What is a tender?
A tender is a document that you need to complete when bidding for a contract; the tender document is how a buyer evaluates your suitability for the contract based typically on price and quality elements – you will therefore most likely have a pricing document and question set that you must respond to. Read below for more information on the full tendering process and how it works.
The tendering process
A tender is a formal offer, or a bid, to ultimately secure a contract.
One of your existing customers might ask you to tender for work (to either maintain your current services with them, or for a new service), or, to grow your business, you might find you need to submit bids for public sector contracts. Tendering is the most common way in which a buyer will find someone to supply goods or services. The tendering process is a structured process, in order to be fair and transparent, including a stringent selection process, expressions of interest from bidders, through to the request for tender and the evaluation process.
What does the tender process involve? Each tender process is different depending on the contract in question and how the buyer needs to evaluate the bidder. However, specifically in the public sector, they must comply with specific rules and regulations to make the process fair and transparent.
A tender document (or ITT, or tender bid) is the stage in the bidding process where you need to explain how you will deliver the contract, including your technical solutions and pricing proposals. Your company must provide high-quality, persuasive narrative responses to demonstrate why you are best suited to the contract. This is the opportunity to stand out against your competitors and showcase why you are the right company to deliver the contract. The buyer will then shortlist the most suitable bidders, before finally selecting a winning tender.
As part of the procurement process, you will be evaluated on both price and quality so that the buyer can make an informed decision during the selection process on who is best to deliver the contract. There is no margin for error, and you must get the tender process right. Please note your bid documents are not evaluated solely on the lowest price; you will also be evaluated on a quality, narrative section of the invitation to tender document to demonstrate that you are capable of delivering the services, not simply price competitive.
For guidance on structuring your narrative responses in a tender and exactly what to include, see information on how to write a tender.
Tendering is a competition
It is also important to remember the reason behind the tender document and bidding process: it is for the contracting authority to identify the most economically advantageous tender. Simply put, the company that submits the highest quality bid response at the best price is the company the authority will shortlist, and then award the contract to. Or if it is a framework agreement, the top 5, 10, or more bidders will be awarded a place on the framework; this is very common in certain industries such as construction projects. You must make sure your company stands out from your competitors in the bidding process. By using tender writing services provided by companies such as Executive Compass, you can receive assistance in submitting a successful tender. Research your main competition and then stress how your company differs from others in order to score the most marks available, which could be through innovations, added value, and price.
Executive Compass can support you throughout the tendering process, helping you complete the selection questionnaire and the invitation to tender document, as well as other important tender documents. We can help you to understand exactly what the tender process entails, what the buyer is looking for in the procurement process and the procedures you need to follow in order to submit a successful tender bid for a product or service.