April 11, 2018 Ecosystem saneea-imran

Tenderwala.pk: Digitizing Tenders – Startup Stories

[mks_dropcap style=”square” size=”52″ bg_color=”#3a962e” txt_color=”#ffffff”]T[/mks_dropcap]enderwala.pk is an online procurement agency which provides a trouble free platform for procurement of tenders. The respective companies can post their tenders and the vendors can apply to them.

[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”20″ bg_color=”#1c63bf” txt_color=”#ffffff”]Tenderwala.pk is a product of the parent company , Sagehive SMC Pvt Ltd which is a Software Application Development and Marketing Company also owned by Imad Afzal.[/mks_pullquote]This idea was initiated by Imad Afzal and came into being six months ago. Imad Afzal is a Computer Science graduate and has over nine years of work experience with different multinational companies.[mks_highlight color=”#3a962e”]In a short span of time Tenderwala.pk has managed to bring on board 50 companies and 50 IT/Hardware houses which are registered as vendors.[/mks_highlight] 

Q: Please explain us the vision behind Tenderwala.pk?

A: We are an online portal dedicated to two types of users, the companies and the vendors. The companies can post the tenders on our website and the vendors can procure those tenders. [mks_highlight color=”#3a962e”]The companies and the vendors both can make their profiles on Tenderwala.pk and they can specify the categories in which they want to post tenders or procure them respectively.[/mks_highlight] Once a company posts a tender in a certain category, all the vendors who have subscribed to that category will receive a notification about the tender. In order to put the companies at ease, we have provided them templates in which they can copy/paste the information about the tender notice and publish it.

Q: Normally, the companies’ post the tender notices on their website or in the newspaper and the vendors can procure them from these sources, why would they use Tenderwala.pk for this?

A: Firstly, we are trying to provide better vendors to the companies. Through Tenderwala.pk they are exposed to a variety of vendors that are field specific. Usually, the companies get contacted by a lot of useless vendors who are not well suited for the required job.

At Tenderwala.pk we are filtering the vendors for the companies which will save their time and energy.

Secondly, we are also solving problems at the vendors end. The vendors have to search all the websites or go through the newspaper to look for tender notices. Through Tenderwala.pk they can get all the tender notices at one place.

Q: There are a few other websites for tender procurement, how do you differentiate from them?

A: Those websites are only uploading the newspaper images of the tender notices and displaying them. Sometimes these notices have a bad resolution, hence making it very hard for the vendors to read the details. And if the details are readable then the vendor has to search the company and contact them. We are not doing this! We are publishing the advertisements in our own provided template, the vendors can directly approach the company through these ads by just clicking on those companies. Hence we are preventing all the fuss and saving time.

[mks_highlight color=”#3a962e”]We also provide a separate dashboard to companies via which they select the vendors by viewing their Year of establishment, area of expertise, quoted amount and either they are blacklisted firm or not.[/mks_highlight] Once the firm is selected the earnest money will be entered within the database against the project.

Q: How do you know that the vendor procured the tender through Tenderwala.pk or the company got its job done?

A: As far as project completion is concerned vendors/ companies will be able to create mutual milestone for a project, upon completion of phase there will be a rating feature and satisfaction survey for the companies to be completed. This way we will track and evaluate the vendors and companies experiences and about completion of a project.

Q: How did you approach the companies and the vendors?

[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#1c63bf” txt_color=”#ffffff”]Most of the NGOs and vendors registered on Tenderwala.pk are based in Karachi and Islamabad. [/mks_pullquote]A: The idea of Tenderwala.pk was in my mind when I was working at Design Soft Studios UK but due to my job commitments I couldn’t work on it. Then when I left this job and joined UNICEF, I finally started working on this idea. I presented the idea to different mentors at UNICEF and they all appreciated it. Through UNICEF I had links with various NGOs and it helped me build my company’s foundation. Most of the NGOs that I contacted liked the concept and were willing to join. Through my company Sagehive SMC Pvt Ltd, I had contacts with different vendors as well. That’s how I approached them.

