Once you have successfully passed the PQQ stage you will be sent an Invitation to Tender (ITT). The ITT document is designed to evaluate which supplier has the best method of delivering the contract at a fair price, however first and foremost the ITT is a competition.
An ITT consists of a number of documents and supporting attachments such as:
- Letter of invitation: your company has been successful at PQQ stage and the purchaser wants to see your proposal and price for providing the service/contract
- Standard conditions: the purchaser’s legal requirements/terms of trading with your company
- Pricing schedule: tells the purchaser what your tender price is
- Contract specification: details the purchaser’s requirements for delivering the contract
- Instructions to Bidders: may contain submission guidance and a timeline of key dates e.g. dates for clarification questions and the submission deadline
- Form of Tender: usually a declaration where you agree to the various terms and conditions of participating in the tendering exercise
- Tender return label: the address where your hard copy ITT submission should be sent to
Purchasers are increasingly using e-sourcing platforms or online portals where bidders are provided with log in details to access the ITT documents; please note that the contracting authority may also request a hard copy of the submission, so it is vital to carefully check the tender specification.
Building your tender submission
We highly recommended that you read all the purchaser’s ITT documents thoroughly and jot down any initial questions or thoughts you may have, referencing the section numbers so that they are easily identifiable later when you and other potential bidders will have an opportunity to ask clarification questions.
Preparation is always the key before writing your tender; compiling a checklist of the various sections and attachments which need to be completed minimises the risk of your bid being excluded for any non-compliance e.g. forgetting to complete a section of the ITT or attaching compulsory supporting documentation.
The whole ITT may seem overwhelming when you first review the requirements, however, if you break the process down into smaller, more manageable parts then it will be easier to tackle. Set out a plan of work, working backwards from the submission deadline date and coordinate this with your Bid Team. This will allow you to allocate a certain amount of time to each section. Ideally you should always overestimate how long the
ITT will take to ensure you leave enough time to review your work and submit in plenty of time before the deadline.
ITTs typically comprise two parts; quality and pricing. As a minimum, you will usually find that the quality part requires significant narrative responses and detailed explanations of:
- Your company’s ability to deliver on time
- Your after sales service and back up
- Your flexibility during the contract
- Your proposed methods for meeting the quality standards
When preparing the narrative responses, read the specification carefully to ensure that your responses meet the criteria. If the PQQ requires you to provide written responses to questions then review those prior to starting the ITT.
Always plan your response and ensure you highlight your company’s unique selling points (USPs) to add value to your responses, such as:
- Environmental/”green” initiatives your company has adopted
- Any benefits your company brings to the local community
- Innovations in technology and other areas
- Any specialisms or unique attributes your company, service or product has
Review, review and review
It may seem obvious but you should always review your responses with a “fresh set of eyes”, either ask someone else to review your work or make sure you have had a long break from working on the ITT before you undertake a review of the completed responses and supporting documentation.
Our comprehensive review service is an effective way to gain an external perspective on your bid. As part of this service, we will check your responses to ensure they are accurate and compliant, as well as offering our suggestions and advice to strengthen the response and ultimately gain the most marks available.
To discuss how we can assist at any stage of the tender process, fill out our website enquiry form and one of our Bid Writers will get back to you.
For more tips, watch our video “Advice for Completing a Tender”: