|Title of Invention||
AUTOMATED COMPETITIVE BIDDING SYSTEM AND PROCESS
|Abstract||Utilizing the present invention, a buyer for products, services or both would prepare a bid package (750). The bid package would contain information necessary to complete the project the buyer would desire. At the buyer's option, the bid package is parceled into modules. The modules are prepared as discrete and stand-alone biddable items. The buyer then searches 'the exchange' (i.e. an integral compendium) (780) to retrieve a list of suppliers for each module. The search is made from multiple sources based on the modules and directed by the buyer's specifications for the product or service. The system of the present invention packages, processes, connects, procures, bids and reports the competitive bidding cycle for buyers and makes the necessary connection with interested prequalified sellers in a given industry or market. The sellers respond to the buyer with their qualifications and price (bid). The system receives, compiles, processes and reports the results.|
Automated Competitive Bidding System And Process
The following invention relates generally to a request for quote (RPQ) system on which buyers post projects open for bid.
Particularly the invention relates to a system that permits buyers of products and services to make requests for bids as well as well as receipt of competitive bids.
In particular, the invention relates to a fully automated outsourced intermediary sytem that manages the competitive bidding cycle in markets worldwide. Specifically, the invention relates to a system that packages, processes, procures, bids and reports the competitive bidding cycle for buyers and makes the necessary connection with. interested prequalified suppliers in a given market sector or industry.
Transactions within the competitive bidding process usually involve a buyer going to known suppliers, topically having prior course of dealings with the buyer, for the benefit of an entity for whom the buyer is providing a service. A buyer prepares a bid package from the information supplied by the entity. The buyer then distributes the bid package to suppliers thai it is well aware of with requests for bids, quotes or piices regarding contents of the bid package. These known suppliers that received the bid package, review the contents of the bid package and each supplier formulates a bid, quote or price for completion of the bid package. The bids are received by the buyer, piocessed and the lowest bid from these'known suppliers is awarded the contract. While this system has a component of competitiveness and thusly should yield the best bid for the bid package, this conclusion is based on a false premise that the only suppliers that could carry out the contents of the bid package are the ones that the buyer knows of or has.reason to know of. However, it is unlikely that a buyer could know every supplier that could carry out the bid package. Thus, it is not necessarily true that the best bid (i.e., from the best qualified suppliers) for the project that the buyer wishes completed has been received. Therefore, there is a need to provide a buyer with information to supplement the buyer's preselected list of known suppliers that would competitively bid on the buyer's project The instant invention provides such supplemental information. A buyer who is ready to release a bid package to its known list of suppliers would sequester a preselected list of suppliers that it knows. At the same time, the buyer would utilize the instant invention's exchange to review and select additional suppliers. Thus, the buyer would have two pools of suppliers to
generate competitive bids therefrom. The first pool is the buyer's preselected list, while the second pool is the listed from the instant invention's exchange (note that suppliers could overlap pools). Thus, the bid package is prepared by the buyer and released to cill suppliers in both pools in order to provide an enhanced compesive bidding with-respect to the bid package.
Competitive bidding is required by law for the buying and selling of goods for a Large portion of the public sector marketplace. Competitive bidding is also desirable in the private marketplace and is an efficient method of using capital to by goods and services.
As practiced today, the state of the art, requires the manual methods of packaging, bidding and processing for the buying and selling of goods and services. These methods have problems associated therewith. These problems include slowness, irefficiency, and being confined or restrained to a local area. The effect of the present invention is to increase the number of qualified bidders. Heretofore, prior system were necessarily constrained geographically. The state of the art, as practiced today, requires the seller to also proceed through the laborious process of finding and following through with sales leads having low chances of success in either the public or private sector. The instant invention permits sellers to maintain a specialization in a particular area of supply goods and/or services because sellers can reduce overhead by getting more kads with minimal salesforce intervention. The instant invention provides a sailer with a larger geographical area to bid from and because of this larger geographical area, this allows seller to focus on their niche area of supply for goods and/or services. The instant invention provides a mutuality of benefit for both a buyer and a seller per transaction: the seller obtains a decrease in the cost for obtaining a RFQ, which in turn reduces the seller's overhead, which in turn reduces the price for an item, which in turn allows a seller to be within the buyer's project forecast; while the buyer is able to stay with budget for a project and possibly complete a project under the budget The state of the art lias reached a chasm in which buyers are unable to find qualifed sellers and sellers are unable to find appropriate markets. Although the work or ;ob reaches completion, it is at the cost of the buyers paying a premium and the sellers often losing a sale for their inability to sell within the buyer's projected budgets.
The following reflects; the state of the art of which applicant is aware and is
ncluded herewith to discharge applicant's acknowledged duty to disclose relevant prior
art. It is stipulated, however, that none of these references teach singly nor render
obvious when considered in any conceivable combination the nexus of the instant
Invention as disclosed in greater detail hereinafter and as particularly claimed.
'Triceline.com" focuses on the small consumer market buyers searching for a seller. Its style of business is a demand collection system that enables consumers to use the Internet to save money on products and services while enabling sellers to generate incremental revenue. Incremental-revenue means a seller makiing money with volumes of purchases instead of individual retail sale purchases. In order to work, PRICELINE must collect individual consumer offers whereby the consumer's offer is guaranteed (by a credit card) for a particular product or service at a price set by the consumer and communicates that demand directly to participating sellers or to their private databases. Consumers agree to hold their offers open for a specified period of time to enable PRICELINE to fulfill their offers from inventory provided by participating sellers. Once fulfilled, offers generally cannot be canceled. By requiring consumers to be flexible with respect to brands, sellers and/or product features, PRICELINE enables sellers to generate incremental revenue without disrupting their existing distribution channels or retail pricing structures. Thus, for the sale of goods the purchase price is very close to the actual cost per unit price. The buyer is unsure of what the outcome will be, i.e. will he or she get the airline seat or will someone else get it because of a higher bid or quicker time of response for that seat. The present invention, in contrast, is directed to sophisticated buyers and sellers that are registered users of the present invention. The present invention is a generalized request for quote system on which buyers post projects open for bid as we'll as their prequalification requirements of sellers. Qualified registered sellers are notified directly by the system. Sellers from their accounts may purchase bid packages and place a bid on a posted job. Jobs are accumulated and returned to the buyer upon, the closure date. Further the present invention provides to its registered users resource related to the contract bid process. Such resources include trade community discussions on code issues, finance, taxes, import/export, news and employment opportunities. To allow access to the system of the present invention, there is a registration process that must be undertaken by both buyers and sellers. The registration process provides security to buyers because it verifies whether particular sellers are bondable or have mercantile warranties. The buyers and sellers and their respective transactions fall within the areas of business-to-business, business-to-consumer and business-to-government.
"eBay.com" is one of the many auction sites available on the Internet. These auction sites are designed to attract buyers for a given item that is being sold. These auction sites are opposite of what the present invention constitutes. With the present invention buyers define the product or service they wish to purchase. Sellers propose
ro provide the product or complete the service requested if they are deemed qualified by the buyer.
The following are other e-commerce" businesses flect the state of the art that the applicant is_aware of.
' Bidfocus.com' collects data through the use of a search engine on the World Wide Web, comb through professional journals and also from the web sites of existing clients, and presents the data gathered to suppliers and vendors who are looking for business.
General Electrics Trading Partnership is a network to competitively purchase goods internally, as in an intranet.
McDonnell Douglas - Boeing Internal Buying Network is utilized to purchase supply parts competitively for the corporation's internal use.