Q: How many ads have you posted up till now?

A: Till now [mks_highlight color=”#3a962e”]we have posted about 500-600 adds/tender notices.[/mks_highlight]

Q: Have you ever come across any fake tender notice or company?

A: No, all the NGOs and vendors on Tenderwala.pk are genuine. We have a verification policy. We bring it on our platform only after we have verified that company/vendor.

Q: What’s the verification procedure?

A: We ask some generic questions from the company about their work, location etc. Then we also cross check the company/vendors name on PPRA (Public Procurement Regulatory Authority). PPRA maintains a database of blacklisted companies/vendors. So, [mks_highlight color=”#3a962e”]we make sure none of those blacklisted companies come on our portal.[/mks_highlight] Besides this, we also verify their certificates and NTS form. We also look at the sample work of the vendors.

Q: You mentioned earlier that you pre-screen the companies/vendors. Is it the same as verification?

A: Yes, we check the credibility of their work. You might be aware that there is a lot of corruption in the procurement of tenders on a national level.  There are certain vendors who are always listed on the top despite their substandard work. We pre-screen the vendors according to our criteria. The venders that are capable or have better service are listed or showed on the top on our platform under the specific categories. This is pre-screening. So, there is a higher probability that the tender notices posted by the companies are procured by venders who deliver quality work.

In future, we intend to have a risk analysis system on our website. The vendors will have dashboards that will display their success rates and previous work. So, the companies can look at it and opt for the best vendor.

Q: Are these dashboards going to be public. How will it benefit the vendors?

A: Not public exactly, it will be visible to the companies who show interest for that vendor. [mks_highlight color=”#3a962e”]We want to show a true picture to the companies.[/mks_highlight] At the same time we want to highlight the vendors with better work quality, we want to expose them to more opportunities. It will benefit both the ends in a long run.

Q: How many team members do you currently have?

A: I have six team members. Three of them are dealing with designs and the other three are looking after development.

Q: What is your revenue channel?

A: At the start it was free for the companies and the vendors. Now, [mks_highlight color=”#3a962e”]we have started charging a minimal monthly fee of Rs. 550 for category from them.[/mks_highlight]

Q: What are the challenges that you faced or are facing?

A: The biggest hurdle that I came across was of people’s acceptance, especially from the Government. There’s a lot of deceit and dishonesty involved in this. Some companies have pre-decided their vendors and the charges because the extra money goes into their own pockets. They are not willing to accept something like Tenderwala.pk.

Q: How do you aim to overcome this challenge?

A: In order to overcome this challenges, we are presenting our application randomly to different Government institutions with actual facts and figures  showing how they can create a competition among different vendors and most importantly how they can SAVE their department money to manage more stuff. Though it will take some time but [mks_highlight color=”#3a962e”]we are hopeful as Government of Pakistan is taking some good steps to digitize the Government Sectors.[/mks_highlight]

Q: You claim to be the first platform of its kind in Pakistan. Can you substantiate that?

A: Yes, we are the first company working to provide ease to the companies and vendors. Exposing better vendors and at the same time providing the vendors better opportunities to show their work. There are certain other digital tender procurement platforms too but I told you how our work is different from them.

Q:  The website is currently in the beta version. When can we expect to see its full design/version? What are the future plans?

A: The future plan for Tenderwala.pk is to take it to the next level where [mks_highlight color=”#3a962e”]companies can search for their desired vendors based upon area of expertise and years of experiences.[/mks_highlight] It will be a great bonus for companies as our system will help them to make a correct choice which will save their time, money and efforts. The automation is key here, like vendors get notices in advanced when the tender is advertised in newspapers or website which will maximize their chances to prepare the tender notice and submit it before the deadline.

I hope by the end of the next month the website would be fully established. I hope to unlock some more features within the website and then we will be launching some other products from Sagehive SMC Pvt Ltd.

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