What is a Electronic Tendering System (ETS)

Once again, the UK public sector, with the support of some consultant, provides a good insight about the Electronic Tendering Systems: Definition, Benefits, how to use ETS, typical features are described in a basic but valuable document. Written in 2003, it is not fully up to date but you will find there just what you need to know to understand what is ETS all about.

Download the pdf presentation of E-Tendering

Definition: an electronic tendering solution facilitates the complete tendering process from the advertising of the requirement through to the placing of the contract. This includes the exchange of all relevant documents in electronic format.

Similar terms:
RFQ (request for quotation)
RFT (request for tender)

Related Products
Some e-tender solutions are packaged with evaluation tools, which assist in comparing tenders from
suppliers in order to select the winning tender.
E-tendering is similar to Request for Quotation (RFQ). RFQ is sometimes included as part of the
functionality of an e-tender system. (See e-Marketplace Overview for a more detailed explanation of RFQ)

Why should I use e-tendering?

  • Reduced tender cycle-time
  • Fast and accurate pre-qualification and evaluation, which enables the automatic rejection of suppliers that fail to meet the tender specification
  • Faster response to questions and points of clarification during the tender period
  • Reduction in the labour intensive tasks of receipt, recording and distribution of tender submissions
  • Reduction of the paper trail on tendering exercises, reducing costs to both councils and suppliers
  • Improved audit trail increasing integrity and transparency of the tendering process
  • Improved quality of tender specification and supplier response
  • Provision of quality management information
  • Compliance with OJEU is made easier (Electronic Notice)
  • Manual tender processes can be long and cumbersome, often taking three months or longer, which is costly for both buyer and supplier organisations. e-Tendering replace these manual paper-based tender processes with electronically facilitated processes based on best tendering practices to save time and money. Buyers are able to manage the tenders coming in, with all tenders stored in one place. Buyers can cut and paste data from the electronic tender documents for easy comparison in a spreadsheet. Evaluation tools can provide automation of this comparison process.

    Suppliers’ costs in responding to invitations to tender (ITT) are also reduced as the tender process cycle is significantly shortened. E-tendering offers an opportunity for automating most of the tendering process: from help with preparing the tender specification; advertising; tender aggregation; to the evaluation and placing of the contract.


    Typical features of an e-tendering system may include:

  • Secure electronic communication- allowing buyer to post ITT and supplier to post tender
  • User interface with a list of current tenders
  • Controlled access to tenders using passwords, user profiles and permissions
  • Central storage of documentation
  • Repository of previous ITTs
  • Repository of standard terms and conditions
  • Audit trail
  • Management information & reporting
  • Other features that an e-tendering solution may include are:
  • Workflow functionality which routes documents to appropriate people or alerts individuals of actions in the system
  • Collaboration facilities enabling a number of people to work on creating an ITT document or to evaluate tenders
  • Automated evaluation of tenders and award notification
  • Tools to assist the pre-qualification of suppliers
  • Automated award notification
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