- Kadri Konstantinov
Managing a tender: Excel versus a digital solution – how can you save 43 working days a year?
To date Excel is (undoubtedly) the most flexible and used medium managing complex RFQ’s amongst business-customers, multinationals as well as for multi-industry conglomerates. Subsequently freight forwarders rely heavily on Excel to accommodate all these different rate card formats. Excel’s flexibility and speed to handle different type (format) of data, rate-cards coupled with its known interface and thorough analysis options (pivot tables) make it a “go-to” tool for majority of procurement/logistics professionals. Such flexibility is great, however, substantial efficiencies can be achieved combining Excel's functionalities with technology. With technology we can significantly automate processes and reduce human error factor managing tenders across industries. To find out what this exactly means – we put Sourcify's technology to a test and asked several industry professionals to run a tender based on: a) classical Excel /email approach b) Sourcify’s digital solution incorporating Excel. Scope as follows:
RFQ: Number of transportation modes (Excel tabs) – three; AFR, FCL and LCL. Number of total (unique) combined (air) port pairs – 380 lanes; (AFR – 115, FCL – 120, LCL – 145). Number of countries involved:30. Number of regions involved: 3.
Cargo: AFR - 8'000 KGS p.a. FCL - 5'800 TEU p.a. LCL - 6200 CBM p.a. Scenario: 8 working days to respond to the customer (we asked for 10 working days, but…) Do RFQ's generally run smooth? No, in our case the customer updates the rate card on the 3rd pricing day by adding 2 additional columns, 12 additional (air)port pairs, finally some of the location information is corrected. Internal exceptions: 3 routing changes during the pricing process. Finally, the customer has its own BAF/FSC methodology, meaning we have to buffer the gap between actual BAF/FSC levels and customer indicated values into the freight charges.
Key findings: - Running an RFQ based on the Sourcify solution enabled to shorten the process (1st round) of RFQ in scope by 2 days and required significantly less involvement from the tender managers in process in general. - Data consolidation, cleanup, management the different versions of excel files was skipped all-together.
- Using Sourcify’s solution Tender Managers spent 3hours 27minutes less time in Excel. If you are a freight forwarder handling 100 RFQ p.a. this means your company will save each year 43 working days handling repetitive excel tasks. Think of all the additional value your team members will deliver with such extra time? - How about errors? No tool can entirely remove errors from the process, however in our case there were zero errors in the submission due to unique control functions built into Sourcify’s solution; Further advantages we noted:
- the tool is extremely intuitive; our "tender managers" were able to use the tool after a 30 minute overview session. - Reduced communication flows - 1 email sent versus 8 emails sent using classical Excel/email approach. - No copy/paste errors. - Historical submissions (audit functions) at your fingertips (nothing has to be stored to a local hard drive). - Lean process including clear submission responsibilities. - Efficient exception management: routing changes, sending reminders, rate-card updates is done with a few mouse clicks. - Private data – only predefined users will have access to necessary data. - Cloud based software – accessible 24/7 requiring a modern web browser only.
- Transparent hand-over process. As a final remark - Sourcify’s unique approach enables freight forwarders to handle all RFQ formats – because we know – flexibility and exception management are essential for efficient tender process.
Want to know more? Contact us at email@example.com and we would be more than happy to show you a demo of Sourcify tool. Happy tendering! Your team at Sourcify