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Cutting Through the Specification

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Fully understanding the specification for a tender might be an onerous task, but it is an important one. Knowing the demands of your submission will allow you to structure your response well, make sure all vital requirements are met and stand out against competitors; and above all it can help you win that bid.

Read through and analyse

As with any stage of the PQQ or tender process, going through with a fine tooth comb is essential; if anything, this is even more essential whilst reviewing the specification. Always take your time reading through and analysing the specification before you start writing the bid, in order to fully understand what is expected of you. Output levels, quality, timescales, insurance and procedures are all aspects which may be included in the specification and therefore provide you with a basis to structure your submission. Planning and delivering a well-structured response will make it a lot easier to relay the information and make sure everything is included.

If there is anything you are unsure of within the specification, raise a clarification question as soon as possible with the contracting authority. Do not feel wary in doing this – it is in all parties’ best interest that the correct information is provided and understood so that ultimately the most suitable contractor is appointed.

Scoring criteria

Most tender submissions are scored in terms of both price and quality, but these can be weighted differently depending upon the individual contract. In the specification it will state the criteria in which your bid is being scored; this allows you to work out what must be included, and in which section, in order to score highly. The criteria can also help you to structure the vital information in your bid and also manage your time with regards to what is weighted more highly and may require more consideration.

Limits and requirements

When assessing the specification for a tender, it is important to note that the contracting authority may have already considered the capabilities of suppliers within the market. This may then be reflected in the requirements outlined in the specification. Deliberate restrictions, such as word count and page numbers, exist not only to guide you when writing a bid, but to test the quality of your answers. It is crucial that you adhere to all limits and requirements of a specification – as this can be the difference between a pass and fail. Even smaller aspects such as font style and size should not be overlooked when compiling a submission, so make sure you double check all requirements before submitting your bid.

A specification is likely to include what is expected of you, but not exactly how this is to be achieved. This creates an opportunity for your organisation to stand out in the tender process and go one step above the requirements to produce a winning submission and impress the contracting authority. Don’t be put off by restrictions; learn how to use them to your advantage and deliver concise, quality responses.

Quality assurance

Whilst cutting through the many different aspects of the specification, it is also necessary to make sure your own work is quality assured to meet all of the requirements. A second opinion is always favourable in bid writing, as a fresh pair of eyes can provide another perspective and may pick up on something you previously missed.

If you require full support with your bid management, or simply just a review of your submission, Executive Compass is here to help. We complete hundreds of specifications for clients and can provide knowledge and expertise on your next submission. To speak to one of our bid team today, call us free on 0800 612 5563 or fill out our contact form.

For more help on winning contracts, check out this video

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