"PrimeContract.com" provides owners of construction projects and construction companies with a competitive advantage by harnessing the power of the Internet to electronically automate the entire sourcing, bidding and procurement processes for commercial construction projects around the world. "PrimeContract.com" controls, audits and analyzes the procurement of services and materials needed by the Architect, Engineering and Contracting (AEC) industry (a.k.a. the A/E Community). By using RrimeContract.com to source materials, services, equipment, share projects plans, and then bid, procure, and purchase in an online marketplace in order to facilitate a faster, on-time project delivery and reduce project costs. 'TrimeContract.com" helps construction companies manage their complex supply chains with uniform processes, while enabling the project owner to make trade-off decisions about construction costs versus lifetime operational costs
"Epylon.com" is a website designed to unite education and government buyers together with private and corporate suppliers to facilitate commerce, enhance efficiency and reduce costs. The website provides comparisons of products and services and makes the process of purchasing more efficient; broadens the supplier base and enables quotes and bids to be seni: and received electronically. The website adheres to the education and government sector's important purchasing practices, compliance with legal regulations, generates detailed reports for auditing purposes and supports customer-specific pricing that reflects current contract pricing. Ancillary services offer education and government business officials the unique opportunity to create an online community and forum for sharing best practices and other valuable information. For suppliers, the website offers access to a large, national aggregated base of education and government buyers that spend more than $850 billion annually on a wide array of
products and services. The website notifies suppliers, via e-mail, of requests for quotes
(RFQ)s and invitations to bid from qualified buyers, increasing quote and bid
opportunities and leading to additional sales with and government
institutions. -The website reduces a supplier's overhead in process costs by
automating the processing: of routine orders for buyers, freeing a supplier's sales force
to focus on servicing existing customers generating new business. The website also
reduces a supplier's overhead by enabling suppliers to send order confirmations, bids
and KFQs electronically and by migrating customer service online. The website reduces
a supplier's customer acquisition costs by enabling business to be conducted
electronically through a customized e-commerce network. Suppliers' products and
information are published! electronically to a global buying community leading to
increased revenue growth for suppliers and a shorter sales process. The website
permits suppliers to leverage traditionally sales and marketing efforts by acting as an
promotions to a large buying community.
"Cometotrade.com" is a website where members post requests to buy or sell and the webmaster will search internationally for companies to supply or purchase the posted products. Buyers and sellers can meet, chat, bid, offer and negotiate online-Members have the option to be notified when a new posting of interest is submitted. The website offers a value-added service to assist clients with the financial, transactional and logistical necessities of international trade.
U.S. Patent No. 5,243,515, issued on September 7, 1993, to Lee discloses an electronic bidding system that only receives a verbal, telephoned or faxed, bid from a potential subcontractor to a general contractor. It holds this information and electronically delivers it on a preset date to the general contractor and the reporting of amounts other subcontractors had bid to each of the subcontractors participating in the competitive subbidding process.
Below are other patents and electronic documents that reflect the state of. the art that the applicant is aware of.
The other prior art lifted above but not specifically described teach other devices fo:: what has become known as "e-commerce" and further the prior art of which the applicant is aware. These references divergereven the
references specifically distinguished above.
Disclosure of Invention
Utilizing the present invention, a buyer for products, services or both would prepare a bid package for distribution to potential sellers. The bid package would contain information necessary to complete the project the buyer would desire. The bid package is parceled into modules. The modules are prepared as discrete and standalone biddable items. The buyer then searches "the exchange" (i.e. an integral compendium) to retrieve a list of suppliers for each module. The search is made from multiple sources based on the modules and directed by the buyer's specifications for the product or service.
The system of the present invention packages, processes, calls, procures, bids and reports the competitive bidding cycle. for buyers and makes the necessary connection with interested prequalified sellers in a given industry or market. It then facilitates the seller to respond to the buyers needed product or services as well as his qualifications for buyer's review and approval. The system of the present invention includes a consortium of horizontal and vertical portals, gateways and universal resource locations (URL)s, e.g. "web sites", that encompass virtually all trade, industry and market communities.
The system permits ease of use for buyers and suppliers. A buyer or supplier of products or services simply registers with the system by providing information on their organization. After a buyer or supplier provides this information, the buyer or supplier would be issued a unique identification number. The identification number permits buyers and sellers to utilize the system's unique features. The system automatically makes the appropriate connections based on product or job specification provided by buyers. When data from specified sellers match that of a buyer, the system's automated response component is engaged to bring the buyer and suppliers
The system of the present invention provides resources to assist buyers and sellers in completing the transaction of products and services. For example, the system can provide appropriate industry information on foreign trade guidelines. Also, as an example of the many resources provided by the system, there is provided a
community" section where individuals can exchange thoughts and information with
others in a specific industry.
With respect to the state of the art outlined above, the present invention is
--.different in that, inter alia:
The present invention is a very encompassing and system to request for a bid as well as receive a qualified, competitive bid. As examples:
A buyer can use the present invention's system to announce globally that the buyer needs to buy and is seeking competitive prices for the product or service that the buyer wishes to purchase.
A buyer can prequalify a seller to the buyer's specific desires, for example, by region, background, experience, types of licenses held, references, etc.
A buyer can sequester and divide the buyer's purchasing needs such that the buyer can buy certain items directly from specific buyers and yet request other items through a tiered supply chain. The buyer can then receive a compilation of the full bid package reported in multiple ways.
A buyer can reach multiple vertical markets to a distributor or a manufacturer ditectly.
A buyer can receive bids for additional or fewer multiple components called "additive alternatives" and "deductive alternatives" respectively to the base bid. This allows the buyer to tailor the purchasing budget to the bid prices of the components that could be deferred.
A buyer can reach sellers directly via electronic messages directly to sellers (open
or prequalified) to request a bid.
A buyer has the capability to send addendums to the recipient of the original bid reouest.
A buyer has documented receipt of the date and time when each bidder received the package and/or addendums and as each supplier (bidder) sends back their respective bid.
A buyer has the capability of sending a bid package both directly in an electronic format and a hard copy format through a printer's shop.
Buyers and sellers pay for different services at different steps and can use only those needed.
Payments are secured transactions and encrypted to the system's financial ixisdtution. The financial institution has the capability to notify the other parts of the system when payment is received and verified that funds are available.
The system of the present invention has multiple way;- of stopping a transaction until payment is received and verified.
The system of the present invention has where security measures are in place to maintain the- confidentiality of the whole buying and selling process.
The system of the present invention can obscure from view submitted information from all parties until a particular closing date and time for receipt of bids. -At that given moment, the buyer and seller have access to limited reports on an "as needed" basis. The system can generate multiple bid reports to view different data to different parties.
The system of the present invention facilitates the ability of sellers to reach buyers globally. Sellers can be selective in their search for buyers.
The system of the present invention allows sellers to be readily in contact with the buyers so as to receive additional information or addendums to a given bid package.
The system of the present invention allows sellers to select only specific services tar a specific price.
The system of the present invention allows the display of advertisements. The system of the present invention has the capability of searching, comparing and selecting the bid for the desired product or service, qualified by the buyers and sellers specification, attributes and price.
The system of the present invention has the capability of- presenting information in multiple languages.
In sum, the system of the present invention is capable of serving, at any step, any number of: tiers (n tiers); modules (n modules); suppliers (n suppliers); qualifying criteria (n qualifying criteria); in any country in the world (n countries) and any translatable language (languages).
The industrial applicability of this invention shall be demonstrated through discussion of the following objects of the invention.
It is an object of the present invention to provide an automated process to competitively bid out projects, products and services in areas of commerce such as the public and private sectors serving business to business, business to government and business to consumers.
It is further an object of the present invention to assist buyers to bid smarter and more efficiently while exponentially increasing" the demand suppliers' products and
It is further an object of the presen invention to provide a competitive bidding cycle that is the most efficient money saving method of using capital to buy products and services offered to the public and private sectors.
It is further an object of the present invention to provide an automated competitive bidding service that caters to the business-to-business, business-to-government and business-to-consumer market sectors.
It is further an object of the present invention to provide bidding and procurement services in both horizontal and vertical markets segments, some of which in elude: electrical, telecojnmunications, medical, high-technology, steel, power generation, infrastructure and transportation.
