Public Buyers

Peel Ports shares its experience of Mercell UK’s Complete Tender Management platform

Interview with Mark Hunter, Senior Sourcing Manager at Peel Ports



Peel Ports is the second largest port operator in the UK and each year, safely handles over 70 million tonnes of cargo from across the globe. Throughout terminals across the UK and Ireland they handle a wide range of commodities, manage short sea shipping lines, provide global port management consultancy services, run port centric warehouses, support renewable energy developments and specialise in ship repairs and fabrication. Because of the nature of the business they fall under the same regulations as the utilities sector.

A brief intro on you, your team and how long you have been using Mercell CTM and any overarching thoughts.

Mark Hunter, Senior Sourcing Manager at Peel Ports.

I’ve been with the company for 14 months and in my role I’m responsible for sourcing new suppliers and renewing contracts.

Prior to Peel Ports I worked in the utilities sector and had already used the CTM (Complete Tender Management) platform so I knew the system and how it was priced.

What made you choose Mercell?

When I joined Peel Ports, procurement was outsourced and they used a software which was not fit for purpose due to the various restrictions in terms of functionality.

We decided to bring procurement back in-house and looked at the software suite as well. We found the following shortcomings of the previous system limiting the effectiveness of our work:

  • Restricted file size (especially impeding when running construction tenders) 
  • No messaging system on the portal
  • No way to look at responses that came back
  • No integration with publishing portals like TED, Contracts Finder etc.
  • Could see responses before we should have

In addition to all the above, we have recently implemented SAP across the company and it was another reason why CTM was much more attractive compared to other systems.

What was your experience of the technical implementation process?

It went very well, mainly because I knew the system from before. The team at Mercell (at the time EU Supply) helped us understand the various system settings and I could also lean on my previous experience with defining the process templates so our working group could decide fairly quickly what was needed or not. Within a couple of days we had our system up and running and we haven’t really had to make significant changes since then.

What makes the platform so useful to you in your role?

One of the reasons why CTM was so high up on our list of potential eSourcing systems was the extent to which it is aligned with public regulations. This is noticeable in the format of the checklists, the process stages, the way you can lock down the tender before opening and the messaging feature. The software just complements the regulations.

Is the interface intuitive?

It was actually one of the reasons why we bought the system in the first place.

CTM had great buy in and we felt that even people that were less experienced in procurement could easily follow the procedure with the help of the checklists. Although users have less options in CTM than system administrators do, it actually makes it easier for them to use it as they are guided by the system and only see what’s relevant to them.

I like the ability to set up dummy suppliers which allows us to log in and see what suppliers see. This comes handy during the tendering process.

The test site is equally valuable; we use it to build practice configurations without having to do it all in the live environment before we actually do it for real.

What is your favourite feature?

I particularly like the messaging functionality and the audit trail that comes with it so I can see who sent what message and when.

”The primary reason I would recommend CTM is the balance between the functionality the system provides and how it is priced. CTM is a great value for money.’’

CTM was developed by procurement experts. Is this evident?

Absolutely, very much so. One example is the way it is integrated with the publishing sites (Contracts Finder, Find a Tender Service and TED). Another example is the large file size that CTM allows you to upload; it is something you just don’t see very regularly.

CTM also enables you to run dynamic purchasing aligned with regulations as much as possible, something I haven’t seen in any other systems before.

Moreover, CPV-codes are built into the system, yet another example that the system was developed by procurement experts with procurement professionals in mind.

Are there any other benefits of CTM you wish to highlight that make your/your teams’ jobs easier?

The way you upload via ‘drag and drop’ even folder structures makes my job easier. Another benefit of CTM is the ‘smart add’ feature to create questionnaires from documents.

Where do you see the Social Value add of using CTM?

The biggest aspect is how straight forward it is to use CTM. It enables even small to medium enterprises without a large procurement team to run competitions effectively. CTM saves valuable time, resources and is easy to use.