The Average and the Bad – A Tale of Tender Responses

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As a trusted advisor working across private industry and government, there is little more frustrating than reviewing poor tender responses. From the perspective of the purchaser, hours of effort were expended preparing the requirements and seeking the requisite approvals to release the tender to market. Whether the quality of the tender documentation matches the expended effort is a matter for another post however, the investment from the purchaser sets an expectation to receive quality responses from qualified suppliers. From a supplier’s perspective, procurement is seen as another unbillable business development activity that may, or may not, yield profitable results.

Respondents know little about the process within the ‘Black Box of Procurement’ and understand decisions even less. So how do we bridge the gap between purchaser and supplier?

Purchasers need to take a hard look at procurement drafting. Being rigorous in this activity is crucial as unclear drafting will leave you with responses that ultimately do not meet your requirements. This review needs to assess the documented clarity in background, requirements and the outcome sought. Use plain English, bullet points, visual maps…it doesn’t matter what it looks like, but it is crucial that the detail is there. The mark of success will be when received submission have enough detail to allow respondents to understand your needs and provide sufficient detail to show their industry prowess. This will result in an effective quote that isn’t laden with assumptions and contingent pricing risk.

Respondents must clearly answer the requirements of the tender and the stated evaluation criteria. This assessment should be taken at arms-length as a tender submission is not the place for sales advertisements or sweeping motherhood statements. Evaluators will not give two hoots about your personal awards and achievements if you are being asked to provide detail of your understanding of the delivery landscape. A lack of structure and process is at best a poor first impression when you are seeking to win a new piece of work.

So, what can be done to prove tender requests and submissions to effectively bridge the gap between purchaser and supplier? There are several methods to deploy in both tender drafting and response submission preparation in order to achieve high-quality, concise and clear resultant deliverables. If you would like to understand how you can innovate your approach to increase successful outcomes, please don’t hesitate to contact Astryx for support.

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