender opening.
There is also a direct access to view details of acceptance letter or purchase order from website through Vender Home Page and the can also submit the requests for amendments by contractors using website links directly and they can also receive the intimations and post-contract amendments directly.
With so many benefits e-tendering few things should be always kept in mind. There should be an effective inbuilt grievance redressal system for any problem encountered in the use of the software. A disaster recovery mechanism must also be in place as a backup for all the databases and electronic records. System needs protection from virus attacks. Indian Railways were the pioneer in developing a dedicated communication network, as a basic requirement for its reservation system and other applications. It reflects the earnestness and dynamism of Indian Railways to keep pace with the latest technologies and reap the benefits of e-tendering. E-Tendering system has been very successfully implemented by stores department of Indian Railways.
Engineering Department is yet to adopt in full fledged manner. This system definitely has an edge over the existing tendering system. Therefore, Engineering Dept. should not be left behind.
It is an initiative in the direction of increasing transparency, saving time and costs.