Automatic quality control for bidding processes: Save time, money and procurement staff sanity

How many non-compliant bids have you rejected in the past year? How many valuable staff hours and resources were needed to review these bids, just to reject them in the end?


Tired of receiving non-compliant bids, which costs both buyers and vendors time and money, the Town of Newmarket decided to introduce what public procurement officials had been talking about for years – a fully electronic bidding system.

Newmarket was one of the first municipalities in Canada to offer an end-to-end eProcurement process with bids&tenders, an online system made for procurement professionals by procurement professionals.

Potential issues were identified and addressed through Newmarket’s review of e-bidding case law and by conducting extensive mock bidding exercises with Surety Association of Canada, Defense Construction Canada, Newmarket Chamber of Commerce (and the vendor community) and Mobile Bonds and Xenex Enterprises Inc. After 18 months of researching and consulting with partners and public procurement officers in Canada and the United States, Newmarket was ready to seamlessly introduce an e-bidding system that would completely transform its procurement process.

Why make a change? 

Helping Newmarket achieve its goals, bids&tenders has a built-in quality control function to ensure pricing or other mandatory information is included before the bid can be submitted. If there’s missing mandatory information, a bidder can’t submit their bid until the information is entered or uploaded.

The introduction to e-bidding has also resulted in more bids being received, providing Newmarket better value when awarding contracts.  

Our ultimate goal was to improve the quality of bids we receive by significantly reducing the number of non-compliant or late bids. The system needed to be simple and mirror the traditional paper process to avoid confusing bidders, making it easy for them to transition to an online process.
Gord Sears
Former Manager of Procurement Services, Town of Newmarket

Small changes, big results

For a seamless transition to the bids&tenders system, the Town of Newmarket started with a solid foundation by making necessary changes to its by-law and policies, including:

    • Adopting a new Procurement By-law with new E-Bidding Irregularity Schedules
    • Creating new electronic bid templates
    • Creating new electronic standardized instructions for bidders
    • Creating a bidding system Terms of Service Agreement
    • Eliminating hard copy submission alternatives
    • Creating new bid checklists
    • Purchasing cyber insurance



Since its launch in September 2014, Newmarket’s e-bidding system has successfully closed more than 170 e-bids, with not a single hardcopy bid issued. Not to mention, close to 100 per cent compliant bids, with only the occasional error beyond the control of the system or the buyer, such as an incorrect attachment being uploaded by the bidder.

compliant bids

eliminating paper

Then & now

A system that...

Requires a Bids Review Panel made up of legal and procurement staff
Requires staff to review and reject incomplete or non-compliant bids
Requires a post-closing process including checking math and pricing summaries


An online system that...

Reduces the need for Bids Review Panel meetings
Automatically performs a quality check of bids to ensure the bidder has entered all mandatory information, such as pricing, before the bid can be submitted
Has a simplified, automated post-closing process that does all of the math for you and can post unofficial results almost instantly

Solving issues before they come up

Armed with real-life feedback from their mock bidding exercises, the Town of Newmarket addressed some vital issues in order to make sure their e-bidding process was simple, efficient and best of all, designed to serve both their procurement staff and bidders.

What if a bid is late due to internet traffic?

We realize that a bid transmission can be delayed due to internet clogs caused by things like file sizes and transmission speeds, so Newmarket’s bid documents clearly inform bidders that the timing of bid submissions is based on when the bid is received by bids&tenders, not when a bid is submitted by a bidder.

What if bidders and brokers are not ready to use digital Bonds in Ontario?

Based on our mock bidding tests, Newmarket has added some flexibility through bids&tenders by permitting two submission options for Bid Bonds and Agreement to Bond. You can submit either a digital Bid Bond or Agreement to Bond, or you can submit a scanned PDF of your Bid Bond or Agreement to Bond.

What if there are addendum changes that get overlooked?

When changes related to an addendum are required, bids&tenders automatically withdraws the bid and sends an automated email to inform the bidder that they need to resubmit with the required changes. Taking it one step further, bids&tenders even sends automatic reminders to bidders 48 hours and 24 hours before the bid closing.

increase in
digital bonds

Since launching bids&tenders, Newmarket has seen a growth in the number of digital bonds received compared to scanned PDFs as both surety providers and bidders understand the benefits of digital bonding for all parties, such as not having to rely on couriers to deliver bonds and the ability for owner’s to authenticate bonds at closing.

Enhancements to come

The bids&tenders system Newmarket uses is evolving at a phenomenal rate thanks to feedback gathered through the unique bids&tenders user group. That’s right – we want users to tell us what they think! The user group is a valuable ongoing collaboration with municipalities like the Town of Newmarket. Enhancements to the bids&tenders system as a result of these discussions include:

  • Electronic evaluations of Request for Proposals (RFPs)
  • Electronic tracking of vendor performance
  • Custom online bid templates
  • Workload by buyer reports




Addendums not acknowledged

Automatic rejection after review by procurement staff

Bidder can’t submit without acknowledging addendum

Bid not signed or doesn’t include a scanned signature

Automatic rejection after review by procurement staff

Bidder can’t submit without entering their name and agreeing to terms

Incomplete Bid / Incomplete Pricing

Automatic rejection after review by procurement staff

Bidder can’t submit  an incomplete bid

References or Sub-Contractor information not submitted

Automatic rejection after review by procurement staff

Bidder can’t submit  an incomplete bid

Late bids


Automatic rejection, isn’t read publicly and returned unopened to the bidder after review by procurement staff

Bidder can’t submit a bid after the deadline

Unsealed envelopes

Automatic rejection after review by procurement staff

Paperless system doesn’t require envelopes

No Bid Bond or Agreement to Bond

Automatic rejection after review by procurement staff

Bidder can’t submit  an incomplete bid

Unit pricing changed and not signed

Automatic rejection after review by procurement staff

Bidder simply changes unit cost before deadline and resubmits online

Illegible or obscure bids

May be rejected as informal after review by procurement staff

Bidder can’t alter provided tables etc.

Bids received on different forms

Automatic rejection after review by procurement staff

Bidder can’t submit different forms

Failure to insert the bidder’s business name

Automatic rejection after review by procurement staff

Bidder can’t submit without business name

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