Sealed Bidding with ProcureWare
Sealed bidding is a staple for all public procurement and increasingly in private enterprises. It is particularly gaining traction in foreign markets where collusion is more the norm than the exception. While my previous blog on the reasons for sealed bidding and Keith’s blog addressed the concept of two-step (two envelope) sealed bids, this article is an explanation of HOW to manage sealed bids in ProcureWare.
The Basic Setup of Sealed Bids
The goal of the sealed bid is to prevent anyone from viewing the contents until the bid opening; it is basically an electronic equivalent to the off-line process of bids sealed in envelopes until the specified date and time for opening.
ProcureWare supports both one-step (one-envelope) and two-step (two-envelope) methods of bidding. As the name implies, the two step allows opening the technical response (questions) and the financial response (pricing) separately.
When setting up a new bid (solicitation), the buyer sets the procurement method to One-Step Unsealing or Two-Step Unsealing. They must also define the Available (release) Date and the Due Date.
Once the Available Date is reached, the bid is automatically sealed and any responses received cannot be viewed. There are also restrictions on the changes that can be made to the bid forms and other configurations once a sealed bid is released.
Online Approach to Opening Envelopes
After the due date and time, the bid is in a “closed” state and suppliers can no longer submit a bid response. At this point, the due date can be extended or the responses can be unsealed and opened. For obvious reasons, the due date cannot be changed once the responses are unsealed. The specific rules on who is authorized to unseal which bids is configurable to support individual organizational policies.
If the bid solicitation was configured as a Two-Step bid, the Technical Response and the Pricing Response can be opened separately. In most cases, the technical response is opened first; although, we have some clients that open the pricing response first. This reduces time because they don’t waste time evaluating bids outside their budget constraints.
The sealed bidding capabilities of ProcureWare are flexible enough to manage the sealed bid requirements of all types of public and private organizations both in the United States and abroad.