How does tendering process work

Guide Top Tips for Successful Tendering and How to be Successful in Tendering | download free pdf
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Published Date:03-07-2017
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Successful Tendering Guide Top Tips for Successful Tendering June 2012Contents Is your business ready? 1 Be prepared 2 Bid or No Bid 4 Prepare a bid plan 5 Focus on what the Buyer wants 6 Pricing 7 Prepare a well formatted document you can be proud of 8 Check, check and check again… 9 Make sure you submit your proposal on time 10 Giving a presentation 11 Make sure you get feedback 12 June 2012Top Tips for Successful Tendering 1. Is your business ready? • Regularly review your business Businesses should be very honest with position and strategies to assess if themselves at this stage; it is better to be tendering is the right approach for your patient and wait until the business is ready business now, before making a serious rather than waste valuable resources. commitment. • Identify business strengths and weaknesses. • Identify actions to be taken to close any gaps. 12. Be prepared • Familiarise yourself with the Once established, the tendering repository procurement processes commonly used should always be kept up to date as part within your sector and by the tendering of the tendering closure process and at bodies you wish to target. By doing so, regular periods through the year. you will gain knowledge of the different • Identify an in-house bid team. processes and what is expected, and • Build a tender awareness system. this will help you to make an informed decision regarding whether to bid or not. - Take time to explore which websites are relevant to the type of contracts • Understand your business strengths you are interested in. Create a list and weaknesses – it is important that of these websites/sources and find you communicate your strengths. the most efficient system to ensure • Identify, research and focus on specific that you are notified of all relevant target markets. Whether these are opportunities. geographical, types of Buyers, or specific - Many of the internet sites advertising sectors. contracts offer a daily e-mail alert • Understand the specific Buyer system, sometimes for free. Register requirements – doing this ahead of time. for alerts as it will save you time and • Create an in-house tendering data effort in searching on a regular basis repository – creating a comprehensive and will ensure you never miss any library of key tendering information will opportunity. save considerable time and effort during the tendering process. Information that can be stored includes: - Staffing details – pen pics and CVs - Company background data - Company policy documents - Technical specifications - Quality statements and procedures - Case studies - Key financial data - Copies of previous proposals 2Top Tips for Successful Tendering - If the website does not offer a free - Create a tender register – this will alert system, consider which is the allow you to monitor key tender best approach to be kept up to date, information and sources, the internal either by allocating responsibility bid/no bid decisions and reasons, to a member of staff to regularly the outcome if you decided to bid, scan relevant websites for new key contract information such as opportunities or to register with value, who won and duration. This a commercial tendering company document can be very useful when which offers an alert system for an regularly reviewing the business annual fee (usually between £250 tendering strategy, to assess your and £750). success rate, and reasons why no bid decisions were made etc. - Be aware that some organisations may not advertise lower-value - Monitor awarded contract contracts at all. So do not rely only information – by knowing who is on tenders as the ‘way in’ to larger winning the contracts, even those organisations. You may also benefit you decide not to go for, you will from identifying the appropriate be able to find valuable market/ person in an organisation and competitor information. Also you providing them with information may be able to identify a sub- about your business, via telephone, contractor opportunity. e-mail or letter. For further information on Tender sites, contact the Business Information Centre at Invest NI: Tel 028 9069 8135. 33. Bid or No Bid Select which tenders to respond to CAREFULLY. • Be realistic and don’t try to be too • Do you know who the incumbent ambitious – don’t forget preparing supplier is? If so, can you find out what a tender proposal is a very time- the current pricing arrangement is? consuming (and costly) process Is this within your proposed price range that will ensure that you make money on • Look very carefully at the requirement/ the contract? The purchaser may pay a specification and ask yourself – can you little more but will to be looking for some meet the main requirements? added value. Is it appropriate for you to undertake the contract, for example would it put • If your business is an SME, ask yourself too much financial or other pressure on if you could appear bigger and your organisation? demonstrate more experience if you partnered with another SME. If so, who would that be and who is best to lead the proposal? • Don’t be afraid to clarify any of the requirements or ask the nominated purchasing contact questions. 