- Missing a specific feature in your environment?
Administrators can have features activated or modified by getting in touch with their account manager at Mercell.
- Mercell Source-to-Contract has two tender management modules.
- Improvements for the requirements tab
- Supplier groups (or shortlists)
- Mini Competitions: select suppliers to participate
Improvements for the requirements tab
Continuing the improvements from last month, the requirements tab now has some bigger changes to improve the ease of use. We’ve added a new inner page when opening a questionnaire. In this inner page, the buyer can see in the left menu the created questionnaires. This can be used to navigate between the questionnaire, reorder questionnaires and drag & drop questions inside the questionnaires.
On top of that we also improved the UI with fresh icons and renamed Snippets to a more clearer Question template.
Supplier groups (or shortlists)
Inviting suppliers to your tender has been renewed a couple of months ago. Now, we add the option to use supplier groups to easily invite known groups of suppliers. You can manage these groups in Organisation Settings, and then use these to quickly invite them. You can favourite supplier groups for fast discoverability, or search in your list of groups.
Mini Competitions: select suppliers to participate
For those creating mini competitions from DPS or Qualification Systems know that when adding approved suppliers to the MC means that all suppliers are added. Now, you can select the ones you actually want to participate. The feature has to be activated for your organisation in the BPM.
- Verification is now a setting that can be managed in the tender itself > round settings.
- Verification has received some additional tooltip and validation to make it more clear a deadline needs to be entered or updated (also when allowing a resubmission).
The most important part of the update of this week is the new web address, but we have a few other improvements as well:
- General award letter
- Copy requirements from other tenders
- DPS Improvements:
- Questionnaires per category
- More clarity on sharing evaluation comments with suppliers
New web address for the application
As announced earlier, the new web address of the application is now https://s2c.mercell.com.
Next to the new web address, notifications from the application will be sent from a new email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You won’t experience any issues due to this technical change. Visitors of outdated web addresses will automatically be redirected.
Organisations with an SSO and API integration have been informed with specific instructions to make the transition as smooth as possible.
General award letter
Some organisations want to send an award letter (or notice) to all participants that submitted an offer. Not only for public tenders, but also in tenders on invite or mini-competitions. Up until now, you could only create an award letter with individual information for each supplier. Now, you can create one identical award letter for all suppliers as well.
Templates can be created within Organisation Settings, just like the templates for other messages and requirements.
It's a setting that has to be activated in your organisation's BPM.
A lot of times, it’s useful to reuse requirements from other tenders you or your colleagues have ran in the past. Without having to copy-paste this information manually, buyers can now copy the requirements of an existing tender.
When adding a questionnaire in a new tender, you can now select to either import, select a template or copy from an existing tender.
After selecting the tender to copy from, you can select which questionnaire you’d like to import. You can copy complete questionnaires, or individual questions.
Dynamic Purchasing Systems: questionnaires per category
It’s now possible to link questionnaires to a specific category in a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS). Depending on the selected category, specific questionnaires become available to the supplier. This prevents that suppliers will always have the same requirements to go through, of which some might not be applicable to a specific category.
As a buyer, this adds more flexibility to your DPS. Buyers can create multiple questionnaires and link each to one or more categories.
Suppliers will see all questionnaires, but will only be able to fill out the ones linked to the selected category. Questionnaires that are not available, will be greyed out and include an information bubble to explain why.
The feature is only available for new DPS tenders and has to be activated in the BPM of your organisation. Contact your account manager at Mercell to have it activated.
Dynamic Purchasing Systems: more clarity on sharing evaluation comments with suppliers
When evaluating applications in DPS tenders, evaluators can add comments. When disqualifying suppliers, these comments are shared with the supplier. You already received a pop-up after disqualifying the application, informing you that these comments were about to be shared.
Now, this pop-up includes more information about what's actually being shared.
10 August 2022
New supplier invitation workflow: instead of just email, you can now also search the supplier database and previous tenders.
New offers page design
New supplier invitation workflow
Next to inviting suppliers by adding email addresses to a list, you can now also search the supplier database and select suppliers from previous tenders.
Opening the Supplier section in your tender, you’ll see three options: Search, Invite by email and Add from previous tenders.
Using Search, you’ll search the database of registered suppliers on Mercell Source-to-Contract. You’ll see their main contact person and contact details.
Using Invite by email, you’ll add email address like before.
