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Published Date: 5-01-2023
Author: Victoria Hughes
Category: News & Insight
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As 2022 draws to an end, it’s time to turn our attention forward, and anticipate what 2023 will bring to the procurement industry. Over the past year, we have continued to feel the impact of Brexit and COVID-19 on tendering, influencing questions on safeguarding, supply chains and business continuity. New developments have already started to make an impression, notably supply chain issues, the cost-of-living crisis and the war in Ukraine. As buyers look to make wise procurement decisions, these trends look to continue to influence bids and tenders in 2023.


As climate activists continue to make the news and following COP27 earlier last year, buyers will once again turn their attention to sustainability and focus on achieving net zero by 2050 in line with the UK government’s pledge. Sustainability continues to be a huge selling point for consumers and as such bidders will be expected to demonstrate their own concrete plans for achieving net zero and minimising carbon emissions. Increasingly, we’re seeing bidders being asked to provide statistics demonstrating their carbon accounting and tangible steps to reduce their negative impact on the environment, including considering sustainability and emissions both up- and down-stream. If you don’t have an environmental policy yet – including clear targets and actions – now is the time to plan.


Supply chains: resilience and relationships

The twin effects of Brexit and COVID (not to mention the war in Ukraine and rising inflation) have made supply chain challenges a key concern for all buyers. Bidders need to show they are prepared for hard times and have the long-standing, positive relationships with supply chains to see them through. Whilst contingency plans – such as service level agreements with multiple back-up suppliers – are often required, buyers also expect to be able to demonstrate contingency and ring-fenced stock as well as bulk buying stock based on forecasted market trends and insight from your suppliers.


Value for money

The cost-of-living crisis is hitting everyone hard and with the energy cap lifted next April, it’s not expected to ease soon. Buyers, like everyone else, are experiencing the effects of this and are looking to save money in any way they can. Therefore, expect those questions about added value and value for money to crop up more. Take it as an opportunity to show off: you can offer a broader, better service than other bidders and here is your chance to explain how. Perhaps your particular technology allows you to more efficiently deliver the service or your multi-skilled operatives have training above the requirement, allowing them to undertake extra duties easily; perhaps you can undertake proactive checks while you’re on site and complete remedial works to reduce future maintenance costs. Now is the time to emphasise this.


Tech integration

Working from home is now the norm for most people and technology continues to improve and offer tangible benefits for all businesses, from using apps to place orders to tracking operatives on site. The improvements for bidders can be clear as it most often leads to greater efficiency in service delivery, as well as transparency through real-time access. If you’re still tracking KPI achievement using paper, it’s time to upgrade and get your CyberEssentials certificate.


Fixed cost tendering

We’re already seeing a change in this as bidders are pushing back on the fixed cost element. No one wants to be stuck in a five-year contract based on this year’s prices, especially with inflation and costs only rising. Expect to see buyers take this into more consideration in order to procure the best service possible.


TOMS calculator simplified

The National TOMs (Themes, Outcomes and Measures) calculator, which is used to measure social and environmental impact, was recently simplified. Three newly created measurements were added and the environmental theme was completely overhauled. Based on feedback and up-to-date information from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the new version of the TOMs calculator is more inclusive and easier to use: great news for SMEs with tangible offerings and commitments. Already, it’s clear the greenhouse gas emissions calculator will support bidders in measuring their emissions and setting realistic targets, which can often prove baffling and opaque.


More clarity and transparency

As buyers look to continuously improve and efficiently deliver services, clarity and transparency in bids will become more prominent. Our writers are already seeing tenders with clearer instructions than ever, including colour palette requirements compatible for those with colour blindness and example answers with a clear structure indicated. This will improve the quality of bids overall but also will improve the efficiency of decision-making, with awards made more quickly as bidders feel more confident and clearer about requirements.


Finally, we also expect the Procurement Bill – currently undertaking its third reading in the House of Lords – to have an effect on public sector procurement. Will we potentially be mourning the loss of the SQ? Time will tell.


While we await these exciting – or at least interesting – developments, our team can help you with all of your bid management needs.  Get in touch to find out how Executive Compass can support you to tender for a contract opportunity in 2023.

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