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Article Details

Published Date: 15-05-2015
Author: Executive Compass
Category: Tender Writing & Bid Management
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The nuclear sector within the UK offers a wide range of high value contracts for companies including operation, design, build and decommissioning.

In order to secure contracts companies must produce high quality, winning tender submissions. Competition in this industry is fierce and as such bids are incredibly complex, requiring a lot of time and resources.

Should you be successful you will be rewarded with a lucrative contract and powerful case study for future bids.

This article aims to provide general advice and tips for businesses looking to compete and win contracts in the nuclear sector for sites such as Sellafield and Magnox.

Market intelligence and planning

When bidding for nuclear contracts you should be aware of the different tiers in place:

Tier 1: A nuclear site license company (e.g. Sellafield)
Tier 2: A company that tenders directly to a Tier 1 (e.g. Babcock, Amec, Jacobs)
Tier 3: A company subcontracted to a Tier 2

Due to the complexity of bids and the relatively short timescales afforded by a bid process it is important to always be aware of future opportunities. This way your company can effectively prepare for the release of a contract.

Opportunities can be monitored on sites such as TED and Contracts Finder, along with specific Tier 1 sites such as this Sellafield Procurement Section.

To gain an advantage you must fully understand both the Tier 1 or Tier 2 organisation, along with the competition and where your company lies in comparison.

Understanding this will help shape the direction of your bid through highlighting comparative strengths and fully addressing weaker areas.

A lot of work can be completed prior to the release of the ITT and your bid team should work on producing or adapting your bid library for the specific contract. Having this information ready will save time and improve the overall quality of the submission.

Writing the tender

When you receive the tender documents read through everything thoroughly and make notes. Ensure your company is fully compliant with the specification and there are no obvious reasons why the bid may fail.

Plot the completion of the bid, assigning roles to various team members along with internal deadlines for different sections. This way you can keep the submission on track and make sure it is completed and submitted in time.

Using a matrix of items to include is a good way to ensure your bid answers what is required by the evaluator. As work commences, tick off completed sections and mark them for review. Ideally a bid should be reviewed more than once throughout completion in order to develop the highest quality, error-free response.

The bid should follow the structure set out in the ITT, but if none is suggested use a logical structure. If allowed your bid can include diagrams, images and a unique design. All of these things add to the overall feel and quality of a bid. A good design and structure can sometimes make the difference in a close competition.

Establish a winning theme throughout the submission and focus on your company’s strengths. Back up each point with examples and past experience. Address your company’s weaknesses and turn them into positives.

Post tender action

Bids within the nuclear sector sometimes require shortlisted bidders to give a presentation or answer some follow up questions. Approach this with the same level of market intelligence and effort as the tender itself.

Often the evaluator’s final decision will be heavily influenced by the presentation so use this time to back up your strongest points and address any potential issues.

Regardless of whether you win always request feedback. Thoroughly analyse what the evaluator has to say and use this information to strengthen your bid library and improve future submissions.

For more detailed information on writing a tender for the nuclear sector, or for support with your bid, contact us free on 0800 612 5563 or email

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