In an ideal world, you will receive all the tender documents for a project far in advance, giving you enough time to plan and complete your submission. However, sometimes the hectic nature of tenders means that you may have one or more last minute submissions with short deadlines.
By following these tips you can ensure timely and high quality completion:
Read the documents
Read the documents carefully to understand the scope of works and to determine how many quality questions you have to answer, as well as the submission requirements. By reading the documents you may find that there is less work than you originally thought, that attachments can be provided instead of responses, or, alternatively, that a large amount of data is required. Whatever the case, it is best to know upfront what is required to prevent any last minute surprises.
Assemble your bid team
Once you understand the scope of work, you will need to assemble your bid team, your colleagues or yourself! Whatever the size of your team, disseminate key information so everyone knows their roles and responsibilities. Crucial roles include a project manager to oversee and manage the process, writer(s) and an allocated reviewer or proofreader.
Plan the project
Each key stage should be planned to ensure smooth progress against timescales and to allow sufficient flexibility to handle any potential delays. Fixed yet achievable targets should be set for the completion of each section and associated quality assurance processes, with ongoing reviews crucial to achieving stage-by-stage completion and monitoring the overall quality of the bid. Progress should be monitored regularly by the project lead, offering staff much-needed support and guidance, whilst identifying and reacting to potential delays to maintain compliance with agreed schedules.
Track your progress
To track and assess your progress, keep a record of all responses and their status, and the various attachments that are needed. This should be updated regularly to account for responses being drafted, reviewed and proofread, as well as marking attachments that have been compiled and those that remain outstanding. By keeping an updated record, you can help your team to manage their time effectively to meet the deadline.
Keep in regular contact with your bid team
A crucial part of the process is to keep in contact with your bid team or staff assisting on the project, to check they are happy and confident in completing their sections and that they have access to the required information they need. If anyone is relying on information from other areas of the organisation, make sure everyone knows their roles and respective deadlines— it is important not to waste any time with a last-minute submission.
Monitor the portal
To ensure you are aware of any changes to the tender such as deadline amendments, additional documents, or the receipt of clarification questions, the project lead should monitor the portal regularly and disseminate any information to the team. This is a key part of the process as it will ensure you are aware of all key requirements and can therefore submit a compliant and high-quality bid. Furthermore, you may be lucky and receive an extension, although this should not be used as an excuse to take your foot off the pedal!
Once you have submitted the tender, review the process to determine what went right, what went wrong and how you could improve further submissions. Continual improvement is a key part of the bid writing process and will ensure your team can always produce a high quality bid each time, regardless of the submission you are working on.