Understanding the steps in the tender process

Posted by Oliver Hogue on 26/09/2015

Successful tendering is not just about filling in a bid template with the lowest price. It involves a team of people focused on a complex task that could change the future of your business.

The following is an outline of a general tender process. It includes an example of a current government tender to show how complicated the tender process can be.

The procurement team

A successful tender bid is not just the work of one person. Allowing the CEO to single-handedly create the tender is a mistake. The bid should reflect the combined talents of an organisation working together.

A business may need to have someone from each area involved in a large tender, including finance, sales and marketing and services development.

However, talent needs to be channelled in the right direction, and it’s at this early stage that a business should consider hiring a professional tender writer to help guide the team through the tender process.

The different levels of the process

An organisation may not embark on a full tender request straight away. It may want an expression of interest (EOI) to shortlist candidates, a request for proposal (RFP) which means it is looking for new solutions, a request for quote (RFQ) to gauge what a bidder is prepared to offer and finally a request for tender (RFT) where a fully detailed application is requested.

The right business for the job

To be successful in the tender process, a business needs to be able to supply what’s required.

If the tender requires delivery of ten times the amount of goods that a business can supply, then it is not going to be successful in the tender process.

If a business is having problems with a supplier, then that could jeopardise the bid even if it is successful. In fact, organisations that regularly put out tenders routinely include such questions in their tender requests.

Examination of tender requirements

Let’s look at an actual government tender. The ABC currently has a tender out for 85 radio microphones to replace its old ones.

There are some 90 pages of information covering everything from public liability insurance to extremely detailed technical requirements, and whether or not the supplier can offer buy-back of the old microphones.

An Excel spreadsheet asks bidders to detail the individual components of each microphone kit, including warranties, list price and discounts offered.

The ABC even wants to know the contingency plan if key personnel listed in the bidding team leave the bidding organisation.

These are questions that require considered responses – questions the bidding organisation may not have encountered before. It may be difficult to supply convincing answers without guidance from an experienced tender writer.

Establishing a tender reputation

Being the lowest bidder may not win you the tender. In fact, a Canadian province recently announced it is going to change its laws to favour best value over lowest bidder.

How suitable goods or services are, the ability to supply long-term, environmental considerations and the length of warranties can all affect a bid. These are all elements that a business may not have thought about, but they are common considerations for a professional tender writer.

A tender is a complicated document containing legal and ethical complexities that may be beyond a business’s capabilities. Success brings not only immediate financial gain, but long-term benefits.

When a business becomes recognised as a reliable contender that understands the tender system, it’s more likely to win other tenders. Hiring a tender writer to start you on the right path is a wise investment in your business’s future.

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Bluegum Communication – Australia
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