4Top Tips for Successful Tendering 4. Prepare a bid plan • At the outset, read the full tender Within the public sector the tender documentation extremely CAREFULLY documentation tends to be fairly standard, and understand the full extent of what but there is a lot of it. The amount of needs to be completed, by whom and paperwork often puts suppliers off, but by when. if you can spend the time reading and understanding the format, it will make • Establish the roles and responsibilities sense, and don’t forget, the next time it of all who should be involved and will be a lot easier. delegate activities to the best people to help you within your organisation. For • Never, never underestimate the time example, decide who is best to help you required to complete your proposal – no gather the quality/financial information, matter how well you feel you have the who is best to do the final formatting of process planned, problems will occur so the document. leave yourself as much time as possible. • Prepare a detailed timeline of activities • Think of all the things that might go required to complete the proposal, and wrong. What if someone key to preparing send it to all relevant parties with clear the bid is sick? Have you enough printing deadlines, and keep reviewing it materials? Think ahead and make any necessary contingency arrangements. 55. Focus on what the Buyer wants • Always keep the Buyer in mind when • Keep your competitors in mind when writing your proposal – talk about their you are writing the proposal and ensure needs and how you can solve their that you can demonstrate greater value problems and how you have the skills, for money than they can. products and experience to fulfil their • Show you’ve thought about – and can requirements. manage – potential financial, commercial • Find out as much as you can about the and legal risks that could cause contract organisation that you are tendering to, failure. if you don’t know them. Understand • Ask questions – if you need to clarify what their organisational objectives any of the requirements, e-mail your are, their values and include a section question to the purchasing contact and in your tender response letting them they will respond promptly. Be aware, know that you are aware of their future however, that your question and the developments and how you as a supplier subsequent answer will be automatically will potentially be able to help them to forwarded to all other tenderers achieve these objectives. anonymously. Be careful therefore and • Specifically demonstrate that you don’t give confidential information away understand the requirements of the in any questions asked work – provide plenty of examples of similar work you have completed and your relevant skills and experience. • Prepare your response in line with the evaluation criteria and weighting, concentrating on areas with the highest percentage. • Don’t forget to demonstrate your ‘added value’ (i.e. what benefits you can bring in addition to those specifically asked for). Make sure though that you meet the core requirements and standards. 6Top Tips for Successful Tendering 6. Pricing • Be careful when setting the price – • When estimating the time to be spent make sure that you achieve full cost on a particular project task, include: recovery but also show value for money. - time incurred on professional work If possible, do some research into what as defined in the contract others may charge. Make sure you allow - meetings for all the costs – don’t ignore costs such as stationery, travel expenditure etc. - time spent travelling in connection to the project. • The business may wish to consider applying a contingency allowance to • When asked to estimate expenses which the price to allow for cost variations. may be incurred by the project, these This may apply where the cost of a should be grouped, and will commonly component raw material may potentially include: vary significantly during the contract - Travel and transportation. duration. If this is required, make the Buyer aware that this contingency is - Equipment, materials and supplies being added and explain why. which specifically need to be purchased to be used on the project. • If specifying a price over a number of years, make sure that you increase the - External support services, such as price slightly year-on-year to allow for translation, legal costs which need to inflation changes. be brought in from the outside. • For time-based contracts, suppliers are - Printing and production of contract- usually asked to provide a proposed related outputs. charge rate for the individuals involved - Subsistence allowances. in the project, presented on an hourly or daily basis. Suppliers may wish to quote a rate for each individual or to categorise the team by role and/or seniority and provide a rate for each category. 