Improving Subcontractor/Bid Management

Nov 23, 2021 4:12:35 PM

It’s common knowledge within the construction industry that the work on a project begins long before the crew first arrives at the jobsite. Once the design phase has been completed, and plans are approved, the construction manager must engage in finding subcontractors to make those plans a reality.

This process can incorporate everything from managing bid submissions to contract negotiations and everything in between. Once construction has begun, tracking deliverables and progress doesn’t stop until the final touches on the building have been completed.

With all the different facets of subcontractor management, opportunities for little errors and big mistakes to derail projects are plentiful. That’s why utilizing high-quality software to manage these processes is a must. 

By digitizing the high volume of paperwork required to manage subcontractors and even incorporating some workflow automation, you complete a profitable project. 

Invitation to Bid (also called Tender Management)

The process of putting out an Invitation to Bid/Tender (ITT), selecting subcontractors from the submitted tenders, and negotiating the terms of a final contract is complex. 

Managing tenders is absolutely vital administrative work. Arguably, no other part of the pre-build process compares to the importance of the bidding process in construction. Unfortunately, without a formalized workflow, it is easy for the tender management process to lead to missed opportunities and, in some cases, expensive legal problems.

That may seem a little exaggerated, but by taking a closer look at the bid/tender in construction management, it’s easy to see how implementing the right bid management software can protect your company from pitfalls and help ensure you get the best value from your subcontractors.

Uniform Submission Guidelines

When construction bids come in without necessary information, it can hurt both the subcontractor and the organization that put out the ITT. You may miss out on a subcontractor that would be perfect for your project because your invitation to tender construction was unclear or because their submission of tender documents got lost or damaged on their way to you.

This is where the tender management capabilities of software such as M-Connect: Digital Workplace can make all the difference. 

The document creation functionalities make it easy for your team to put together ITT’s that clearly and concisely lay out exactly what you need to know from your potential subcontractors. 

And by utilizing the ability to create a portal for submissions, you can give the people submitting tenders a simple, step-by-step submission process that makes sure you get all the information you need from everyone you sent an ITT to.

By using TEAM IM M-Connect, creating a digital space where all the tenders that come your way are uniform eliminates multiple issues that can arise with a more analog bid management strategy. The risk of damage or loss of important paper copies of information is completely erased with digital submissions, and the uniform nature of submissions means that you will have the same information from every subcontractor that submitted a tender— allowing you to use a more apples-to-apples approach to comparing their proposals.


In an analog system, ITT’s, tender submissions, offers made, and finalized contracts require significant storage space. Many of us remember how frustrating it can be to thumb through filing cabinets, only to find that the folder you were looking for is only partially complete.

This can happen digitally, as well. When your team has to navigate between several programs and applications to track the various parts of the tender process, information gets lost in the shuffle. 

Additionally, version control on contracts is difficult to maintain when there is not a central hub with standardized workflows for making changes and adjustments.

By utilizing a digital platform that can interface with industry-leading content management software, you can create a central, digital hub that your teams can use to keep all the data submitted to your subcontractors, no matter where they are in the tender process.

And with a portal that is usable by potential subcontractors, they can submit their tenders directly into your organization’s system and propose changes during contract negotiations through the version control workflows that you establish.

All the data on potential subcontractors will be easy to find, including any information on your company’s previous experiences with those teams and the types of tenders various subcontractors respond to. New documents can be generated with all relevant parties to have their say and come to a well-informed consensus.


Construction is an industry where a great deal of money is at play, even on more modestly sized projects. For this reason, ensuring that your processes remain in compliance with your contracted obligations as well as with local and federal laws is a paramount priority.

Having a digital tender management system allows you to quickly respond to audits with thorough, accurate information. 

It also ensures you are hitting your contracted deliverables with your subcontractors by automatically notifying your team of impending deadlines. 

By incorporating the digital workplace, it makes your compliance that much simpler to track and maintain.

Workflow Automation

The ways in which construction management software for builders and contractors can iron out many of the common wrinkles that arise during the tender process are numerous. But one of the best administrative tools to handle construction management procurement is workflow automation.

Contrary to what some people believe, automation does not mean getting rid of human workers in favor of computers doing everything. Automation means taking time-consuming, often repetitive tasks and letting software handle them while your team reaps the benefits.

Look at it this way, without computers, your team has to sort and file paper copies of every single important document. Depending on the time of day and quality of communication between your workers, files can get mislabelled, duplicate folders can be created, documents can accidentally go in the wrong spot— lots of things can go wrong.

And the situation is only marginally better without a dedicated digital workspace unifying the programs and apps your team has to navigate to do their jobs properly. Updating three different programs with data collection from a subcontractor that submitted a tender is inefficient and can still lead to big errors.

By creating and implementing workflow automations through a platform like M-Connect: Digital Workplace, you can reduce the risk of administrative errors while allowing your team to focus on the kinds of tasks that only human ingenuity can accomplish.

Data Collection Services

As you gather pre-construction information to determine who will be sent an ITT, having easy access to the data from your history with various subcontractors is invaluable. 

A metadata-powered, automated system can pull up all the information you have from previous tender offers, reviews of past work, and any contract history you have with a company across your entire system. This lets you get a more complete picture of every firm you look at to decide your shortlist for ITT’s and your final choice of a subcontractor.

And by searching through tags identifying the types of tenders certain subcontractors submit for, you can save time by only sending ITT’s to those who have a likelihood of putting in a bid. 

It should be noted that documents are not the only artifacts that can be automatically stored and cataloged in this way. Images of work that have been submitted as part of a bid or that were taken of completed work that a subcontractor has done for you in the past can also be retrieved.

And with a digital workspace uniting the various programs your team uses, it won’t matter where the data comes from. An automated system can pull data from across your system with one search. So you get more information with less searching.

Document Assembly

No matter what your construction management plan is, you will be generating a lot of documents as part of your procurement process. 

Automated document assembly software allows you to create ITT’s, contracts, and other frequently used documents in a fraction of the time. Instead of sifting through templates that may need as much as 50% or more of their content edited to fit the job at hand, you can automatically mix and match relevant, frequently used clauses to create a document that says and does what you need.

By storing the parts of a document that will be used in automated assembly as unique artifacts, you can simply enter the tags you need and create a document suited to the task at hand with minimal editing time. 

Organized, Automated, Paperless

Procurement automation takes the tasks that your team struggles to fit into their day and reduces them to a few keystrokes. The benefits of procurement automation speak for themselves.

You get a better organized, clearer picture of every subcontractor you have worked with before and create a standardized tender submission process to gain the information you need on new subcontractors.

You create a system that helps you monitor for compliance and makes cooperation with audits simple. You also create a system in which your data collection is put to its best use.

But you also gain the benefits of a paperless process management system. Eliminating printing costs and hard copy storage frees up more money and office space than you might expect. And it reduces your impact on the environment. Going paperless is a win/win.

Build with the Best Tools

You wouldn’t send a crew out to a jobsite with substandard equipment, so why force your administrative team to work with suboptimal software?

Give your construction managers the best, most complete picture of your tender shortlist so that they can get the best value and best final product out of the subcontractors they choose to work through the power of a digital workplace and workflow automation.

Contact our experts today to see what we can build for you.

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