■It is further an object of the present invention to provide an automated competitive bidding service1 and procurement strategies to buyers, and suppliers that utilize the wide area networks of computers and telecommunication that permeate the industrialized nations of today and tomorrow.
It is a further object of the present invention to serve the sellers (suppliers, vendors, manufacturers, distributors, etc.) by directly alerting them with targeted leads for their respective products and services.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide ancillary services of assisting buyers in packaging and disseminating bid information in a timely manner.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide ancillary services of tracking, documenting and reporting data form sellers to buyers during the bidding phase.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide buyers with the option of prequalifying the potential bidders (sellers).
It is a further object of the present invention to allow buyers to selectively sequester bidding of products and services within a larger overall bid.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a capability to choose the form of a "private" bid when the bid opportunity is available to only a pool of selected bidders without opening up to the entire spectrum of available and qualified bidders.
It is a further object of the present invention to offer 'sealed bids" in a e-cornrnerce competitive environment.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a large number of related but free-standing horizontal and vertical market gateways all of which facilitate attracting targeted buyers and sellers in the marketplace.
It is a further object of .the present invention to ataract a very large cross-section-of e-commerce that involves buying and selling on a competitive basis.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide buyers and sellers with global services transcending multiple cultures through multiple languages; sensitive to differences in cultural backgrounds for content and advertisements.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide buyers the ability to restrict the sellers within the their own global region or "open up" to a selected region.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a reduction in the bid price by providing a buyer with the ability to selectively seek out qualified bidders in a larger marketplace
It is a further object of the present invention to provide the seller with the ability to offer a competitive price when a chance to exponentially increase their volume of sales.
These and other objects will be made manifest when considering the following detailed specification when taken in conjunction with the appended drawing figures.
Brief Description of Drawings
Figure 1A, IB and 1C shows an overview of a preferred embodiment of the system of the present invention.
Figure 2 shows an illustrative example of how the system of the present invention is utilized by a buyer or user for the competitive bidding cycle.
Figure 3 shows an exemplar of the present invention.
Figure 4 shows the lasers' perceptions of the multiple methods of coxamunications and distribution between buyers and sellers.
Figure 5 shows the interactions of the users and system to achieve the perceptions shown in figure 4.
Best Mode(s) for Carrying Out the Invention
The following explanation of terms will assist those skilled in the art in understanding the present invention.
The terms "supplier" and "seller" and their derivatives are interchangeable.
Tier - A tier is a hierarchical numerical level (0, 1, 2, 3, etc.) in the process Of buying and selling. The lowest number represents that entity that originates the process, usually it is the buyer. The buyer could be the end user or could be a supplier
for another supplier or the end user. Higher numbered tiers indicate subsequent levels in the hierarchical chain removed from the central core (for inshince the end user) but needed to fulfill the upper (lower numbered) tier. At a given tbr a seller can become a buyer for the tier further removed.
Below are illustrative examples of the use of tiers in ihe competitive bidding process and should not be taken or construed to limit the scope of the invention to one particular industry, but instead should be construed as facilitating the basic constructs of th 2 instant invention which are limited only by the dictates of the claims hereinbelow.
0 Tier (tier 0) - The entity that is the ultimate beneficiary, ultimate buyer, end user or user. It is generally a buyer. For example, in the construction industry it could be a home or building owner.
1st Tier (tier 1) - The entity that is the first level supplier to the 0 Tier. The 1* Tier generally looks at the big picture to supply all (turnkey) to the 0 Tier. For example, in the construction industry, if the 0 Tier is a home or building owner, then the 1st Tier is a home builder corporation or a program or construction manager (CM) to the construction of a building. A l" Tier entity will solicit from the next tier to meet its needs and will become a "buyer" to the 2nd Tier; while being a supplier to the 0 Tier. The 1st Tier entity can have multiple 2nd Tier suppliers.
2nd Tier (tier 2) - This entity is the second level of suppliers. This entity will supply to the 1st Tier above. In this role this entity is a seller to the 1st Tier. To meet its needs, the 2nd Tier entity will become a buyer for the 3rd Tier below. The 2nd Tier entity can have multiple 3rd Tier suppliers. To expand upon the previous example, a 2nd Tier entity is a general contractoi:. Also, the 2nd Tier entity is a 2nd Tier supplier either directly to the 0 Tier home owner or via the l8k Tier (Home Builder or Construction Manager).
3rd Tier (tier 3) - This entity is the third level supplier. This entity is a supplier to the 2nd Tier, who will then supply the 1st Tier, who will supply to the ultimate end user 0 Tier. This entity will also be a buyer to the 4th Tier. Each 3rd Tier buyer can have multiple 4th Tier sellers. To continue with the example already started, an example of a 3nI Tier buyer would be subcontractors specializing is particular facets of building construction: plumbing, electrical, road, etc. These entities are sellers to the Tier above, but buyers for the 4th Tier below them.
4th Tier (tier 4) - This entity is the fourth level supplier. These entities supply to the third tier above, who will supply the chain upward. However, this entity is also a buyer for the 5th Tier below At such a far removed Tier, these 4th* Tier suppliers usually are "stand-alone7' suppliers that serve many horizontal markets (buyers). For example, toilet fixture suppliers, lighting suppliers, rock and gravel suppliers. As an example of a
horizontal market, a rock and gravel supplier might supply rock and gravel to a subcontractor that specializes in road construction or a sub ■ factor that uses the rock and gravel as a base to laying to a building foundation. Or. rock and gravel supplier might supply rock and gravel to a concrete plant as a part of their-conerete mix. Mother example is in the supply of medical equipment upgrades. A medical supply house might supply the latest medical treatment and diagnostic equipment to a contractor that specializes in the installation of this equipme.a in newly constructed medical facilities. Also, the medical supply house might sell equipment to local, state or federal governments; or even sell to foreign governments or international charities for aid to people in crisis. Or, the medical supply Louse might sell similar equipment to doctors' practices in order for the doctors within the practice to keep update with the latest medical technologies.
5th Tier (tier 5) - This entity is a fifth level supplier. This entity is a supplier to the 4* Tier above. This level of supplier is a specialty supplier or often they are the manufacturers. Also they can be "stand-alone" suppliers with niche markets in the horizontal markets. They usually have large geographic regions to supply. Examples include: antique light fixture chandelier manufacturer, marble tub manufacturer, etc.
All Tiers are generally needed to completely satisfy the 0 Tier. It is possible that so;aae far removed tiers can be temporarily deferred and/or partially "satisfied" (i.e. contacted directly) by the 0 Tier. Eventually all tiers will be needed.
. Module - An element of discrete, stand alone product or service that can be fragmented away from within the remaining bid package. For example: equipment purchased and delivered from a unique source or a specialized trade like landscaping.
Bid - The term includes not only a bid, but also a "quote" or "price". The word "quote" or "price" connotes less complexity for the provision of goods and services
than the term "bid".
The system is capable of serving, at any step, any number of Tiers (n Tiers), any number of modules (n modules), any number of suppliers (n suppliers), any number of quaifying criteria (n qualifying criteria), in any country in the world (n countries) and any translatable language (n language).
Considering the drawings, wherein like reference numerals denote like parts throughout the various drawing figures, reference numeral 10 is directed to the preferred embodiment of the system according to the present invention.
Figures 1A, IB and 1C show an illustrative overview of a preferred embodiment of the system of the invention.
Starting with figure iA, a preferred embodiment of the present invention has the preparation step 12 of what is known in the art as a" A bid package is information conveying what a buyer or end user desire: ?.? a product or service. Within the bid package preparation step, the present invention initiates the system's internal checks and these checks are confirmed by the system. The system checks to assure that the buyer (or seller) is a registered entity with all payments in place for its ovm membership and for the services that it is requesting. The system checks to confirm that it can provide these services in the geographic region of the world. It confirms the languages (other than English) needed are available. It confirms the appropriate information necessary to "take a bid out to the marketplace/' e.g., opening and closing dates of bid, provision for addendums, etc. It sets up the privacy levels and security access for the buyers and sellers; e.gv buyers can access more information than sellers. The preferred embodiment progresses to the decision step 14 of whether or not there is a necessity to sequester the bid package into modules. If the bid package is not sequestered, then the process is to decide whether the bid package is to be outsourced or non-outsourced for bids, step 16.