Using Add from previous tenders, you’ll see the list of tenders you have completed before and you can search for specific tenders to select suppliers from.
Once you’ve found the tender, you can select the suppliers and add them to the invitation list.
Next, you can a load invitation template to get the text ready for the email.
Finally, you’ll sent the prepared invites just like you were used to before. Suppliers who are invited based on a supplier database search or from a previous tender, can only accept the invite with the exact same organisation.
New design Offers section
Recently, we combined the Offers and Evaluate page to reduce the number of clicks for navigating between offers and start evaluating. Now, a complete new design is released on the Offer page.
Offers can now be viewed in a new cards view, or as the familiar list view.
Your last used view will be saved when you revisit the section.
The evaluation progress will be visible directly into the overview of all the offers.
Drag and drop to disqualify and qualify offers.
The bar chart comparing the offers has been removed. It took a lot of space on the pace, and turned out to be rarely used.
20 July 2022
With the update of 20 July we launched a great new feature: verification of requirements after the evaluation has been completed.
In addition, the Offers menu has been redesigned.
The update only focuses on Tender management (Mercell Source-to-Contract version).
Verifying awarded suppliers
After finishing the evaluation process, the winning supplier is often requested to submit documents to verify the compliance to requirements. Until recently, as a buyer the most common way to do this was via messages.
From now on, you can integrate the verification of these documents into the questionnaire. When preparing your tender, you can indicate for each requirement whether a verification is needed.
As soon as the general evaluation has been completed, you can indicate within Awarding which supplier will be awarded the contract. The verification questions are then sent to this party.
Once these have been submitted by the supplier, you approve them and the awarding process is complete. Rejected documents can be resubmitted by the supplier.
We will soon come with more content on our support pages with how this new feature works.
Digital ESPD is now also available in basic tenders.
A basic tender is built with documents only instead of question and price lists. Until now, a digital ESPD was not available for this setup.
Smaller changes and improvements
"Manage all tenders within the organisation"
The user right allowing administrators to manage all tenders within the organisation is split up. Before, this right gave the administrator the same possibilities as the lead buyer in each tender.
From now on, some authorisations linked to this right will be moved to the new user right called “Manage all tenders as an admin”.
Revert the opening of the vault
Unpublish questions in Question & Answer
Manage all approvals in a tender
“The right “Manage all tenders within the organisation” has been renamed to “Manage all tenders as a lead buyer”.
Also, user rights now have an info button so that you can better understand what a specific user right does.
29 June 2022
Tender management (version Mercell Source-to-Contract)
This update includes a new way to view, check and assign evaluators to received offers.
Before this update, you'll see two menus in your tender: Offers and Evaluate.
In the Offers menu, you open the vault to view the offers received. To check offers for completeness and assign evaluators, you go to the Evaluate menu.
With the update of 29 June 2022, we will combine the two menus and call the new menu Offers.
|The situation before the update|
The situation after the update
While the vault is closed, the Offers menu looks exactly like before.
As soon as you open the vault, the content will be visible in the same way as you were used to in the Evaluate menu.
Because of combining the two menus, there is no need anymore to go to a new menu to check offers for completeness, assign evaluators or to see their status. Everything happens within the same menu.
Assigning evaluators is also simplified. In the new Offers menu, after opening the vault, you'll see a side panel on the right with evaluators and their assigned tasks. You can also immediately see the status of those tasks.
9 June 2022
New features for Tender Management (Mercell Source-to-Contract), Contract Management and Supplier Management.
Tender management (version Mercell Source-to-Contract)
From now on, after a new submission in a Dynamic Purchasing System by a supplier, the buyer will also receive a notification by e-mail. This notification is sent to the contact person in the tender, but also to buyer colleagues who have notifications turned on. You can recognise this by the icon on the card of the colleague in the team.
This also applies to partner organisations.
The email is sent once a day and contains the new submissions of the past 24 hours.
New landing page
The Contract Management landing page has been completely renewed. Where it used to be a number of tabs with lists, these are now blocks with information.
Besides a block with the familiar dossiers, there are now blocks with tasks, favourite contracts and favourite reports.
You manage the blocks with favourite contracts and reports yourself. Favourite a contract or report to show it here for quick access.
Within a contract you favourite it from the top right of the screen. In an overview of a file you can see a star icon per contract to recognise your favourites.
