Quite frequently, you will be asked to answer resource-based questions as part of the tendering process. For example: ‘Provide details of how you will resource the service’ or ‘Please provide details to assure the client that your organisation has sufficient qualified and skilled personnel to resource and deliver the required works’. As with many familiar questions, it can seem straightforward, but it is easy to lose sight of what buyers are asking for and therefore lose easy marks.
Identifying key resource
Firstly, what do we mean by resource? An easy mistake to make is to think of it only in terms of people and to focus exclusively on the operatives who will be delivering the service. While they are a key part of the response and should be discussed in detail, they are not the only resource you will use to deliver the service. Other aspects to consider include:
- Management: at the top level, who will be overseeing the contract, talking to the buyer and inspecting the work? If allowed, you could include an organisational chart showing how your management team is laid out in a systematic, clear way.
- Back-office staff or non-site-based staff, for example the administrators, the customer service team, the HR department, purchasing managers, data analysts.
- Your office/s and infrastructure: where are you based? Where will you be coordinating works from? It’s good to provide the postcode and a map (if possible) showing your location and proximity to site. Also worth mentioning is your depot and how large it is.
- Speaking of which: plant, stock and materials. Operatives will likely need gear to complete the work. This could include specific equipment, parts and vehicles and, again, you need to show that you’ve got these.
With all these categories, it’s best to be as specific as possible. Being vague helps no one. The buyer wants to know you have read the documents provided and thought about how you would deliver the contract. Therefore, they want to know that Adam will be the account manager, seven operatives will deliver the contract working this specific shift pattern and Catherine will lead the customer service team. If possible, you could also include the names of each operative, for more detail, and attach CVs.
Key to answering these questions fully is also providing information on training, qualifications and experience. It’s not just about having enough resource – it’s about the quality and suitability of the resources, too. There are usually key qualifications or accreditations which are good to include, such as CSCS Skilled Worker cards, while including how many years’ experience on similar projects is always to your benefit.
Demonstrating you have the resources
Money is involved and buyers can be skittish at the best of times: they want reassurance that you know what you’re doing, you’re prepared to start the contract from day one, and you have measures in place in case something doesn’t go to plan.
This is where it pays to be specific. Tell the buyer that having read their documents you’ve assessed the service needs 15 people to deliver it – and that you’ve already got them in place, ready to go. It’s also relevant to say whether your team will be dedicated to this contract or how many hours FTE they’ll work.
Added to this is contingency: indicate how many other people you have who could do the job in case of absence or illness; name the deputy to the account manager. Demonstrating you have contingency resources in place is especially important during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit, something which buyers are understandably concerned about.
Use of subcontractors and your recruitment strategy is also relevant to these resource responses. Even if you’re unlikely to use subcontractors or recruit anyone, it’s still worth (space allowing) showing that you have a plan in place for this.
Ongoing resource management
So, you have your team assembled, you have backup in case of something unexpected, you’re ready to deliver the contract. The last topic to cover is how you’ll manage your resources:
- Firstly, how will you ensure capacity? This could be assessing the live nature of the site (a school perhaps) and the programme of works to calculate how many engineers will be required, including float time as contingency. Information on how you assign operatives for reactive rather than planned works is also relevant, thinking about response times and priority.
- In terms of materials and equipment, you could mention agreeing delivery slots for materials and a laydown area, if appropriate, with your suppliers.
- Checking the performance of your operatives and staying on track with the project, through electronic checklists on their PDAs or in-person checks by the (named!) supervisors or management team.
- Supervision is key to resource management so give detail on who will be in charge of this and what they’ll do – it could be inspections of a certain percentage of works in progress, daily briefings or weekly toolbox talks.
Resource-based questions are an opportunity for you to reassure the buyer that you’ve thought about the contract and are ready to do the work immediately. You might know that you can do it, handily, but you need to be able to show that to the authorities – and that means providing details, names and numbers.
For information on how we can support you to effectively answer resource-based questions, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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