If the bid package is non-outsourced, then the bid that will be received by the system will be a non-outsourced or in-house bid for the product or service, step 18, and tlds bid will be the bid for the bid package that is processed and reported, step 20- If the b:d package is to be outsourced, then a search is conducted for potential bidders that are going to be outsourced suppliers, step 22. The search for suppliers is achieved by a number of channels. The first channel is for the ultimate buyer, end user or user of the system of the present invention to select a number of known (and qualified) suppliers, i.e. suppliers that the buyer has personal knowledge of and thusly a supplier that the buyer has typically had previous course of dealings. The implication to the present invention is there is no need for prequalification of this type of supplier to a particular buyer. A second channel defines an exchange to review and select a number of suppliers. A third channel is for the user to utilize the present invention's ability to permit matching products or services with suppliers thereof via categories of businesses, NAICS or SIC: codes and/or key word matching from descriptions that were given by suppliers v/hen the suppliers registered with the system of the present iavention. A fourth channel is suppliers that are found by announcements sent to and received from related product or service suppliers. Therefore, a buyer or user of the present invention's system may utilize as many as four channels to gather a list of suppliers for the products or services that the buyer or user wishes to solicit, using the bid package.
The prequaMcation process, step 24, culls the supplier list Within the
prequalification process each supplier within the list is a statistical weight based
on a number of factors. The factors included, but are not the type of license
held by the-supplier; amount of insurance and/or amount of bonding
capacity;" financial condition; creditworthiness; length of years in business; number of
in-house employees; number of subcontract staff; outstaying lawsuits; reference
contracts; distance of operation base to a worksite; ser personnel; maintenance
shops; and additional criteria that are within the scope and spirit of any industry that
the system of the present invention is being utilized as a means to achieve a responsible
cind qualified bid for given bid package. Also, responses to the above can both be
displayed as submitted or processed as a weighted score and reported separately. The
result from the prequalification process is a listing of screened and prequalified
potential bidders that could become the suppliers for the contents of the bid package.
The next step, step 26, is the distribution of the bid package to the prequalified potential bidders (supplies) for the contents within the bid package. The distribution may be carried out electronically, e.g. e-mail, and/or through a printer that has the capability of making multiple renditions of the bid package. Upon completion of distribution, copies of the bid package will be within the confines of each prequalified potential bidder (supplier) in order to make a bid on the contents within the bid package.
At the next step of the process, step 28a-28d, the bid package has been received by multiple suppliers and is being processed to formulate a bid and to return the bid to the sequential tier by a given date and time. The use of'four suppliers A-D within figure IB should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention, but rather as 2in illustration to aid those: skilled in the art to understand the invention. Again, the system of the present invention is capable of serving, at any step, any number of: tiers (n tiers); modules (n modules); suppliers (n suppliers); qualifying criteria (n qualifying criteria); in any country (n countries) and any translatable language (n languages). Within this illustrative example, suppliers B, C and D decide to make respective bids on the bid package without die need nor desire to outsource any part of the bid package. their respective bids are received, gathered and processed, step 30, and combined, step with any other bids from any other bid sources; e.g. through an in-house bid, step 18, to process and report the results of all bids from one or more sources.
Seasonally, supplier A has decided to outsource at least part of the bid package to its tier or tiers of suppliers. Thus, begins the iterative process where the supplier forwithin
the system of the present invention. This supplier A basically proceeds throtlgtt an analogous process that the previous buyer utilized with the system of the present invention. The supplier is now a buyer and utilizes an analo -JMH process of deciding whether or for potential suppliers is warranted; if then proceeds with a search following the four channels outlined supra. Upon the attainment of a listing, this supplier subjects the listing to the prequalification process. After the listing has been culled to a list of prequalified potential suppliers, the next step is distributing the bid package to the prequalified potential suppliers which now have become prequalified potential bidders (for example, suppliers A'-D' not shown). Each supplier would receive and process the bid package and formulate and return a bid as noted by 31.
The bid each supplier made would then be received and processed by the system and then all bids whether outsourced or non-outsourced would be combined and reported as results from one or more sources which would lead to the ultimate user or buyer able to choose one bid that met the criteria of the bid package. The result of the choice leads to a formation of contract between the buyer(s) and supplier(s).
It is likely this process leads to an increase in savings to the buyer(s) because of the increase in competitive bids due first to the variety of potential bidding sources provided by the system and second the ability of a buyer to go directly to the source of products or services. This avoids the incremental mark-ups associated in going through the normal chain, of buyer and supplier of goods and services, e.g. the rn.anufacturer-to-distributor-to-wholesaler-to--retail-to-buyer chain. In other words, there is an elimination of middleman "mark-up" - pass through without added value. The suppliers also benefit because of the increase in exposure they receive by being registered with the system of the present invention. It also allows suppliers to remain specialized and efficient.
Back to viewing figure 1 A, if the entity at the 0 Tier decided that the bid package needed to be sequestered into modules, then the procession through the present invention would proceed to the illustrations within figure 1C.
In figure 1C, the system of the present invention sequesters the bid package into N bid modules. For example and not to be construed as limiting the scope of the Invention, N equals 5. In this example the party receiving or preparing the bid package decides to sequester the bid package into a plurality of five bid modules. The sequestration can be done at and by the buyer and/or bid package preparer. Alternatively, the sequestration can be done by a preferred embodiment of the system at the request of a buyer or bid package preparer. In the illustrative example for a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the bid package is fragmentized into
five modules, step 32. This illustrative model of a preferred embodiment has modularized the bid package into four outsource bid modules and one in-house or non-outsourced bid module. With respect to the non-outsourced bid module, that module is processed by the party receiving the bid package cither as a whole or in modular or fragmentized form and an in-house bid is assigned to that module, step 42. In the instance illustrative case, bid module 5 is assigned an in-house bid. The in-house bid is then, in step 50, received, processed and also stored awaiting the bids for all other modules that are outsourced. In step 34, the system of the present invention utilizes four channels to search for potential bidders for each of the outsourced modules 1-4 The four channels are as follows. A first channel is the buyer's or user's own personal knowledge of suppliers that'could potentially bid on the bid package. A second channel is the utilization of an exchiinge to review and select a number of suppliers. A third channel is for the user to utilize the present invention's ability to permit matching products or services with suppliers thereof via categories of businesses, NAICS or SIC codes and/or key word matching from descriptions that were given by suppliers when the suppliers registered with the system of the present invention. A fourth channel is suppliers that are found by announcements sent and/or received from related products or services. Therefore, .a buyer or user of the present invention's system may utilize as many as four channels to gather a list of suppliers for the products or services for each. oi: the modules that the buyer or user wishes to acquire from the bid package.
The prequalification process, step 36, culls the supplier list Within the p:*equalification process each supplier within the list is given a statistical weight based o:n a number of factors that will certify that live criteria for such module (e.g. as to equipment, certification and seller accreditation) has been met. In other words, that module is finished being processed. The factors included, but are not limited to, the type of license held by the supplier; the type of product or service desired to be acquired; years of production of product or performance of service that the supplier has; whether a product has undergone UL or ETL testing and whether it has been rated; amount of product or liability insurance and/or indemnification; amount of bonding capacity; financial condition; creditworthiness; sales volume; product warranty; years in business; number of in-house employees; number of subcontract staff; outstanding lawsuits'; reference contacts; distance of operation base to a worksite; service personnel; maintenance shops; location of manufacturing plant or factory or assembly plant; distributor source; ability to meet seismic criteria for location; and additional criteria that are within the scope and spirit of any industry that the system of the present invention is being utilized as a means to achieve a bid for given bid
■ package. Also, responses to the above can both be displayed as submitted or processed as a weighted score and reported separately. The result from the prequalification process is a listing to screened and prequalified potential bidders that could become the suppliers for the contents of the.bid paekage.
