How to Build a Contractor Procurement Solution
Use-case: Contract Procurement
In this post you will learn about how you can build a contractor procurement solution.
The steps are contained in the outline below, and a recording is added at each of the steps demoing the creation process.
- Define your process: Define the information flow and stakeholders involved.
- Define your table schemas: Define what information needs to be collected along with the corresponding requirements into one diagram.
- Create your tables: Based on the diagram above, build tables on Morta from existing spreadsheets or from scratch.
- Create relationships between tables: Define how tables are linked together and create those relationships as table joins.
- Define your views for different steps:
- Collection: Create the data entry forms
- Review: Create the approval / review tabular views from your tables
- Connect and Automate: Elevate your game by adding scripts and webhooks to run seamlessly in the background adding more functionality.
What is contractor procurement as a process?
Contractor Procurement or Contractor Selection is often referred to as “tendering”. It involves preparing tenders/packages that describe a project or part of a project, and then inviting tender submissions from prospective contractors from which a selection can be made.
How is it managed today?
Construction companies or projects tend to carefully set procedures around the Contractor Procurement process that clearly define the parties involved and the information flow that takes place from submission to award; but the way the process is commonly managed is using excel spreadsheets along with various disconnected systems. As a result, you often have to manually re-enter data, clean data, and run ad-hoc analysis to make the decisions you need. Even worse, much of contractor management related data is ‘dark’ data (i.e. data that does not get re-used for insights).
To overcome these issues, we should build a powerful contractor management solution to digitize, connect and automate tasks!
Define your Process
The most critical (and often difficult) step is defining your process and the series of steps that make it up. You may already have defined that process in one of your procedures. If so, you can use that. If not, luckily we’ve done the hard work for you to get started defining your process. Below you’ll find the steps that make up this process. Contribute to this board and give us your feedback!
- Selection: Is the process of contractor selection, where newly introduced contractors undergo some sort of an assessment in order to be selected and added to an “Approved Vendor / Contractor List” after proven to comply with specs and requirements needed. This is a standalone process that is interconnected with Contractor Procurement.
- Assessment: Is the stage where specifications, procedures and requirements are drawn into a questionnaire that the newly introduced or periodically assessed contractors can fill out in order to be reviewed and assessed before being selected.
- Packaging: Is the process of preparing tenders/packages that describe a project or part of a project that are yet to be sent to prospective contractors to bid on.
- Publication: Is the process of announcing the above packages by inviting tender submissions from prospective contractors from which a selection can be made.
- Contractor List: Is the result of the selection process where all approved contractors are maintained to ensure interacting with the right contractors at all times.
- Application: Is the process of contractors submitting bids on the packages invited to.
- Evaluation: Is the process of laying out all bids submitted per packaged, undergoing the comparison process and allowing all reviewing parties to evaluate and comment.
- Award: Is the process of choosing the right contactor as a result of the evaluation resulting in an award agreement, i.e. a contract.
- Onboarding: Is the process of getting awarded contractors on board of the project after setting out the compliance requirements and further details expected to be submitted in order to get them properly engaged and provide the necessary tools.
- Implementation: Is the process of construction works execution.
Prepare your table schemas
Now that you have defined the steps in your process, you need to define what information you want to collect and your corresponding information requirements.
- From the workflow diagram above, define the tables required to host the information flow.
- Publications (Bid invites)
- Bid Applications
- Contractors List
- Reference Data (Currencies, Countries, Cities…)
- For each of the tables, define the schema of the required columns, taking into consideration that data-entry forms as well as review and evaluation cycles can be built within the same table of each step making use of Morta’s table views.
- In the absence of schemas, one can rely on open references like OCDS.
- In the case of existing logs on spreadsheets, the same can be adopted and imported to Morta tables.
Create Morta tables
Morta provides you with the option to create tables from existing data or create blank tables.
- In the case of existing logs or reference data, those can be simply imported to Morta via csv. (Eg. A list of existing contract packages or a list of organizations maintained on excel can be imported into a Morta table).
- The list of Currencies, Nationalities, Countries, Cities of the World can be part of the reference data required in defining a contractors address or a project location or for instance a bid’s currency. (Use sources like Data Hub to find reference data)
- Once a table is imported into a Morta table, you may go ahead and define the column types. For example the required response date of a package should be set to type date to ensure correct entry and proper data quality at all times. Similarly the budgeted value should be set to a decimal number and the currency to a select list that reads from the imported list of currencies.
Create from scratch
- Create tables on Morta for each of Packages, Bid Invites, Bid Applications and Contractors List.
- To each of the tables, add the required columns and set the column types to match the required content.
- Below is the table created for Publications - Bidding Invites - along with each of the columns’ types defined.
Create relationships between tables
For the data columns in each of the tables to interlink, join your tables and add the required joined columns among one another to ensure the columns required for review or reference are always available at every step - with zero data redundancy.
- Join Package to Publications based on Package Code and add column Bid Package to the Publications as it is required when sending bidding invites.
- Join table Packages to Bid Applications and add columns Budgeted Value, Required Response Date and Discipline as each of these columns are required for:
- Comparing the Budgeted against quoted values for each bid
- Setting the bid status based on required response date
- Ensuring the packages are grouped by discipline
Create forms for data collection
At every step where data entry is required via a form, create a form view as follows:
- Choose the columns involved at the the data entry level
- Indicate which are the required or optional columns
- For the above shown Publication table, the form view is as follows (only 3 columns are required at the entry level)
Display relevant information for reviews
- For each of the tables, and where required, create the views that are required to view or manage the tables, or for example wherever an approval cycle is applicable, create the review views.
- In the case of the Bid Applications, and based on the workflow designed, the Evaluation and Award cycle happens on 3 levels:
- Tender Committee Review
- Project Manager Approval
- Area Manager Approval
- For each of the cycles, create a spreadsheet view, taking into account whether the approvals are sequential or concurrent - which can be catered for using the Morta tables filters.
Part of this Contractor Procurement process is the Contractor’s Assessment.
Using the Contractor List as a main table, and after the creation of the form to be used to add new Contractors, design an assessment questionnaire in a Morta process.
Future opportunities: Connect and Automate
The cherry on the top!
- Integrations with existing solutions can happen to further expand the model of your solutions and maybe cater for later steps.
- For example, to cater for the contract management part, a connection can be built with P6 to extract the schedule and use it for implementation.
- Another example can be a connection with existing ERP for manpower management if required.
- Automation services can also be added to spice up the solution. With automation the sky is the limit!
Hop on Morta, sign up and try to build this solution, maybe we can together learn something new from your workflow :)