Electronic Bidding Saves Time and Money

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By taking advantage of advances in technology, transportation industry professionals operate more efficiently and cost-effectively that ever before. Laptops and tablet computers bring technology to jobsites. Electronic recordkeeping increases accessibility and saves space. Executing contracts online with electronic signatures are another advantage of digital capabilities.

The Electronic Bidding System launched in 2009 as another way TxDOT can use technology to save time and money. Contractors have transitioned to the online bidding system due to its many advantages including logistics. No longer does submitting a bid mean driving to Austin.

The number of contracts submitted using electronic bidding is impressive, and if your company is not taking advantage of the electronic bidding process, I’d like to encourage you to do so.

In 2012, 82.2 percent of bids were submitted electronically, up from 79 percent the year before. In 2013, the number was up to 87.5 percent of bids submitted electronically.

Electronic bidding eliminates almost all reasons bids are rejected including:

• submitting a bid late,

• problems with bonds or checks,

• unsigned bids,

• not bidding on an item or

• failure to acknowledge items on the addenda.

Potential contractors can modify or withdraw bids anytime until bid opening time.

A few challenges to the system remain, and TxDOT is working on making the Electronic Bidding System even better. For example, the required software, the Contractors’ Desktop Application, must be uploaded onto each bidder’s computer. Any changes require installing a new updated version. Also, contractors must apply for digital certificates issued by TxDOT that are used to sign electronic bids.

Improvements are on the way. A new web-based application under development would eliminate the need for the software program to reside on each contractor’s computer. The web-based Electronic Bidding System will be accessible to anyone with an Internet connection and a desktop, laptop or tablet computer. Because the system is web-based, updates will occur automatically. Security will be built into the web-based application eliminating the need for digital certificates for signatures.

The 87.5-percent participation rate for the Electronic Building System has streamlined the bidding process. As we continue to work on the web-based application, our goal will be 100-percent participation in electronic bidding.

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