The next step, step 38, is the distribution of the bid modules to the prequalified potential bidders (suppliers) for the contents within each bid module. The distribution may be carried out -electronically, e.g. e-mail, and/or through a printer that has the capability of making multiple renditions of each bid module. Upon completion of distribution, copies of the bid modules will be within the confines of each prequalified potential bidder (supplier) in order to make a bid on the contents within the bid module.
Some suppliers maybe able only to make bids on one module while other suppliers maybe able to make bids on a set of modules because they have the capacity to handle the workload or are going to outsource certain modules while retaining other modules. The present invention can be utilized iteratively with respect to the suppliers that are bidding on one or more modules. The suppliers become buyers and are able to fragmentize a module each receives into sub-modules thus further fragmentizing and modularizing the bid package into smaller and smaller modules in order to get down to, if nooooary, individualine components.
At the next step of the process, step 40a-40d, the bid modules have been received by the suppliers and are being processed to formulate a bid for return to their respective bid to the N-l tier by a given date and time. The use of four suppliers A-D within figure IB should noi: be construed as limiting the scope of the invention, but rather as an illustration to aid those skilled in the art to understand the invention. Within this illustrative example, suppliers B, C and D decide to make respective bids on the.1 bid package without the need nor desire to outsource any part of the bid package. Their respective bids are received, gathered and processed, step 44, and combined, step 50, with any other bids from any other bid sources; e.g. through an in-house bid, step 42, to process and report the results of all bids from one or more sources.
Figure 2 provides an illustrative example of a preferred embodiment utilizing the precepts of the present invention in order to maximize cost effectiveness by the avoidance of "middlemen's mark-up" with limited or no "added value", had the no:rmal course of business dealing through the normal channels transpired between the ultimate beneficiary of a product or service and the original supplier of the product or service. In this example, tier 0 is the buyer and/or end user (buyer/user) of the system. The particular buyer/user has itself prepared a bid package, in which the
system of the present invention facilitates placement of the bid package into the system. Alternatively, the buyer/user can provide informationand instructions to the system whereby the system itself prepares a bid package for receipt into the system and if necessary of the bid package into modules within or without the system of the present invention. In this example the buyer/user decides that the bid package needs to be sequestered ini;o modules, particularly, four modules
The buyer /user, which is at tier 0, has the system of the present invention outsource the module 1 directly to a known supplier at tier 4 without searching or pxequalifying this supplier, Utilization of the system of the present invention in this instance has saved the buyer/user a sum of money because the buyer/user has avoided the aggregated mark up of the product or service had the buyer went through the traditional and/or noimal course of business of that particular industry. For example in the building industry, the normal course of business would have been a buyer who wants a building constructed on a particular tract of land contacting a builder or project construction manager (1st tier supplier), who would contact a general. contractor (2nd tier supplier) who would contact a subcontractor (3rd tier supplier) who would contact a "stand-alone" supplier (4th tier supplier). As the product or service is delivered up through the tiers each supplier would add on a mark-up to the original pn.ee of the product or service received from its supplier. Another example utilizing the system of the present invention to go directly to a supplier tier (e.g. 4th tier supplier, "stand-alone" supplier), that: actually supplies the product or Service would be a home owner wanting a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system for their new or existing home. The home owner would be considered at the 0 tier buyer/user of the system. The home owner has prepared a bid package comprising a single sheet of paper and enters it into the system or provides the system with information and the system prepares the bid package. In this case, the home owner taows of a distributor (4th tier supplier) of the HVAC equipment that is desired. That distributor receives the bid package or a module thereof containing the information necessary for the distributor to process the information and formulate a bid for the particular equipment needed to fulfill the requirements of the bid package or a module thereof. The distributor's bid (4th tier supplier) is then sent directly to the home owner (0 tier buyer). The home owner has received substantial savings by going through the system of the present invention, because under the normal course of business a home owner desiring a new HVAC- unit would have to contact a mechanical contractor that supplies and installs HVAC equipment and that company would contact the HVAC
equipment distributor. The distributor would sell the equipment to the company at a wholesale price. In turn, the company would sell the equipment to the home owner at e retail price. By avoiding this traditional and/or normal of business, the home owner receivebenefit of the difference between the wholesale and retail price minus the overhead of utilizing the system of the present invention-Continuing with the example within figure 2, the 0 tier buyer/user instructs the system of the present invention to outsource module 2 directly to a'tier 5 supplier. Again, no search, prequalification screening or distribution are needed because the 0 thr buyer/user has gone directly to the supplier that could provide the product or service directly to the buyer/user. In this case, the 5th tier supplier decides that what product or service (the outsourced module 2) that the buyer/user has requested a bid upon needs to be further sequestered into modules, e.g. submodules 5A, 5B, 5C and 5D with submodule 5A being able to be done in-house, while submodules 5B, 5C and 5D are outsourced for competitive bids. Upon receipt of competitive bids, all submodules at the 5th tier are combined for a single 5th tier bid that becomes the module 2 bid and that bid is sent back to tier 0. Thus, the buyer/user at tier 0 has received a bid for module 2 at a savings vis-a-vis without going through the "traditional" competitive bidding process which would entail the buyer going to a supplier and that supplier going to a "stand-alone" supplier and so on
For module 3, the buyer/user at tier 0 outsources module 3 to the next sequential tier, 1st tier suppliers. In this case, the buyer/user of the system utilizes the appropriate searches available, prequalification screening and distribution as outlined supra. The 1st tier supplier receives the module 3 and sequesters it into submodules 3A, 3B, 3C and 3D. The 1st tier supplier decides to keep submodule(s) for an in-house bid and outsource the reminder submodule(s). For example, module 3D is sent to a 2nd tier supplier for further bids after the 1st supplier used the appropriate searches, pre qualifications and distribution that the system of the present invention has to offer a buj'er/user. The process outlined supra repeats for Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers respectively; thus, making the 1st tier supplier a buyer for suppliers at tier 2, while the supplier at tier 2 becomes a buyer to tier 3. Each tier's supplier processes and bids to the above tier in sequence until a combined bid is received at the 1st tier consisting of 1st tier supplier's in-house bid and bids from Tier 2 and Tier 3. This bid is then forwarded
to fc.er 0.
At tier 0, the bids for each module (modules A, B, C & D) are received and finally combined from Tier 1 and Tier 4 and Tier 5 for a final bid to tier 0 who is the ultimate
beneficiary of the process that the system undertakes to produce the savings to the
buyers/users of the system.
The system in capable of processing any number of sequestering at any
Jier into any number (n) of modules- .the system them can process the modular and
Tiers in any combination. It combines the received bids in whatever stage either out processes it upstream to the ultimate beneficiary as
The following is an illustrative example utilizing the instant invention.
Automated process for procurement and resource management
This system can function either as a stand alone system or can be inserted (integrated) as an ASP for a &ms existing process.
The system consists of:
Buyers are capable of searching multiple industries and multiple sectors. These buyers enter the GRAND CENTRAL EXCHANGE on the world wide web. This web site provides a number of general features that are of interest to the buyer as an individual and as a purchaser.
More specifically the buyer can access a specific industry exchange title example' Recreational Goods.com or Apparel Products.com or Mining-Minerals-Ores.com.
Within the specific site, the buyer can access specific supplies hosted within overall, industry-specific exchange.
Thus the buyer can browse within the buyer's industry and sector and gain information that will be helpful in deciding the buyer's specific needs. The buyer can mark the buyer's favorite suppliers for future reference. Additional methods of search can take the buyer to "linked suppliers" that are not fully represented within the industry exchange or whose; web site and/or catalog is not hosted at our industry exchange.
