“E-commerce” has become the buzzword of this century as businesses in every sector struggle to keep up with the bombardment of technological advances that become available literally at the touch of a button. Automation has come to virtually every aspect of our commercial endeavours from procurement, through production to inventory control, administration and delivery. In keeping with this trend, the construction and surety industries are prepared and ready for the use of technology to enhance the level of service provided to their clients and to streamline their administrative processes.
Electronic tenders are here with the promise of speed and efficiency. Gone are the days of last minute rushes, unreliable couriers and unexpected traffic jams on tender day.
The caveat is that you must be partnered with a broker who has adapted to these technological challenges and is ready and able to assist you in submitting your electronic bonds. Some owners are already requesting E-Bonds, and the trend is only going to continue. Construction Industry experts expect the majority of larger government entities will have fully adopted electronic tenders in the next couple of years.
Regardless of the system used, it is vitally important that the end-user trusts the process and is assured that the “document” received is as valid as any paper equivalent. In that regard any electronically generated document should meet three threshold criteria:
- Integrity of Content: the assurances that the document received is the true document executed and the content has not been changed or altered.
- Secure Access: restricting the access to the document to those authorized to view and/or download it.
- Verifiability/Enforceability: assurances that the document was properly executed by the parties identified.
There are a number of commercially available software programs capable of creating reliable and enforceable electronic bonds that meet the criteria of the Surety Association of Canada (SAC). You need to be sure that your broker has partnered with the right provider that has been approved by SAC. Remember, it isn’t your job to navigate the E-Bonding requirement. Your surety broker should be ahead of the curve and pro-active in assisting you with this important transition.