77. Prepare a well formatted document you can be proud of • Make sure you read the documentation Make sure you prepare a professionally very carefully and answer questions fully presented proposal. Even though this in the format stated. is not part of the evaluation, how a document is presented cannot fail to • Although the general structure of create an impression of your organisation. your proposal may be dictated by the Purchaser, make sure you include the Some specific tips: following: • Include a cover letter that responds - An overall summary of your proposal to the bid invitation, summarises your (in the cover letter or at the beginning main message and explains how the of the proposal document). documents are organised. - Your understanding of the requirement • Keep sentences and paragraphs short and organisational objectives. and concise. - How you are going the carry out the • Use bullet points and headings to break work – step by step. up text. - A timetable for delivery of the service • Make sure that everything is and how you intend to manage the standardised, for example CVs and project. testimonials. - Information regarding your skills and • Use appendices for supporting additional experience of similar work. information. - Your pricing structure, being as • Include a front cover page with the transparent as possible. tender title and reference, date and your company name. - An explanation of the benefits and value for money of your bid. • Include a contents page. - An overall summary of why the Purchaser should award you the contract. 8Top Tips for Successful Tendering 8. Check, check and check again… • Always get someone else to proofread • If you are not submitting the proposal your proposal. This will not only help electronically, make sure you provide check the spelling etc but also make the correct number of copies in the way sure that it makes sense to someone stated. who doesn’t necessarily know your - Be aware that information from your organisation. Be particularly careful tender may be disclosed in future by with technical proposals – don’t forget, the Freedom of Information Act. You not all of the evaluation team will be as should state clearly any information technically experienced as you so make which is commercially confidential, sure your solution is presented clearly. and if particularly sensitive you might • Be careful to follow the submission want to ask for a non-disclosure guidelines and check that you have agreement. completed everything that is asked for - Keep a hard copy of your electronic within the tender instructions. submission. • Make sure that all required documents are signed. 99. Make sure you submit your proposal on time • When a deadline is set for the • If submitting by hand, it is advisable to submission of a tender, it must be either deliver the proposal yourself or delivered by the stated time. No by recorded delivery, to ensure it arrives organisation will consider your tender safely. Make sure you allow for traffic if it arrives after the closing date/time problems and always ask for a delivery even if you only miss the deadline by receipt. minutes. • If you miss the deadline by any chance, • The Central Procurement Directorate make sure the purchaser is aware that allows suppliers to ‘upload’ their proposals you were interested in submitting, just via the website. When in case the there is a problem during the submitting documentation electronically, evaluation and the tender is re-issued. make sure you allow enough time for ‘technical hitches’. 10Top Tips for Successful Tendering 10. Giving a presentation If you are shortlisted, you may be asked to • Make sure the presentation slides are deliver a presentation to the client. This is concise with each slide containing a your opportunity to shine number of carefully chosen bullet points. Try to keep to no more than six bullet • Prepare well and leave plenty of time to points per slide. Add some graphics to practise. each slide to make it more interesting. • Allocate overall responsibility for the • Consider taking professional advice on presentation to a single person, whose this important area if needed. responsibility is to plan and prepare the presentation. However, try to avoid using a single person to present the entire presentation, instead allocate the topic areas to specific people who will be involved in the delivery of the areas within the contract. 1111. Make sure you get feedback • If you are successful in your bid, then • The type of information public sector well done organisations are required to provide you with includes: • You will receive a letter from the supplier stating that you have been successful, - How many were in the competition. however, there will then be a 10-day - Your overall ranking. ‘standstill period’ allowing the other - Where your bid failed in each of the tenderers to receive feedback. If there criteria. are no objections then the contract will be awarded. - How your costs ranked overall. • If you are not successful don’t lose - Highlight potential areas for future heart… a good target success rate for improvements. any organisation is one in three, so you If you are in any way unsure about the will not be successful every time. After evaluation process and feel that there was receiving your letter make sure you something which made the process unfair, contact the purchasing contact and ask and you would like to challenge it – don’t them for feedback as to why you were be afraid to do so, it is not uncommon for unsuccessful. You can learn a lot from tenders to be re-issued due to an anomaly this exercise and it will help you position of some sort. yourself against your competitors and improve for the next time. 12

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