Supplier Management already had a functionality around favourite suppliers. After the changes in user roles last year, every supplier became a favourite as soon as you had a role in the supplier as a user.
We are now changing that and giving you the control to manage it. You can now save your own favourite suppliers. Your current list of favourite suppliers will be empty, but you can fill it up again with the suppliers you really want quick access to.
4 May 2022
New: replace tender number with own reference number
By default, all tenders in Tender Management (Mercell Source-to-Contract version) have an automatically generated tender number. For many organisations, however, their own reference number is more relevant in their reporting.
From now on, organisations can choose to use that reference number instead of the default tender number. This number is then visible in the overview of tenders, in the tender itself and in the communication where previously the automatically generated tender number would have been visible.
After the activation of this feature for your organisation, there will be no need to adjust your templates. Where previously the tender number was loaded in templates, from now on the reference number will be shown.
Standard tender number
Custom reference number
It is a feature that can be activated in the BPM processes of your organisation. The administrator at your organisation can request these changes through your account manager at Mercell.
A new feature has been added to the Overview of the tender: Tender Summary.
You can see summary this as the ultimate statement for your accountant. It includes how the tender was set up and what was being contracted, the schedule, received offers and information about the awarding.
The summary can be exported as a PDF.
Tender Summary is available for all new tenders created using Mercell processes. If your organisation has custom processes for running tenders, please contact your account manager at Mercell to have them updated with the new feature.
14 April 2022
Within My Reports in Tender Management (version Mercell Source-to-Contract) there are several custom report options available. A new report about offers has been added.
In this report you collect meta data about all offers including the related tenders, deadlines, information about the suppliers, information about the evaluation, ranking and much more.
A simple report that allows you to quickly view the most important information of all received offers across multiple tenders.
In 'My Reports', choose 'Create' in the top right corner. There, you select 'Offers report'.
Next, you compile the report by selecting different columns.
Via 'Save and View' you can open the report immediately and download it as an Excel file.
30 March 2022
New: view your tender as a supplier. This way you know exactly how a supplier will see the tender at that exact moment.
Within the overview of your tender there is a new option within the 3-dot menu: 'View as supplier'.
16 March 2022
New: the Tender Assistant. A new tool that helps making choices about the setup of your tender.
The Tender Assistant helps the buyer with the initial set-up of a tender. Step by step, the buyer is assisted making choices related to content, settings, and functionalities. Think of choosing a template for the schedule or questionnaires, activating Question & Answer, choosing an awarding method and much more.
This is how it looks like:
As of Wednesday, March 16, the Tender Assistant is available to everyone.
First, questions are asked regarding the proces and tender name.
Then the buyer makes choices regarding settings and content.
Does the buyer want to use Question & Answer, which templates are applicable, and will questionnaires or only documents be used?
Next, there are also choices available for scoring and awarding.
How are you going to decide on the best offer?
After creating the tender, all settings can be adjusted again. Just like you are used to now.
9 March 2022
A big update for this month! New features for Tender Management (Mercell Source-to-Contract version) and Supplier Management.
For Tender Management we introduce the Snippets for buyers, after the announcement in January introducing them to administrators. Also, buyers can now import questionnaires from an Excel-file.
For Supplier management we introduce Risk management, a completely new feature to manage risks and mitigating actions.
The complete update includes:
Tender management (Mercell Source-to-Contract version)
- Snippets are now available for buyers
- Anonymous evaluation
- New report: DPS Category Reports
- New export: Public tender export
- Import questionnaires from an Excel-file
- New! Risk management
Intake management, Tender management (Portal version), Contract management, Supplier management
- Goodbye Classic! Contact groups now also available outside of Classic
PSA: With this update, Internet Explorer 11 is no longer supported. Users that will visit the platform using Internet Explorer 11, will see a screen restricting access and suggesting other browsers to continue using the platform.
Tender management (Mercell Source-to-Contract version)
Adding Snippets to your tenders and templates
Last update saw the introduction of Snippets: a new way of managing requirement templates. Instead of full questionnaires, you can now manage basically any piece of content that you usually would add to a questionnaire as an individual template. Just like building blocks.
When we introduced the feature in January, you where only able to build a snippet library for you organisation.
This updates enables buyers to add those snippets to their tenders and questionnaire templates.
