Many teams today realize the importance of streamlining their procurement process online for greater efficiency and cost savings. The critical first step is leaving behind your paper-based submission process in favour of electronic submission.
However, some teams are concerned about their vendors' ability to adapt to an electronic process: are my vendors sufficiently 'tech-savvy' to use the system? Do they have the resources and ability to make the switch?
Good news: recent insights from Bonfire shows that vendors are growing increasingly comfortable with electronic submission and reporting significant benefits to electronic submission over paper submissions.
As the below chart shows, 57% of vendors surveyed this year had prior experience with electronic submission (compared to only 37% in 2014). This demonstrates growing familiarity with the electronic submission process.
Vendors also report high levels of satisfaction with electronic submissions, citing several key benefits that improve their process. We analyzed the responses from hundreds of Bonfire vendor surveys to determine the top six benefits reported by vendors after switching from paper to electronic submission.
1) Time Savings
The number one benefit of using electronic submission reported by vendors is time savings. Not surprising given that electronic submission eliminates the administrative workload of printing, copying, assembling, binding, and delivering/sending bids, giving vendors more time to devote to the content of their response. As one vendor explains:
Without having to print and deliver, we have more time to finalize a quality submission.
2) Fail-proof Delivery
Whether transporting submissions themselves or hiring a courier, the delivery of paper bids is a significant source of risk for vendors. Vendors cited multiple unknowns that could interfere with the successful delivery of their bid: delays due to traffic or weather, parking issues, difficulty finding the right building, courier error, and misplaced or mishandled bids.
Electronic submission removes those risks, ensuring instantaneous delivery and confirmation of receipt, and in turn giving vendors greater confidence in the process.
It gives us peace of mind! The fear of a lost proposal box is gone. We know that the client has received the documents and can access them at any time. There's no chance of misplaced documents.
3) Ease of submission
Electronic submission often means an easier process for vendors. Not only can teams cut down on printing and copying tasks, the online portal provides a clear structure to ensure that vendors submit each piece of information that is required of them. There is no guesswork or room for misunderstanding of the required information.
Loved the ease of assembly and uploading. It was easy to give the customer exactly what they wanted to see, and made response preparation so much easier and streamlined.
With electronic posting and submission, vendors can access and submit to open opportunities anytime, anywhere. Electronic posting also ensures that all pertinent documents and communication are centralized in one place. This accessibility is a benefit of electronic submissions, from the vendor's perspective.
It's great to have the ability to access the RFP documents from anywhere, at your convenience.
5) Cost savings
We've already covered the time savings and peace of mind associated with electronic submissions, but vendors also cite hard dollar savings as a consequence of no longer investing in printing, binding, and courier/transportation costs.
Electronic submissions save on precious time and money. No printing, assembly, or courier/delivery costs.
6) Environmental benefits
The final benefit cited by vendors was the environmental benefits of reducing paper and transportation emissions. Though it may seem trivial, when you consider that the average RFP submission is 132 pages in length, the paper piles up quickly (State of the RFP Study). It's a win-win situation for vendors and procurement teams to reduce their paper use and improve office sustainability practices.
The number one benefit is the environmental impact. Love the opportunity to help the planet in any small way.
These six benefits demonstrate that not only are vendors increasingly familiar with electronic submission, they are seeing real benefits to switching — proving that this is a mutually beneficial step for procurement teams and vendors in the effort to streamline and modernize their procurement process.
For more on ensuring strong vendor adoption of your sourcing software, view our E-book:
About the Author
Lindsay creates case studies, white papers, and other content to help modern sourcing and purchasing teams navigate the procurement technology landscape.More Content by Lindsay Kroes