Our First Experiences With eSourcing

Bob Nally, Purchasing Manager at Sandwell Homes, explains how the implementation of Scanmarket’s eRFx software has enabled them to conduct RFIs and Tenders online.

About Sandwell Homes

Sandwell Homes is an Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO), which manages in excess of 30,000 tenanted properties and other public buildings on behalf of Sandwell MBC. We have a diverse workforce of some 1,300 people and our non payroll turnover exceeds £118 million. During our last audit we were assessed as having 2 stars, with strong prospects, and are now working to achieve 3 stars at our next audit in September 2008.

“There are a multitude of companies offering software, which will supposedly provide the information we need to obtain – however for us the Scanmarket system is tried, tested and, most importantly, trusted”

 

The challenge

The challenge we faced was to find out much more information about both existing and potential suppliers. As a publicly funded, not for profit organisation, we needed to be able to demonstrate to our stakeholders that we were not only achieving value for money, but were spending their money with companies who are technically competent, quality assured, environmentally friendly, compliant with all Health & Safety legislation and best practice, promote equality and diversity, trade ethically and are financially sound.

All these factors will be taken into consideration during our forthcoming audit. In order to achieve this in an easy and efficient way, we chose the Scanmarket eRFx software, which enables us to conduct RFIs and Tenders online.

 

Trusted relationship

Scanmarket was chosen based upon our existing relationship. We have been using the Scanmarket software to undertake Electronic Reverse Auction for more than 12 months and have found the organisation to be an excellent business partner. The help, assistance and training received by our staff have been superb and all questions have been immediately and comprehensively answered. There are a multitude of companies offering software, which will supposedly provide the information we need to obtain – however for us the Scanmarket system is tried, tested and, most importantly, trusted.

We could have approached our suppliers for this information in the traditional manner, requesting them to provide hard copies of the answers sought, but this would have been very time consuming and very environmentally un-friendly. We could have requested emails, but the time required to complete by the suppliers would have been extended and compilation of the findings unwieldy.

The Scanmarket RFI web based system allows a phased completion by the supplier and an instantaneous scoring mechanism as soon as the results are achieved.

 

The RFI system

Scanmarket introduced us to the RFI system and helped us to devise the questions we wished to ask, and the format and means by which the responses could be best submitted.

They also helped us with the weighting allocated to each question. In future, when we use the system to generate quotations we will be able to adjust the weighting for each question dependent upon the award criteria set for each tender.

 

Results

The implementation time was only two weeks and we started to get our first responses back within a few days. The project has been extremely successful. We now have all the information we require in respect of our suppliers and in addition to using it for our own purposes, we can use the information to participate in benchmarking exercises with others.

We found Scanmarket’s assistance in the project invaluable. As the system has been widely in use throughout Europe, it was really the training and opening our eyes to the possible uses and potential of the system, that was the key. We will continue to work with Scanmarket on Electronic Reverse Auctions, of which we have a number planned in the next few months varying in size from £25,000 to £1 million pounds plus.

“We would thoroughly recommend Scanmarket as a supplier and we know from membership of their European user group that many other organisations throughout Europe echo these sentiments.”

"There are a multitude of companies offering software, which will supposedly provide the information we need to obtain – however for us the Scanmarket system is tried, tested and, most importantly, trusted."
— Bob Nally, Purchasing Manager