By adding snippets to templates, you can re-use snippets in multiple templates creating a single source for managing repetitive content. Updating a snippet means that the templates containing the snippet are updated as well. This prevents the need to update multiple templates as soon as a single piece of repetitive content requires an update.
Snippets in templates are labeled for clarity and can only be edited in the Snippets library.
In tenders, Snippets are added just like any other piece of content in a questionnaire.
It won't have a label and a buyer can change the content of the snippet in the tender. There is no link to the Snippets library anymore. Likewise, Snippets updated in the Snippets library won't affect content in tenders.
Buyers want to be able to let their team evaluate offers, without them knowing who is who. The main goal is to have an objective evaluation without preferences from the evaluators influencing the score they give.
In the Round Settings, a new setting “Anonymous evaluation” can be enabled.
As soon as this is done, all supplier and offer names will be anonymized for all users without the permission “Finalize evaluation”.
All users with the Lead Buyer role will always see the real supplier and offer names.
If the user has the right to send Messages, they can see the supplier names in this menu. Additionally, evaluators will not be able to view or export offers because supplier information could be found here.
Once the evaluation has been finalized for the first time, the real supplier names will be revealed for all buyers. Finalizing the evaluation is a one-time event: when reverting back to evaluation, the real supplier names will remain there.
Anonymous evaluation is not available in DPS/QS tenders.
Import questionnaires from a spreadsheet file
Many buyers start their requirements by building a spreadsheet file (like Excel) to share and approve internally. To ease the process of adding those requirements in the actual tender in Mercell Source-to-Contract, we introduce the ability to import those files.
In order to import your requirements the first thing you need to do is to download the empty import file.
|You'll find the import file in the top right within the requirements menu.|
You can then use the file to draft up all the requirements. The file looks like this:
You will notice that there are multiple tabs within this Excel: Requirements, Multiple choice settings, and Value settings. Once the file is ready, you can import the file within the requirements menu.
The file will be validated and any errors will be clearly stated after the check. Once everything is alright, the file is ready to be imported and you can continue in the tender.
DPS Category Report
With the DPS Category Report, buyers can see which suppliers selected which categories in a DPS. You can also see how many mini-competitions were created, related to certain categories and you will find some related statistics.
Public Tender Export
In every tender, a new Public Tender Export is added for buyers. This is the same export that suppliers find on the published tender page. The export is always up-to-date with whatever content is available to suppliers.
Also for suppliers this export is available within the tender, on the Overview page.
The result of well-done risk management is insight into risks that can occur during the contract. It is important to see how to handle those risks and, if needed, which actions will be taken.
Risk Management is a new menu item that is added to the supplier card.
Adding a risk takes two steps.
In the first step the vendor manager is asked to fill out properties related to the risk.
The second step is related to mitigating activities. So if the manager decides to take action, he is able to add text and documents to put down his plan of action. This is optional.
When risks are created, it will end up under the Active tab. The chances are high that during the lifetime of a running contract risks will be added and edited due to the volatility of risks in general.
If for some reason a risk is not relevant anymore, they can be archived and a reason for archiving is asked. It will still be accessible, but will not be part of the active tab.
With this we also added a new type of report called “Risk”. Almost all fields are reportable.
Authorization is based on your role for this supplier. Managers will be able to add and edit. Followers can only see the content.
Intake management, Tender management (version Portal), Contract & Supplier Management
Currently admins need to go to the “Classic” environment to perform certain actions related to contact groups.
With this update, the contact groups are moved to the general admin environment. In the Organisation settings, we added a new menu called Contact groups. Here, the admin can manage the colleague groups, user groups and vendor lists as he could in Classic before.
21 January 2022
The second update of the year is a special one. We are introducing a new way of handling templates in Tender management (version Mercell Source-to-Contract): Snippets! In this release, we make it possible to create and manage Snippets. The next release will introduce Snippets within tenders so they can actually be used by buyers.
- Adjusting price after opening vault: adjusting a submitted price
- New report on suppliers in your Dynamic Purchasing Systems
As of the next update, Mercell Source-to-Contract is no longer accessible through Internet Explorer 11 (IE11). Please use a modern browser such as Google Chrome, Firefox or Opera. We announced last September that we will no longer actively support the browser.
Tender management (Mercell Source-to-Contract version)
Templates are one of the main benefits of using smart procurement software. It simplifies setting up a tender and makes using repetitive elements more efficient. Hence we already have full templates for questionnaires and price lists for everyone to use.