The buyer composes a "requisition" or a "bid package" from the information
2. Request for Quotes, Prices or Bids
The buyer enters the system and registers as a qualified buyer. The system checks to assure that the buyer is a bona fide entity with all payments in place for buyer's own membership and for the services that the buyer is requesting.
' The system checks to confirm that it can provide the service in the geographic region of the world. It confirms the languages needed (other than English) are
available. rms that the appropriate information to "take a bid to the mcirketplace are in place example: open and closing dates of bids, provisions for addendums, provisions for 'additive alternative" and "deductive alternatives" etc. The system sets up the priyacy levels and access for the buyer and the sellers.
The buyer as several choice regarding the member of sellers, search for the sellers, prequalifing the sellers, sequestering the bid package etc,
3. Purchase Order (or Contract) Generation Between Buyer and Seller
Once the buyer has received the bids (quotes or process) and is satisfied that the bid is qualified, responsive responsible, then the buyer announces the decision to any and/or all bidders.
The buyer then uses the contents of the provisions bid package with or without modifications and combines it with its prepared "front end" documents. The full package is transmitted back and fourth in a secure environment till each party is satisfied and affixes its electronic signature to indicate acceptance.
This final contract and/or purchase order is also printed and transmitted in hardcopy form via the established distribution chain print shop,
4. Payment Processing Between Buyer and Seller
The buyer and seller have access to multiple payment methods. These include but not limited to:
3. Lines of Credit, Letfcirs of Credit
4. Overseas funds transfer and trust accounts
5. Credit Cards
The buyer and seller have the capability through our system to set up a program, payment schedule as each module of the goods and/or service is received and acknowledged.
The payment system maintains a system of continues checks and balances to assure trust. The system is secure with multiple levels of security.
5. Follow up to Delivery Management
The system allows for a delivery schedule that the seller provides to the buyer. The delivery schedule with its terms and conditions, liquidated damages etc. is a separate document that is agreed upon concurrent with the purchase order and/or contract mentioned earlier.
The system manages the schedule and keeps all parties rmed of the program
of delivery. Concurrently it interfaces with the payment method and program
payments schedule agreed upon in the purchase order and/o;; contract.
The system allows the, buyer. hold a percentage of retention of payment at
each program milestone.
Final payment is released from the buyer to the seller upon successful delivery
of the goods and services and all its associated terms and conditions.
The buyer has the capability of reviewing the entire document as a report on the
process of procurement for each item. This management tool is then used to
streamline each successive procurement, followed through with final contract closure.
Mechanics to Marage Automated Process for needs assessment and
management, Resource Management, procurement and contract management, will be
accomplished through architecture (software) developed as frontend and backend.
A Front End Architecture.
Al Consists of a number of generic web sites that invoke a specific category
of buyer, example: Federal Bids.com, City-Bidsxom, Procurement Bids.com, etc.
These will be designated as Inner Core horizontal markets of registered domain
Al Consists of a number of "buyer-specific" web sites that invoke a specific category of buyer.
These will be designated as Outer Core horizontal i^ ...■: its of registered domain names:
A3 Consists of a number of seller specific web sites that invoke a specific category of sellers. Some of these sellers can also be buyers.
These will be designated as Vertical Markets (or &:-\6vmges), oi registered
Within A3 above, is a central web site called the Grand Central Exchange.com.
These exchanges are developed as communities that provide several features su<:h as general information import rules and regulations an ability to buy-sell etc.> An independent web site represents each of the domain names- This is "branded as unique and free standing -entity". There is a total of 68 horizontal market web sites. Buyers generally use Al and A2.
A3 is also made up of independent web sites represented by its respective domain names and is "branded as unique and free standing entity". There is a total of 63 exchanges. Sellers generally use A3.
All web sites can communicate internally in a horizontal and vertical manner. Tb>y facilitate multiple trctnsactions concurrently and gather statistical data for additional use.
Buyers meet sellers and sellers meet buyers through multiple channels and yet all transactions are controlled and different levels of payments are charged for different services.
Figure 4 shows the users' perceptions when utilizing the present invention. Us(?rs are buyers and sellers utilizing the present invention. Within figure 4 are multiple methods of commiinications and distribution between buyers and sellers as they relate to the web sites indicated in Al, A2 and A3. Websites that are in Al and A2 are generally used by buyers. However, these websites can also be used by sellers. Websites that fall into A3 are generally vised by sellers, but can also be used by buyers.
For example, a buyer in an A2 outer core website perceives a direct transaction with a seller at an A3 website as shown by the virtual link 700. Likewise, a buyer in an A2 outer core website perceives a transaction with multiple sellers in A3 websites as shewn with virtual links 710. While virtual links 720 show a seller in an A3 website perceives a transaction with multiple buyers in Al and A2 websites.
Also, within the scope of the present invention a buyer in an A2 website porceives in conducting a multiple tiered transactions with sellers in A3 websites, shown by virtual links 730. Here the sellers become buyers for the nex*. lower tier. Also, one bid packagecanbe sequestered into modules for several sellers in A3 websites. The transactions can have multiple tiers and multipl Transactions can be routed through the. central sites fully or in part Virtual link shows the perceptions of an ultimate buyer and an ultimate seller ccr/lucting a transaction tli rough intermediary buyers and sellers.
A buyer in an Al website can conduct a transaction with the central site as shown by link 750. Likewise, a buyer in an A2 website can conduct a transaction with the central site shown by link 760, Moreover, a seller in an AH website conducts a tr msaction with a main exchange as shown in link 780.
In addition, revenue is generated by a number of ways including, subscriptions, links, referrals, advertisements, percentage of commission of transaction estimate etc. B. Backend Architecture
The backend architecture is arranged so that fhe web sites uie standardized for content and presentation at a basic level and further modified to serve a specific "f lavor" of the industry. Branding is separate and unique for each of the 131 sites.
A common backend software is used with minor modifications since each site is serving the same focused "competitive buy-sell and follow-up" arrangements.
As shown in figure 5, part of the backend architecture is a relational database 800. A user-buyer 1100 would send-in their RFPs or JRFQs as shown by 900. The computer system 1000 hosting the relational database would divide the RFP or RFQ into module for appropriate placement in the database and assign an index to each module that relates like modules. For example, RFP/Q1, modi and RFP/Q2, mod2, are related and are assigned index il. A user-seller interested in selling goods or services tt rough the system of the present invention would have already registered themselves as a seller and during the registration process would have selected what particular indices the seller wishes to receive RFPs or RFQs. The system of the present invention stoies the indices each user-seller has registered for in a registration file 850. The user-seller could modify which indices it wishes to receive modules in at a later date. Thus, •when a user-seller gains access to the system of the present invention, the system sends those jobs, modules (modi, mod2, etc.), that are associated with the particular indices the user-seller wishes to see. For example, user-seller 1200 wishes to see only those jcbs that are associated with indices il and i5 which would be KFP/Q1, modi and mod4. While user-seller 1400 which would be RFP/Q2, modi and RFP/Qn, modi.
Various facets of the instant invention are used in ths illustration depicted by Figure 3. The interrelationship of the facets are described by the two-way arrowheads on both ends of a path. The single arrowhead depicts a sequential path between facets. facets canfunctioneither as a stand alone system (integrated) zs an ASP (applications service provider) offered unit to a firm's existing process, The facet (or facets) can also be offered as a discrete package to be inserted in an organizations, "enterprise software system" which is an overall software designed to manage all the businesses processes. As noted in Figute 3 the system includes four assemblies:
200 a) Needs assessment and management; 200 b) Resource management; 200 c) Procurement; and 200 d) Contract management.
The various facets are described as follows:
In Step 300, the end user and/or ultimate beneficiary identifies a need. This facet enters the system in its preliminary form and is capable of being discussed between various individuals in different parts of an organization.
In step 320, this facet combines the decisions made in step 300 and presents the option of meeting the previously - decided - need, to be fulfilled in-house (non outsourced), or outsourced. This facet has the capability to forward the "outsourced ne^d-fulfillment" package to the next facet described in step 340.
