What is a PQQ? What does PQQ stand for? What does the PQQ process involve?
What is a PQQ? A PQQ is a pre-qualification questionnaire. When a buyer is looking to procure a supplier for a certain contract, they need to evaluate the potential companies via a bidding process. The initial stage in this process is known as the PQQ or Pre-Qualification Questionnaire, which typically comes before an Invitation to Tender. The meaning behind the PQQ, is that it acts as a sieving or pre-selection process to remove any companies from the whole tendering process that are not suitable to go forward. This is an effective tool in any procurement process, most commonly used in public sector procurement.
A pre-qualification questionnaire document focuses on your company information and what your company already does – it exists as a basis for a buyer to judge your current undertakings, or to exclude those who do not meet certain requirements, for a contract. If you are successful at PQQ stage, you are invited through to the tender stage.
The PQQ Process
You need to complete certain tasks in your own PQQ process in order to get through this hurdle successfully and move on to the next stage of the bidding process.
The PQQ process involves:
- Identifying contracts to go for. You may need to use industry-specific alerting services or the Find a Tender site for large public sector contracts.
- Following the correct procedure to obtain the appropriate PQQ documentation, which is likely to be via an online portal.
- Putting a project team together to complete the PQQ.
- Reviewing the documentation: ensure that you can fulfil the criteria and that you meet all minimum requirements.
- Making a list of all of the documentation you need to provide: certificates, policies, procedures and references.
- Breaking down the PQQ and completing the relevant sections – typically a data section and narrative questions.
- Reviewing the documentation and accompanying materials.
- Having everything checked by an outside agency, or at least by someone in your company not involved in the process, to make sure everything is compliant.
- Reviewing everything again.
- Sending off the completed PQQ, by the right date, in the right format (posted/emailed as attachments/submitted online).
- Receiving confirmation of receipt.
- Hopefully, receiving an Invitation to Tender, confirmation you are through to the next stage.
- Whether you receive an Invitation to Tender or not, make sure you request feedback, and when you receive it, take it on board, good or bad, for next time.
- Holding a team review of processes and procedures and documentation.
- Putting the outcome of the review into practice before the next alert starts off the PQQ process all over again.
If you follow the process above, you’ll have a good chance of at least submitting the right materials with the right accompanying materials, at the right time and to the right people. And, most importantly, you will have a good chance of learning from the process and streamlining your procedure for next time.
What can you expect to see in a PQQ?
A PQQ will always include a number of data-driven questions, basic company information, finances, and is generally more of a “tick box” exercise. This is typically paired with a few narrative quality questions, possibly asking for case studies, which will be specific to the contract you are bidding for.
A PQQ is often referred to as an SSQ or SQ, a standard selection questionnaire, which has exactly the same function as the PQQ, and was introduced in 2016.