It is often the case that you don't want to reuse entire questionnaires, but only a small part of them. A single element about purchasing conditions, complaints procedures or other standard requirements or wishes that you might have as a purchasing organisation.
With Snippets you create individual, reusable building blocks for the content of your tender. As administrator you manage these among your Templates in your Organisation Settings.
In Organisation Settings, go to Templates within Modules, choose Tender management and select Requirements.
Here you will find the list of snippets. Create the first snippet via Create in the upper right.
Give the snippet a name. In this example, a snippet for the standard terms and conditions that the organisation often applies as a requirement in tenders.
Select the type of snippet via Select item. Here, choose from all the options you know from building a questionnaire.
For example, in the example of signature for an NDA, choose a Document question where you ask the supplier to upload a signed agreement.
After saving the Snippet, you'll see the full list. Here you can edit, delete or create new ones.
As of next release you will be able to load Snippets into your tender as well. Until then, have a look at your current templates and maybe copy parts to Snippets. Which parts of your templates are used most often? The next release is scheduled for early March. From then on, buyers will be able to select Snippets in their tenders.
Adjusting a submitted price
It sometimes happens in a tender that a submitted price contains an estimate that has been interpreted incorrectly. As a buyer, you still want to be able to compare offers correctly with each other. A price that deviates from the other offers due to a misinterpretation or typing error will make that nearly impossible.
From now on it is possible to adjust a submitted price, including a motivation. To do this, go to Evaluation and open the offer from the supplier. Click on the price and go to the Total price button with the pencil icon in the top right.
A price submitted by the supplier you can then adjust by adding, or subtracting an amount.
The changes are tracked so that they can always be reviewed. After the adjustment, the ranking is updated.
This functionality is immediately available for new tenders created after the update, except for tenders with an ongoing procedure (such as a Qualification System, Dynamic Purchasing System etc.).
New report: suppliers in your Dynamic purchasing systems
The reporting functionality offers you the possibility to combine data from the tenders into reports.
From now on it is possible to create a specific report about a Dynamic purchasing system, specifically about the suppliers.
With the report you get a overview of your DPS about for example:
- Which suppliers have participated
- Which categories have been selected
- Which mini competitions the supplier participated in
- Average prices and quality scores in mini-competitions by the supplier
Go to Tender management, choose the My Reports tab and click Add. From there, select the DPS report - supplier.
Next, you compile the report. It is a mix of information about the supplier and related statistics that are brought together in a report.
After you have selected the columns, choose Save and select the Dynamic Purchasing System on which you want to generate the report.
5 January 2022
This update includes the following:
Tender management (version Mercell Source-to-Contract)
- Price-quality ratio improvements
- Manage the default formula settings in the BPM
- Rollback of the vault opening
- Visibility of content of a tender on the published tender
- Improvements in communication around statements
Tender management (version Mercell Source-to-Contract)
Price-quality ratio improvements
Previously, buyers set the price-quality ratio via round settings. Next, the buyer distributed points in the questionnaires and price lists. From now on, the price-quality ratio is calculated automatically based on the points set in the questionnaires and price lists. The way the information is presented has also been improved.
Management of default formula settings in the BPM
In Mercell Source-to-Contract, Business Process Management (BPM) largely determines the way a tender can be set up. At the start of each tender, the buyer chooses a process from one or more options.
There is now the option to set the default formula for each process. The default setting remains the point system, but can be adjusted for your organisation. Your administrator can submit a request through your account manager at Mercell.
Reversing the vault opening
Opening the vault with submitted offers is irreversible. However, from now on it is possible to activate in the BPM that a vault opening can be reversed. For all other BPMs, this is turned off but could be activated by submitting a request through your account manager at Mercell. The features has only been activated for private organisations in the process "Request for offers without direct access".
Visibility of the contents of a tender on the published tender
A published tender, in addition to TenderNed or TED, is also published on the published tenders page of Mercell Source-to-Contract. The content of the tender is now better displayed and easier for interested suppliers to download. The previous update already brought some improvements.
Improvements in communication around statements.
Messages that are sent between suppliers and vendor managers can now be found in External (on the vendor manager side) and in Messages (on supplier side). As soon as a statement is rejected or approved, the vendor manager is notified.