In step 340, this facet processes the input from step 320 above and performs preliminary research and design for the need. It gives the need a form. This could be a preliminary description with or without figures, a preliminary time schedule and a preliminary cost-estimate. To accomplish its functions, this facet interacts with the facet described in step 420 (Requisitioning) as well as the facet described in step 680 (Statistical Data Management). The package created by this'facet is forwarded to the next facet described in step 360.
In step 360, the input from step 340 is received and processed in this facet. This facet reviews, checks for "needs justifications", compares to the available budget - if any, forwards it to the appropriate budget approval level of authority for review - and funding. If a budget is not available then the package is sent along-with the cost estimates, for an appropriation of funding for the package. Once the preliminary description of the need, the time schedules and budgets are justified and appropriated, the package is sent to the next facet described in step 380.
In step 380, the input from step 360 is received and processed to further expand upon (if needed), and design the full details (if needed), to create a package capable of being bid. This package may range from a simple description of the needs (described in in words and/or diagrams, to a detailed design drawings and specifications. This facet creates the documents referred as u bid-package, as it is capable of being bid (and/or proceed and/or quoted). This step also submits the package for a decision which is described in the next step 390,
In step 390, this facet takes the input from the step 380 and submits it to a final approval from the end user and/or final beneficiary. The end user and/or final beneficiary also chooses if the bid package shall be procured in-house or out-sources. If the decision is to procure in-house then this facet submits the bid package to the facet described in step 300. If the decision is to outsource the bid package, then the bid package is submitted to the next facet described in step 400.
In step 400, this facet takes the input from step 390 and processes it for the end-user and/or beneficiary now referred as a buyer at Tier 0. This buyer registers with the system. The system accepts the bid package as a "job". The system checks to assure that the buyer is a registered entity with all payments in place for its own membership and for the services that it is requesting. The system checks to confirm that it can provide these services in the geographic region of the world. It confirms the languages (other than English) needed are available. It confirms the appropriate information necessary to, "take a bid out to the marketplace," e.g., opening and closing dates of bid, provisions for addendums, etc. It sets up the privacy levels and security access. The system then forwards the bid package to the next facet which is described in the step
In step 420, this facet is capable of searching multiple industries and multiple
scc.ors within industries. Buyers may enter either one central site, "Grand Central Exchange", on the world wide web (or directly through to an exchange of choice on the world wide web). This web site provides a number, of general features that are of interest to the buyer as an individual and as a purchaser.
More specifically the buyer can access a specific industry exchange titled for example "Recreational Goods.com or Apparel Products.com or Mining-Minerals-
Within the specific site, the buyer can access specific suppliers hosted within the
overall, industry-specific exchange.
Thus the buyer can browse within the buyer's industry.and sector and gain information that will be helpiul in deciding the buyer's specific needs. The buyer can
mark the buyer's favorite suppliers for future reference. Additional methods of search can taJke the buyer to "linked suppliers" that are not fully represented within the industry exchange or whose web site and/or catalog is not hosted at our system's exchange.
In addition this facet provides the search for potential suppliers by various criteria e.g., keyword search, NA1CS codes etc. This facet can
In step 460, this facet is capable of distributing fee bid package to fee various categories of suppliers, screened and assembled in steps 420 and 440 above. The distribution is either in electronic or physical hard copy form. The hard copy form is created by sending an electronic version and/or "original document" version to a print shop or a printer. The printer/print shop forwards fee bid package to die screened and prequalified suppliers. The bid package is then sent to fee next facet described in step 500.
In step 500, this facet is capable of getting competitive bids from multiple suppliers at multiple tiers. Each supplier is capable of bidding a module or group of modules sequestered from fee bid package. This facet is capable of selectively receiving bicis on multiple modules from selective suppliers. The facet is capable of combining fee bids received at various tiers from a variety of suppliers. This facet processes, combines and reports the results of all bids from one or more sources. The buyer takes this result tmder advisement and forwards fee results to fee next facet described in step 600.
In step 600, this facet is capable of evaluating fee results of fee bids received in step 500. In addition to the pricing, this facet determines if the bid is "responsive" and "responsible". These two items are quantified by a set of criteria items feat fee buyer can assign. Each criteria item can also be assigned a weighting factor and score points. This facet can create a weighted score or simply an "acceptable", non-acceptable" result. Criteria examples are: The supplier has predetermined number of years of specific experience, the supplier has predetermined number of people on staff available to fulfill
This bid, the supplier meets any unique federal government or state government requirements, the suppliers' references have responded with (excellent, good, poor) responses, etc.
This evaluation combined with the bid (pricing) result from slep 500 "lowest priced, most responsive and most responsible bid". The buyer may further proceed to the next facet described in step 620-
In step 620, this facet facilitates negotiations between buyer and seller based upon the earlier results from steps 500 and 600. Any special exceptions taken by the seller regarding his product, service, pricing, schedule or buyer-imposed conditions are resolved and agreed upon. This step facilitates the buyer to issue a contract and/oi purchase order based on heretofore agreements. The completion of this step prompts the next step 640 to begin.
In step 640, this facet facilitates the implementation of the contract and/or purchase order agreements. It is capable of scheduling milestones for scheduled delivery of product and/or services. These milestones also monitor and prompt progress payments/' as milestones are reached and the agreed-upon deliveries are accepted. This facet forwards the accumulated system data to the next step 660 as the product/services approach "substantial completion" status, determined by the buyer.
In step 660, this facet facilitates the closure of the transaction. The buyer and seller exchange information regarding final delivery of the product/services. Pinal acceptance is approved by fhe buyer upon successful delivery of all products/services, tasting, warranties, certifications, "punch-list" etc., and all documentations to the satisfaction of the buyer. The system then releases the final payment to the seller and considers the transaction "closed". All information is forwarded to the next step 680.
In step 680, this facet receives information from step 660 and processes it It stores analyzes and manages all information. This facet is capable of interacting with any or all facets concurrently. As such this facet provides additional information at any point for evaluation, comparison, information.
Moreover, having thus described the invention, it should be apparent that numerous structural modifications and adaptations may be resorted to without departing from the scope and fair meaning of the instant invention as set forth hereinabove and as described hereinbelow by the claims.
Claim 1 - A process for competitive bidding comprising:
sequestering a bid package into further sequestering the modules into in- and. at least one outsourced module, whereby the in-house module receives an vhouse bid;
releasing the a.t least one outsourced module for at feast one outsourced bid;
receiving said at least one outsourced bid for the at least one outsourced module;
preparing a bid from the combining of the in-house and outsourced bid. Claim 2 - The process of claim 1 wherein after said sequestering steps:
searching for potential suppliers for the at least one outsourced module; prequalifying the potential suppliers by a plurality factors that generate a statistical weight to each potential supplier;
selecting a set of prequalified potential supplier base on the statistical ■weight attached to each potential supplier; and
distributing the outsourced modules to each prequalifed potential supplier' within the set
Claim 3 - The process of claim 2 further including the step of;
presenting the bid as well as any additive alternatives or deductive alternatives; and
reporting the bid in a plurality of formats. Claim 4 - The process of claim 3 further including the step of:
transmitting 1he bid to a sequential buyer. Claim 5 - The process of claim 4 wherein the step of releasing at least one bid farther includes:
further sequestering the at least one outsourced modules into competitive and non-competitive modules;
releasing the competitive modules for competitive bids; retaining the non-competitive modules for non-competitive bids; and receiving said competitive and non-competitive bids for competitive and non-competitive outsourced modules.
Claim 6 - The process of claim 5 wherein the step of preparing the bid package further includes:
aggregating said competitive and non-competitive bids into the bid. Claim 7 - The process of claim 6 wherein the process is repeated until a final bid is aggregated from all of the bids.
