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Creating a BidTable template

BidTables allow a buyer to quickly solicit and evaluate projects with multiple bid items. The module also allows the ability to organize items into baskets, analyze price spread among vendors, and quickly generate order lists.

In order to use the functionality of a BidTable you must first create the Excel template that vendors will use to enter their responses into. This template should be created before the project goes 'live' - in other words, prior to listing the project. 

The first step to utilizing the BidTable functionality is creating a BidTable in your project.

1. BidTable Creation

To create a BidTable, click on the Create button under the BidTables section.


You will be taken to the BidTable creation wizard. Below you will see the standard default creation screen:


Note the default columns that Bonfire creates for every new BidTable (you can choose to edit or delete these):

Default Purchaser Columns 

  • #
  • Item
  • Quantity Required

Default Vendor Columns

  • Unit Price


Let's take a look at some sample data from a spreadsheet that we're looking to import into our BidTable. In this example we are buying some sports equipment; we have a list of 10 items (4 are hockey related, 6 are soccer related).

In the sample data below we've got some additional columns that we will need to add, and some column headings we will edit:

To begin, let's edit a couple of items, by clicking on the Actions button at the top right and selecting Edit BidTable:

You'll see the edit modal come up where we can update the BidTable name and update the Item Column to be called Description:


You'll also see the options to Allow No Bids - this allows you to allow vendors the option to select No Bid on some items. In this case, we'll allow that, since we may have vendors that will only offer hockey equipment and other who may only offer soccer equipment.

You can also toggle to determine if you'll accept Additional Responses. This provides a second sheet in the BidTable workbook that will let vendors input additional items that they believe align with your Project.

The last field/option on the bottom left of the screenshot above allows you to select your choice of the BidTable Currency from a drop-down menu. 

Next, we'll add the additional columns. To add these custom Purchaser columns, click on the Add Column dropdown and select Purchaser Column:

Note that at this time, you’ll be deciding whether or not your columns will be visible to or hidden from Vendors.

Hidden BidTable Columns can be used for analysis with values you do not want your Vendors to have access to.

Hidden BidTable Columns can come in handy in instances like using a hidden Purchaser Column to input the price you recently paid for a line item. This will allow for pricing analysis to be completed which could compare the price you paid last year vs the unit prices submitted by your Vendors.

As you're adding in columns you'll notice that Hidden Purchaser Columns and Purchaser Columns share the same heading and are ordered together. Hidden Calculated columns and Calculated columns are also grouped and ordered together in the table and share the same heading. Vendor Columns do not share the same heading as Vendor Value columns.

Hidden Vendor Value Columns are valuable if you need to apply discounts, administration fees, freight and import tax, etc, on a subset of items. These values are hidden from vendors and contribute to the final cost of the project pricing.

For more information about how to use Vendor Value columns, check out this article on How to Evaluate a Project with a BidTable using an Order List

The Add Purchaser Column dialogue box will pop up. Input the name of the column and the format you wish to define for the column (text/number/currency). The Order # dictates the order in which the columns are laid out within the BidTable. The columns can only be ordered within their respective groups (i.e Purchaser Columns, Vendor Columns, and Calculated Columns). You can also move directly to adding the next column by clicking the Create another check box at the bottom right:



We are going to go ahead here and add custom Purchaser columns for both "Manufacturer" and "Product Code".

Follow the same process to add the new Vendor Columns:


Your columns will now match your Excel spreadsheet:


2. Importing BidTable Data

Now that we've setup our columns as required based on our data, we're ready to Bulk Import our data from our spreadsheet into our Bonfire BidTable.

Click the Bulk Import button.

You can download a Bulk Import Template. This is helpful if you wish to work offline or have a large number of line items to manage. 

To download the template, simply click on Download Template in the Bulk Import pop-up.


When you're ready to upload your data, follow the Bulk Import steps. 

Step 1, copy and paste excel data (please carefully read the instructions defined for Step 1 as per below):

Ensure that if you're copying the headers from your Excel data, you check the box indicating that headers are in the data. 

Step 2 of the Bulk Import involves mapping the items you imported with the corresponding columns:


Click Import! 

After successfully mapping the data to the columns, the data will be displayed as follows:


3. Organizing Data into Baskets

Because our sample data contains a mix of hockey and soccer related data, we are going to create 2 different baskets to help separate the items. Click the Add Basket button and create one basket for each grouping.



Once we've created both a Hockey basket and a Soccer basket, we are ready to move our items to the corresponding baskets. Do this by simply checking off the checkbox for the items in question then click on Move to Basket (dropdown button) to assign to the proper one. 

In the screenshot below we have selected 4 items and we are going to move these to our Hockey basket:




We will then do the same for the remaining 6 items and assign them to the Soccer basket we created earlier. After we have done that, we will see the items are now displayed based on basket.


Our BidTable is now ready to be mapped!


4. Mapping BidTable as Requested Information

Now that our BidTable has been created we need to map (assign) it as Requested Information. Click on the Manage button under the Requested Information section then Add a Requested Bid Table dropdown to add the BidTable as shown below.

If you've already set up your Evaluation Groups, you can also map it to the correct Group:

This is what the Requested Information looks like after we've added our BidTable and mapped to the appropriate Evaluation Group(s):


If you wish to view a copy of what the BidTable Vendor Template looks like (again this is what the Vendor will be downloading and filling out), go to the BidTables section and click Actions button and Download:


Pictured below is a screenshot from our downloaded BidTable file. The Primary Responses tab/sheet is displayed.  The excel sheet is locked and the only fields that are editable are indicated by the darker blue column headings.



5. Editing a BidTable Template

You may Edit your BidTable template under the BidTable section by clicking on Actions and selecting Edit.


This will bring you back to the BidTable creation interface where you can make your desired changes.

If there are Work-In-Progress or Completed Submissions you will see the following warning:

Please note, if the change you're trying to make impacts an item that already has Vendor Responses, Order Lists or Notes associated, you will receive the following warning:


Notifications of any changes are not automatic. If your change requires action on the Vendor's part, we recommend issuing Public Notice for Vendors to download the updated template. 

If a Vendor is trying to upload an outdated template, they will receive an error message which prompts them to download the updated BidTable template:



If you would like to see more details from the Vendor's point-of-view with respects to filling out a BidTable template, please have a look at this article: How do I fill out a BidTable template?


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