An Invitation to Tender or ITT is a formal document issued by a procurer which outlines the scope of a project and invites those organisations or individuals to submit a formal tender for the work.
Usually the invitation to tender is preceded by a PQQ which acts as filter to determine suitability and so the organisation has already been assessed for certain criteria needed to successfully deliver the project. The criteria for receiving the invitation to tender is usually based around financial stability and trading history, previous experience, core competence , capability and process and quality standards.
The invitation to tender focuses on the how. How will you deliver the work and of course how much will it cost!
An invitation to tender is just that, an invitation. Receiving an invitation to tender does not mean that you will be awarded the contract. Indeed as many as five to twelve other organisations may also have received ITT. In some industries it can be even more!
The same rules apply to the invitation to tender as described in the PQQ blog. However, you do have much more room to manoeuvre with an invitation to tender than with a PQQ.
Be careful though, the invitation to tender will still contain some “rules” and set questions, so make sure you read it very carefully before your pen hits the paper, or rather before your finger hits the keyboard.
The format of an invitation to tender varies widely across industries and services and no two are alike. Some are prescriptive and some are loosely defined. Some lay out very clearly how to respond to the ITT and some do not.
By broadly following the rules though it is fairly straightforward to respond to an invitation to tender.
Invitation to tender (ITT) a framework
1. Read the invitation to tender several times and note down any special requirements
2. Appoint a Project Manager or Leader for the tender
3. Arrange printing and binding and any other submission criteria
4. Appoint a proof reader
5. Appoint a collator. This person will be the central point for all information and is usually responsible for formatting and submission of the tender
6. Ask for clarification on any ambiguous points contained in the invitation to tender
7. Reach consensus on a winning theme for the invitation to tender
8. Agree roles and responsibilities
9. Begin writing
10. Hold regular feedback and progress meetings
11. Repeat 9 and 10 until complete.
12. “stitch” the invitation to tender response together
13. Have the bid read and approved
14. Proof read
15. Print and submit the invitation to tender
16. Ensure delivery and obtain receipt
The time from submission of your response to the invitation to tender and award of the contract can vary but it is normally clearly laid out in the invitation to tender and will be as a minimum three to four weeks.
The next step varies and depends on the product or service.
A. There could be a presentation and the preferred bidder selected
B. There may be a clarification meeting
C. The contract could be awarded
D. They may decide not to award the contract to anyone