FLEXTENDER: A METHOD ENGINEERING APPROACH FOR CREATING A FLEXIBLE BID PREPARATION METHOD
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Organizations are constantly seeking for opportunities that help expand their business volume. Large organizations heavily rely tender projects where SMB organizations often sell their goods and services via regular sales channel (Flynn, McKevitt, & Davis, 2013). Tender processes are generally perceived as complex and time consuming. SMB organizations often do not have to resources to invest in such time consuming and uncertain projects, which is a shame because the tender process itself is quite simple. The customer state their product requirements, several suppliers submit their proposals and the customer selects the most suitable to do business (Lauesen & Vium, 2005). Digitalization of tender processes becomes more popular nowadays due to new European legislation. Governmental tender project become more accessible which is definitely an opportunity for SMB organizations. Unless the number of e- tender processes increase, participation in tenders is still time-consuming. The scoring percentage of actual awarded tenders will be never hundred percent. Some industries depend highly on public tenders, especially companies in these industries can save much time by preparing their bids in a highly efficient manner. Original tender processes are surrounded by much paperwork and in the case of a governmental tenders, legislation is also involved (McKevitt & Davis, 2013). From a buyer perspective, there are already several tools available that are supported by IT. These tools are supporting tender processes from the preparation phase until the awarding phase and sometimes also include contract management functionalities. Popular examples of these tools are Kahootz Tender Management Software, TenderNed and Negometrix. However, these tools are extremely buyer focused which results in a lack of supplier support. An example from a tender process at a construction company: Construction projects are involved in complex procurement processes. During the bid process, the markup level is determined. Not only the profit is of importance, construction procurement knowledge and market intelligence is even more critical for bid preparation. Especially in the construction industry many different parties are involved in the bidding process including architects or engineering firms, general and specialized contractors but also material suppliers and of course the client itself (Halaris, 2001). General contractors oversee most construction projects. Most of their work, especially highly specialized work is subcontracted to subcontractors. To subcontract work, the general contractors have to follow the same procurement path as their client did: Prepare tender documents, evaluate bids from potential subcontractors and finally award. It can be seen as a sub-tender, sub-tenders contribute to the overarching tender from the general contractor.