Is that why you don’t have more success?
I well remember that comment from my days in the aerospace industry (we called it the aircraft industry then). What our people were saying/implying was that if you didn’t know the tender/request for quotation/proposal was coming out, you didn’t have time to prepare yourself for a persuasive response, to have your estimating people do their homework, and to make sure you had all potential issues covered.
And if you didn’t know it was coming out, then it was unlikely you had developed a good relationship with the key people in the buyer’s organization.
Government, and businesses for that matter, use tenders to help obtain competitive tenders that can be evaluated objectively to select a suitable supplier.
The tender documents will (or should) contain all the relevant information about the proposed contract, rules, conditions, etc. for you which will enable you to price the work as accurately as possible, taking into account all the special peculiarities which every project possesses.
The offer that best meets all of the requirements outlined in the request, and provides value for money, should win the contract.
Preparing tenders can help you to win big orders, and provide on-going work over a number of years, but it can also be time-consuming, cost money and tie up valuable resources. If you don't get the contract, the money and time spent is usually lost, so you need to carefully weigh up whether or not a tender is worth bidding for.
You also need to consider how important the customer is to your business. Is this a good potential client or one you don't want to offend by not tendering? Try to understand things from the client's point of view.
So, line up your ducks if you want to hit them. Submitting a compliant, persuasive tender on time, without the attendant stress and pressure requires that you are prepared and ready for the fray.
Here are 6 good reasons why you need to be prepared and ready
- Tender documents are not always clear in practice. It is one of the reasons I always recommend reviewing the documentation thoroughly and meeting the key person to clarify any questions you might have. This is one of the common mistakes in tendering I discuss in my “How to Overcome the 10 Most Common Mistakes in Tendering”.
- Poor quality tender documents are a source of inaccurate estimates, claims and disputes on contracts. But of course, you have to have time to identify the issues.
- The more important the potential contract is to you, the more you need to be prepared. Who is going to be involved, in what role; do you have to start getting your quotes for material, supplies, sub-contractors; who is going to write it, and bring the response together; identify the competition and carry out a SWOT analysis on them; who will identify the client’s “hot buttons” and develop a Value Proposition around which you can build your response.
- The volume of information provided is often too extensive to allow tenderers to process and estimate a price and program for the works in a short time, usually two – three weeks. And that is the problem, lack of time, rushing, not having time to edit and review, leads to mistakes which could cause you to lose the tender, or cost you money if you win it.
- The core principle in Government tendering and procurement is achieving value for money. This does not just refer to offering the lowest price or best offer. Value for money can also be assessed by looking at factors including:
- The relative risk of the proposal
- Fitness for purpose
- The performance history of the supplier
- All direct and indirect financial costs and benefits over the life of the procurement
- The flexibility of the proposal to adapt to possible change
- The anticipated price that could be obtained, or cost incurred, at the time of disposal.
How will you demonstrate this in the time available?
- The Assessors often have difficulty reading five or six lengthy and poorly presented tender documents. So, imagine the time required to read through 20 or 500 documents?
You may have the best solution, but you don’t want them to skip through your response because it is boring, difficult to read, and doesn’t stand out.
So many of you told me when I researched this issue that being in this situation has led them to winning few contracts, while causing them great stress and unnecessary demands on their time.
Yet when I asked if they were interested in a solution, I was told “Now is not the right time.”
The right time is evidently when a tender of interest is called, one that really matches their capability, but of course, not being prepared means the same old, same old cycle occurs. It’s too late to improve!
There is a Solution
Do you want to continue down that path – the recurring problem of a last minute rush to get your response finished, and in on time, with all its inevitable stress and strain, and probable mistakes?
Have you ever been in the situation where you have won a tender, and your first thought is “What did I miss?” I know I used to.
Picture the potential; you are prepared and ready, you have all the requisite building blocks that could be required for the tenders of interest. You have the tools to develop a striking value proposition for each request, and you have practised writing a compliant, compelling and persuasive response.
You know how to put together a stand out presentation, one that will not have the Assessor’s eyes glazing over.
And when you submit, you have full confidence in your response, both in terms of your proposed program, and your price! What a relief!
Is that important to you? And why?
Would you like to have a chat at some stage, either by phone or online to discuss your issues and experience? I’d be interested in finding out more about both, and whether my solution might suit you.
And if you would like to understand more on my approach to tendering you might like to download my freebie – “How to Overcome the 19 Most Common Mistakes in Tendering”.