COVID-19 can be described as an unexpected catalyst for technology adoption, especially in the procurement industry, as challenges arising from the spread of the pandemic have accelerated the use by procuring entities of online tenders.
The business community is moving toward the adoption of online tendering solutions as businesses have greater motivation and fewer perceived barriers to more actively adopt technology-enabled solutions to assist in business purchases and also assist in greater transparency in selecting bidders.
In an interview with Express Business last week Friday at his office located at the Government Plaza in Port of Spain, managing director of eboxTENDERS, Marvin Marcelle said in 2016, he decided to open his business that manages the procurement process for the private and public sector.
This came after a 20-year career in various fields such as accounting, sales, technical services related to IT, procurement and management information systems. “EboxTENDERS, is a Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud platform that uses world-class technology to facilitate a leading-edge supply chain management solution through digital transformation. This collaborative platform is paperless, created to increase efficiency and drive down costs of doing business, while providing valuable technical and customer service support,” Marcelle said.
He said the business community would immediately be able to reduce the cost of operations by eliminating the need to invest in physical IT architecture and advertising in the media through the use of their timelier, paperless, cost effective and transparent procurement workflow process.
Moreover, the entrepreneur said the adoption of the eboxTENDERS’ SaaS platform automatically ensures a company’s procurement meets the requirements of the recently established Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act.
Marcelle explained that the Covid-19 pandemic has forced more companies to utilise the services of eboxTENDERS as their preferred platform to engage suppliers in the tendering of various items.
“We have a few well-known clients, including a regional conglomerate that has subscribed to the platform and they renew their subscriptions annually.”
To meet the needs of smaller companies and faster moving organisations, and to reduce the need for large up-front fees common with etendering options; he said eboxTENDERS has introduced a new pricing strategy based upon a flat fee for each tender published—in other words Pay Per Tender.
“Pay Per Tender is a new pricing strategy more targeted towards small to medium-sized organisations that want to use an online tendering solution yet have too few tenders to justify the significant upfront costs normally associated with setting up an etender platform. This method is an easy way to rent a confidential single tenanted etendering portal only when you need it—similar to a time share for hotel rooms.”
He noted that the Pay Per Tender cost is $4,500 which is one flat fee—no sign up cost, no installation or setup fee and no lock-in contract. Companies can also choose to “white label” the solution and subscribe on a longer term basis
The secure eboxTENDERS platform is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), a fully certified, best-in-class data centre and is browser agnostic with unique logins with all the typical features associated with a world-class etendering portal including:
• Vendor Registration & Vendor Management
• Publish RFQs, Tenders and Reverse Auctions
• Post addenda facility on all live Tenders
• Access to pre-loaded suppliers or engage with your own suppliers
• Automatic Tender box closure at pre-set times
• Defense level security & confidentiality features
• Detailed audit trail & pre-approved tender process
• Unified Communications with all suppliers and stakeholders through the portal
• Access to Real Time Analytics
• Help-Desk and Support
The businessman said the aim is to get more businesses, including ministries, on board.
During a presentation with Express Business, Marcelle said the statistics in 2020 showed that companies using the platform saved over $1.75 million and the eboxTENDERS received 520 requests for quotations (RFQS), 33 request for proposals (Tenders) 17 reverse auctions, 1,100 registered suppliers and 60 evaluators.
With Covid-19 being the driving force for more e-platform usage, he said the aim is also to expand the business both regionally and internationally and to show companies how cost effective it is to tender online and be more transparent as opposed to manual tendering.
Marcelle added that on the platform, companies can engage in a reverse auction in which sellers bid for the prices at which they are willing to sell their goods and services.
“The buyer puts up a request for a required good or service. Sellers then place bids for the amount they are willing to be paid for the good or service, and at the end of the auction the seller with the lowest amount wins.”
He said reverse auctions gained popularity with the emergence of Internet-based online auction tools that enabled multiple sellers to connect with a buyer on a real-time basis.
Marvin Marcelle, 46, is currently the managing director of eboxTENDERS Ltd and specialises in e-procurement and strategic sourcing services.
Marcelle has successfully delivered several procurement and sourcing initiatives; strategic sourcing, spend analytics and reverse auctions for various companies nationwide.
He graduated from the University of Greenwich through their correspondence programme at SBCS having done the MSc degree in Information Systems Management.
He also holds ACCA qualifications and has participated in a number of information and communications technology related courses.
His career spans 20 years, progressing from a base in accounting, sales, technical services related to IT, procurement and management information systems.
In his previous positions, he was often tasked with completing numerous tenders in the role of Lenovo Brand Champion at Memory Bank Computers and Business Process Improvements (BPI) in the role as IT Manager - Development Finance Ltd. It was these combined roles that spawned the business idea of simplifying and significantly improving the Tendering and Reverse Auction Process.