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A Perfect Tender (Part Two)

Monday February 2nd, 2015

Yo I’ll tell you what I want,
What I really really want,
So tell me what you want,
What you really really want
 (Spice Girls – Wanabee)

In my last blog, I asked the simple question – Can you really produce the perfect tender?

We already know the answer is no, but it’s time suppliers at least tried to get closer to understanding better the key drivers in the marketplace, rather than merely answering questions in relation to their offering. It’s time for suppliers to start to understand what the contracting authority needs, rather than what they want to sell them.Eddie Regan

Suppliers need to ask themselves a few simple questions:

·    When did you last review a contracting authority’s website, to understand the drivers in their marketplace?
·    When did you last highlight any environmental benefits in your offering?
·    When did you last consider any social benefits you can deliver?
·    Do you identify added value in your solution?
·    Have you engaged with the buyer to highlight innovative options?
·    Can you show benefits through your supply chain (eg local sub-contractors)?

There are many more questions that suppliers can ask, often directly related to their marketplace, but you probably get the idea.

To start with, suppliers need to be more proactive in looking for opportunities well in advance of the advert appearing in the OJEU. I am continually amazed at suppliers being surprised when a tender appears, despite the fact that they unsuccessfully bid for it three or four years previously.

When a tender exercise ends, win or lose, suppliers need to keep a note of the timescales, so they can prepare well in advance for the next tender. If you operate in a changing marketplace, you need to start speaking to the authority at least 12 months in advance of retender.

Try and get the chance to show the latest advances in the market, ask questions about the timescale for retender and generally make them aware of your keenness to contract with them. It’s also important to watch for Prior Information Notices. Some contracting authorities now use this route to have early market engagement.

If you do get the chance to have early market engagement, make sure you take it. Get along and ask questions of the authority – its critical success factors, budget, any integration issues, indeed anything that you would find beneficial to know prior to the tender being issued.

Another area that people overlook is having an understanding of the key initiatives that the client is engaged in. In Scotland, for example, there is a big push on social aspects through Community Benefit Clauses, including apprenticeships and job creation. In England, the Social Value Act is encouraging contracting authorities to consider similar aspirations in their procurement exercises.

Contractors, by winning contracts, often create employment in their organisations, but very rarely do bidders highlight this. If you know this is an aspiration of an authority and you are likely to create employment, then it is essential you engage with the authority to highlight this.

Environmental issues bring similar opportunities for contractors who can show benefits in their appropriate marketplace. Understanding the aims and needs of the contracting authority will help you to tailor your response, to deliver the outcome which meets the need.

It may not be ‘the perfect tender’ but it will have more of a chance of being the perfect solution for the client.


Words: Eddie Regan  (Senior PASS Consultant) (@Eddie_Regan)


Gov Opps’ training partner, PASS (Procurement Advice & Support Service) runs relevant procurement training events for the public and private sector, including Drafting a Compliant PQQ, Writing a Tender SpecificationPre-Qualifying for Tenders and Preparing Perfect TendersTo view the brand new schedule of events, click HERE.

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