What is a tender notification service? How does it work? And why should you care?
At its very simplest, a tender notification service does three things:
- Source - Collating tenders, RFQs, RFPs, EOIs etc. from thousands of different sources
- Sort - Categorising all these tenders by industry, location and keywords
- Send - Matching tenders to user search profiles and email relevant opportunities
However, there’s actually a lot more to it. While it may be clear how a tender notification service can save you time and effort when compared to finding tenders yourself (read more about the pros and cons in our previous blog), it’s hard to fully grasp how much value you can get until you know what’s going on behind the scenes.
Understanding how a tender notification service works will ensure you know what you’re paying for before you subscribe, and allow you to identify differences in how providers function at each step, and what impact this might have on you as a subscriber.
Here’s an overview of how the three key steps function here at illion TenderLink:
Step 1: Source
As mentioned in our blog Where Can I Find Tenders? there’s no single, centralised platform which all Procurers use to advertise their tenders, resulting in literally thousands of different, individual sources. That’s what makes this first step necessary – tender notification services like us monitor all these sources (over 3,300 of them!), collating any new tenders, RFQs, RFPs, EOIs and other business opportunities from across all industries in both Australia and New Zealand to ensure full market coverage.
The process for sourcing tenders differs depending on whether they’re ‘internal’ or ‘external’:
These are tenders published directly through our TenderLink system. As Australasia’s largest tender marketplace, we not only source tenders for Suppliers, but also provide Procurers with the technology to publish tenders and manage the responses.
We call organisations using our technology ‘Buyer Partners’, and the technology they use ‘portals’ - mini websites specifically designed for the tendering process (find out more here or check out our glossary). Any tenders our Buyer Partners publish are considered internal because they’re loaded directly into our database.
With over 600 organisations using our portals, we have the largest network of Buyer Partners, who publish nearly 20% of the public tenders in the Australasian market. This includes those who advertise one-off tenders using our AdCentre portal, rather than creating a portal of their own.
What this means is that around 1 in 5 public tenders can only be accessed exclusively through our system. If you’ve got a subscription to our notification service, you’ll be able to access any of these opportunities using one single login from one single account. Otherwise, you’ll have to register and create a separate account and username for each individual portal.
Tenders from any other sources are considered external, because they’re published outside of our TenderLink system. For example, tenders from other websites, portals hosted by other providers, trade journals, magazines, newspapers etc (find out more about different tender sources here).
Each day we monitor these external sources for tenders, collecting all the available information and documentation, including details of where to submit a response. Each tender is then manually checked before being loaded into our TenderLink database.
For example, if a local council uses their own bespoke online procurement system to publish a tender, we’ll monitor that system, collect the tender information, check it, and then manually load it into our system, including a link to the original source, where you may need to register in order to submit a response.
Step 2: Sort
Once all the tenders are in our database, our experienced Operations team sort them by industry category, subcategory and location (including state, region, and sub-region/local council level). Depending on the scope of the tender and the range of the goods and services required, a single tender may fall under more than one of these categories and/or locations. Each tender then goes through a final manual verification process to double-check that all categorisation criteria is correct.
This step is important because the more specific and accurate the categorisation, the more likely it is that Suppliers will receive the most relevant tenders for their business. With 946 categories in total, we cover the largest range of industries, which allows for a more precise match.
For example, the ‘Construction’ category is one of our most common, with a large quantity of tenders falling under this broad industry classification. However, if you’re a Supplier who only provides bricklaying services within your local area, you won’t want to waste time sifting through tenders for plumbing services on the opposite side of the country, just because they’re considered part of the construction category – it would defeat the purpose of subscribing to a tender notification service in the first place! That’s why we have so many different industry categories and subcategories, so that Suppliers can narrow down their tender search as much as possible.
Step 3: Send
This final step is obviously the most exciting since it involves the actual tender notification!
In order for this step to work, each subscriber needs to have at least one ‘search profile’ set up in our system, specifying which industry categories and locations are relevant to their business. You can also include search keywords, which will cross-reference the selected term with the tender description.
Since the accuracy of this search profile is crucial to ensuring the right types of tenders are sent, our dedicated Account Managers work closely with new subscribers to guide them through this process.
Each day our purpose-built system then automatically filters any new tenders which match the search profile criteria, and collates them into one single email, including the Buyer name, tender name and description, and a link to more information. If the tender source is internal, the link will take you to login to your TenderLink dashboard so that you can download any relevant documents and respond to the tender through our system. If the tender source is external, the link will take you to the original source, where you may need to register in order to submit a response to the tender.
This is how it works for our paying subscribers, but if you’ve registered to one (or more) of our Buyer Partner portals for free, you can still create a search profile and receive email updates of new tenders, but it will only apply to that single portal. For each individual portal you’ll need a separate account, username and profile.
These are the basics of how tender notifications services work in general, and how ours functions in particular. It can be quite confusing, with all the different sources and understanding what you can access for free vs what you can access when you subscribe to a notification service, so below is a diagram to help:
As you can see, a tender notification service collates relevant tenders from all sources into one single email alert, making it quicker and easier than finding tenders yourself, and it also minimises the amount of effort required in terms of managing accounts with different sources. However, the number and types of tenders you receive (either as a subscriber or even if you choose to monitor sources yourself) and the ease of access can differ depending on the provider, what sources they monitor, and how the system itself functions. So make sure you do your research and find the provider that best meets your needs!
Got questions or want to know more about our tender notification service?
Chat to one of our friendly team or check out our plans!