Claim 8 - A proces bidding comprising:
dividing a project into a plurality of module whereby for each module, at least one N tier buyer, where N is greater than or equal to zero, may choose at least one of;
• a) keeping said module, thus making an in-house bid for said ;.module;
b) outsourcing said module to be competitively bidded at an N + 1 titer, thus having a competitive bid for said module; or
c) outsourcing said module to an N + P tier, whare P is greater than zero and the sum of N + P is greater than or equal to the sum of N t-1, thus having an outsourced bid for said module.
Claim 9 - The process of claim 8 wherein steps (a), (b) or (c) are repeated until all of the modules have bids attached to them.
Claim 10 - The process of claim 9 further including the step of:
collecting the in-house, competitive and outsourced bids for each module. Claim 11 - The process of claim 10 further including the step of:
presenting a bid to the at least one N tier buyer. Claim 12 - A system for competitive bidding comprising:
means to facilitate the sequestration of a bid package into modules; means to facilitate the decision which, if any, modules stay in-house for the devising of an in-house bid;
means to facilitate the decision which, if any, modules to outsource for a competitive bidding process;
means for facilitating the reception of a noncompetitive bid for any module not competitively bidded on from an outsourced supplier;
means for receiving competitive bids for modules not receiving in-house bids or outsourced bids;
means for shimming the in-house, competitive and noncompetitive bids
for the modules; and
means for presenting a bid from the sum of the bids for the modules. Claim 13 - A process for competitive bidding comprising:
sequestering the project into a plurality of modules for bidding;
further sequestering the modules into in-house and outsourced modules;
releasing the outsourced modules for at least one outsourced uiu.,
receiving said at least one outsourced bid for said outsourced module; and
preparing a bid from the combining of in-house and outsourced modules.
Claim 14 competitive bidding comprising:
means for processing a bid package;
means for sequestering the bid package into a plurality of modules; means for further sequestering the modules into in-house and outsourced modules;
means for releasing the outsourced modules for at least one outsourced bid;
means for receiving said at least one outsourced bid for said outsourced module;
means for preparing a bid from the combining of in-house and outsourced modules; and
a display that reports the bid in a plurality of formats. Claim 15 - The system of claim 14 further including:
means for transmitting the bid to a sequential buyer. Claim 16 - The system of claim 15 wherein the means for releasing at least one bid further includes:
means for further sequestering the outsourced modules into competitive and non-competitive modules;
means for releasing the competitive modules for competitive bids; means for retaining the non-competitive modules for non-competitive bids; and
means for receiving said competitive and non-competitive bids for competitive and non-competitive outsourced modules.
Claim 17 - The system of claim 16 wherein the means of preparing the bid
package further includes:
means for aggregating said competitive and non-competitive bids into the
Claim 18 - The system of claim 17 further includes:
means to cycle until a final bid is aggregated from all of the bids.
Claim 19 - A system for competitive bidding comprising:
means to sequester the project into a plurality of modules for bidding; means to further sequestering the modules into in-house and outsourced
means to release the outsourced modules for at least one outsourced bid; means to receive said at least one outsourced bid for said outsourced module; and
means to prepare a bid from the. and outsourced modules. Claim 20 - A system of qualifying suppliers for a project to be competitively
means for containing a set of criteria;
means for comparing a potential supplier to the set;
means for assessing a statistical weight to each potential supplier based on the comparison to the set of criteria; and
means for sequestering those potential suppliers that at least meet a
threshold statistical weight into a suppliers set.
Claim 21 - A system for the elimination of an increase in price without added
value for at least one good or service being provided by a pass-through supplier
means to permit a user to search for a source supplier for the good or
means to permit the user to go directly to the source of the good or service, instead of the pass-through supplier.
Claim 22 - A competitive bidding system comprising:
means to confirm a buyer or seller is a registered entity with the system;
means to veirify payments are in place for the registered entity's requested service;
means to check that the system can provide the requested service in the
desired geographical region;
means to confirm all languages needed to complete the requested service
are available; and
means to verify all information to release the requested service is present. Claim 23 - The competitive bidding system of claim 22 further comprising:
means for security whereby for a given requested service buyers can access more information than sellers.
Claim 24 - The competitive bidding system of claim 23 wherein the information at least includes: open and closing dates for bids and any addendums.
Claim 25 - A needs assessment, resource management, procurement and contracts management system comprising, in combination:
a means to assess at least one end user need;
a means to manage resources for facilitating fulfillment of the end user
a means to procure at least one of from the resources tD fulfill the end user need; and
a means to manage at least one contract between the resources used to procure said at least one of goods and services and the end user need.
Claim 26 - The system of claim 25 wherein said means to assess includes:
means for providing preliminary research for designing, installation, cost estimates, and funding requests in place;
means to create a bid package from the end user need and research. Claim 27 - The system of claim 26 wherein said means for providing: preliminary research includes:
means for requisitioning multiple suppliers through group of related documents, associated files, scripts and databases that is served up by a server on a wide area network
Claim 28 - The system of claim 27 wherein said means fcr requisitioning uses a means for statistical data management
Claim 29 - The system of claim 25 wherein said means to manage resources includes:
means to register procurement requests at a server on a wide area
means for requisitioning multiple suppliers through a group of related documents, associated files, scripts and databases that is served up by a server on a wide area network;
means to review and assess procurement;
means to screen and categorize potential suppliers;
means to prequalify potential suppliers with at least one of prior course of dealings and weighted score; and
means to distribute a bid package to said screened and prequalified
Claim 30 - The system of claim 29 wherein said means to procure includes:
a competitive bidding process. Claim 31 - The system of claim 30 wherein said means to manage contract
means for detailed bid evaluation for a responsive and responsible bid;
means for contract negotiations and agreements; means to issue contracts or purchase order;
means to schedule delivery of product and monitor progress of ^payments
means to finalize delivery of product or service, closure items and final payments.
means to provide statistical data management. Gaim 32 - An automated process for procurement and resource management comprising: rv;
requisitioning at least one of goods and services from searching multiple industries or market sectors;
composing a bid package from the information gleaned; . generating a contract or purchase order between a buyer and a seller frcm the bid package;
processing payment between the buyer and the seller; and managing the delivery schedule for the goods or services between the buyer and seller.
Claim 33 - A system to manage automated processes for procurement and resource management, comprising:
create generic web sites that invoke a specific category of buyers; create buyer specific web sites that invoke a specific category of buyers; create seller specific web sites that invoke a specific category of sellers; and wherein all web sites tire arranged so that the w
means to provide the appearance that a buyer at a website conducts a transaction directly with a seller at another website;
means to provide the appearance that a buyer at a website conducts a transaction directly with a plurality of sellers, wherein each seller is at a different website;
means to provide the appearance that a seller at a website conducts a transaction directly with a plurality of buyers, wherein each buyer is at a different website; and
means to provide the appearance that an ultimate buyer at a website
conducts a transaction directly with an ultimate seller at another website through at
least one intermediary seller and at least one intermediary buyer, wherein each
intermediary seller and intermediary buyer are-either at different websites or the same
Claim 35 - The system of claim 34 further comprising:
means to provide the appearance that a buyer at a website is conducting a multiple tiered transactions with sellers at different websites, wherein the sellers become next lower level buyers for other seller at other different websites; and
wherein a transaction can be sequestered into a plurality of smaller transactions for several different sellers at several different websites. Claim 36 - The system of claim 35 further comprising:
means to provide the appearance that at least one buyer and seller are
conducting a transaction with a central website.
|Indian Patent Application Number||IN/PCT/2002/2082/CHE|
|PG Journal Number||26/2007|
|Date of Filing||13-Dec-2002|
|Name of Patentee||KHALIDI, Tariq|
|Applicant Address||Suite 211, 2893 Sunrise Boulevard, Rancho Cordova, CA 95742.|
|PCT International Classification Number||H04L1/00|
|PCT International Application Number||PCT/US2001/014850|
|PCT International Filing date||2001-06-12|