Bid writing and preparing tenders is always to some extent a collaboration. As bid writers, we work closely with clients to tailor unique responses, using interviews to include specific…
Do You Know What a Tender Is? Why Should You Care?
If you work with public sector buyers such as councils and local authorities or wish to do so you will be required to produce tender submissions reflecting the buyer’s specification and quality questions. Perhaps because of this you have put off securing contracts due to the sometimes confusing procurement process. Or have you have lost a customer because they are legally obligated to use suppliers who have successfully been named as preferred suppliers, and you have not?
Or maybe you are unsure what a tender is or how you complete a tender submission. Help is at hand; the Executive Compass team provide comprehensive bid and tender writing services for companies across all sectors. As well as outlining the tender process, we will ensure you are fully equipped with the knowledge and skills to successfully bid for contracts in your sector. Keep reading to find out more about tenders.
What Is a Tender?
A tender (also known as an invitation to tender or ITT) is a written request sent out to potential suppliers inviting them to submit an application to allow them to deliver specific goods or services. The application asks for company information for the buyer to then evaluate and select a preferred supplier. A tender document is the basis of a tendering process which helps a buyer select qualified and interested suppliers based on certain contract criteria. Broadly this is a pricing documentation and quality criteria.
Let’s Look at It from The Point of View of The Buyer:
The buyer (i.e. housing authority, council, central government department etc.) requiring goods/services will issue a contract notice to the market. Typically, this will include details such as the scope, range, geographical location and other contract conditions of the work contract, so suitable bidders understand the work in question. If the buyer is in the public sector and the contract is over a specific amount they are required by law to issue a call for tenders. Sometimes, a group of authorities will get together to form a purchasing consortium. Like a co-operative, they’re hoping that by getting together and advertising a huge contract, they can get better value for money from their suppliers for goods or services. The buyer will ask for expressions of interest, followed by a standardised pre-qualification questionnaire, and specific information within the tender documents comprised loosely of a pricing and quality element.
Let’s Look at It from The Point of View of The Buyer:
Typically, the person wanting to bid for a contract will come to us because they have a live tender to complete. Services could be anything from the construction of a modular build office, to the supply of home care services, or grounds maintenance for a housing association. At this stage, bidder organisations come to us for several reasons such as limited capacity in-house to complete the project, lack of tendering experience, or simply lack of resources and are therefore outsourcing the process.
Your company and other potential suppliers will submit bids to supply this information. Some will fall at the first hurdle in the tender process, whilst others will proceed to the pre-qualification stage, and fewer still will be asked to complete the full tender response documentation. After the buyer has evaluated the tender submissions, one supplier (or more if the contract is a framework) will win the bid.
Download our free PQQ, Bid & Tender resources for your business here.
Why is The Tender Process Marked This Way?
A tender is evaluated this way to ensure transparency and fairness. All suppliers will be marked against a scoring matrix to ensure the company that offers the best value for money, products, and/or services will be appointed as a supplier via a formal offer. This is particularly important when it comes to spending the public’s money so it is not just evaluated on the bid price.
So, What Is a Tender?
A tender is a formal process used to establish fair and equitable services, with bidding organisations actively participating in tender submissions given the opportunity to expand their current services, often guaranteeing a pipeline of work for the contract duration – a vital way for a bidder organisation to win more business and get involved in more industry sectors.
If you choose to ignore all projects that require a tender process, you are missing out on the opportunity to win bids that can keep your business busy and help your business access higher levels of growth and profitability. This is especially relevant within the public sector, which has to abide by procurement regulations and use a tendering process for procuring virtually all goods and services.
If you ignore the tenders that are out there you’ll be constricting the amount of new work you gather, and you will possibly lose customers to the tendering process.
What Makes a Quality Tender Submission?
As a business, you must impress the contracting authority and really stand out from the competition through ensuring you answer exactly what they ask, reflect the tender requirements, and use innovative ideas to stand out. When it comes to tender writing, this may fall to the business development team or you may have a dedicated bid writer within your organisation. Whoever is bidding for contracts must be aware of the procurement process, and have exceptional writing skills to ensure the tender submission is completed to a high standard. We have a range of resources to help you understand how to win a tender.