“Ambitious climate targets are not achievable with conventional technologies. The key lies in innovations.” – In the Fichtner blog article entitled “Dynamic innovation management: the Fichtner VisionLab” published in February 2020, Dr. Jochen Lambauer spoke about innovations developed by the Fichtner VisionLab. But what are they?
There is initially a temptation to think big. But if you look up the definition of innovation, you realize that it need not be referring to electricity in liquid form. According to the dictionary definition of innovation, it may also simply be the introduction of something new that is expected to bring about significant improvement. The Fichtner TenderCube is precisely that.
Dust-free sustainability – Small steps to great things
Are we really so fond of paper that we enjoy wading through what can quickly become 100 kg of sheets to find the relevant information we need to evaluate a tender? There is another way!
With the Fichtner TenderCube, we are, figuratively speaking, tackling the dust that collects on countless folders filled with bidding documents during a bid evaluation. It’s about not being led by the process, but rather leading the process yourself. Freeing up space for the actual work. Raising flexibility and also process reliability, which is in the interests of our clients as well as benefiting our colleagues. Less flights, yet closer to the client. So by aiming to be “dust-free”, we achieve sustainability. Or in other words, small steps achieve great things.
In harmony – Digitization supports technical know-how
In his blog article entitled “A moderator’s balancing act of remaining neutral in a highly political context”, Dr. Reuter emphasizes that: […] “the necessity of digitization is irreversible”.
The Fichtner TenderCube team is no doubt that he is absolutely right. Once having handled a tender via an online platform, no colleague wishes to return to the paper age. That was a positive surprise, but at the same time we also expected it because the benefits of digital bidding and evaluation are clear to see: speed, quality and precision of the evaluation along with the ability to report to the client quickly and clearly.
Fichtner TenderCube – Initial experiences
Online tender portals are playing a role in more and more projects. They are used for providing tender documents and sometimes for communication between project participants. In some cases, bids are also submitted, but this merely transfers the “paper world” directly to the “online world” without taking advantage of the many possibilities afforded by the digitization of tendering processes.
Cloud-based tendering portals – What are the differences?
We asked ourselves to what extent this first step into the “online world” could be expanded and optimized.
In talks with various providers of tendering portals (software-as-a-service providers), we learned that they offer a variety of options, but that these are not being exploited in the area of infrastructure tenders. This is due to the fact that providers of such portals have their core client base in the segment of standardized procurement processes (such as in the automotive or architecture sectors) where the focus is on requesting detailed bills of materials and the underlying prices.
The requirements for tenders for infrastructure projects, such as power plants (PV, wind, combined cycle, hydropower and many more), are more individual and require a tailored solution. We have addressed this issue in current projects. After market research and subsequent testing, we selected a suitable tendering portal for our clients. We were able to adapt it to our requirements to such an extent that it meets the specific requirements of a tender in the infrastructure sector.
Optimized bidding, supported by the TenderCube
Basic functions such as simple communication between all project participants (client, financial advisors, legal advisors, bidders on infrastructure projects), data provision and data exchange through to full bid submission can be performed using the TenderCube. Our focus was primarily on optimizing the actual bid submission process. Via the platform, we are now able to intelligently request the bidding forms that bidders have to complete. But what exactly does this mean?
The required structure of the bid is designed by Fichtner in advance and is then reflected on the platform. The input fields are set to a predefined format. Inputs may consist of content such as text, specified number formats, dropdown lists and upload folders. We are also able to define obligatory and voluntary input fields. This brings with it various benefits. Firstly, this structured approach helps the bidder to meet the formal expectations of the bid. The platform will flag formally incorrect or missing obligatory inputs, which then have to be rectified by the bidder. Secondly, we can download all bids in a matter of seconds once the bids have been submitted and the submission deadline has passed. The bids will be available in the expected form, and the main features of the bids, be it their completeness or their key technical figures, can be concisely presented to the client in a direct and largely automated fashion.
Our team can then get started with the bid evaluation straightaway. The TCube instantly displays key information at the start of the evaluation. From the moment they start the evaluation, our team is therefore fully aware of any missing information and any technical figures that do not meet expectations. In an actual project, this meant that we did not have to first search for and prepare information, but could instead go straight to the technical evaluation. Figures that did not meet our expectations were automatically highlighted, while additional graphs and charts clearly depicted correlations. The feedback from our consulting engineers was thoroughly positive. Tedious searching for information was avoided, enabling the focus to be directed towards what really matters. This also enables us to live up to our claim of being able to communicate quickly and clearly to our clients.
Thoroughly positive feedback – Increased effectiveness and efficiency on all sides
We were particularly eager to hear the feedback from the bidders, who were all well-known, major international companies in the energy sector. Will these companies accept all-digital bidding? In retrospect, we can confirm that they will. We were also particularly pleased to receive some surprisingly positive feedback. They particularly highlighted the fact that the predefined structure and the automatic checking of the inputs prevented errors and that the bidders were clear about the requirements at all times. The new possibility with the TenderCube to work on bids digitally and remotely from each other also meets expectations for a modern way of working on the bidder side. They also mentioned the possibility of submitting bids from any location along with the savings made as a result.
For our clients, the decisive factor was, above all, the increase in process reliability provided by the TenderCube. Transparent documentation of all processes as well as IT and data security were guaranteed at all times. Our clients’ decision-making authority over the evaluation process is also ensured throughout. On the one hand, this is because they can be presented with initial results very shortly after the bids have been submitted. On the other hand, the TenderCube enables the client to maintain an excellent overview of the subsequent evaluation. The positive side effect that the completeness and quality of the bids increased also underlines the added value of the TenderCube for our clients.
The TenderCube is ready. Are you?
In the meantime, we have been able to incorporate the experience gained from the first pilot projects into the process of completing the Fichtner TenderCube. We are now able to offer our clients our cloud-based tendering portal, which covers all tendering phases in the infrastructure sector and can be individually adapted to different requirements.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions: TenderCube@fichtner.de