The 10 rules of painless procurement – from both sides

The 10 rules of painless procurement – from both side

A few weeks ago I picked up on a tweet about the tender process from @

As we had all been involved in the procurement process (from both sides) we decided to come up with a few tips on how to manage the process – if you are looking to submit a tender or if you are looking for a supplier.

We used a shared google doc to come up with several ideas, tips, experiences and these are our top 10 for both! I hope that you find it useful.

by Scott Hewitt, Tim McShane and Kevin Mulryne

Rules for bidders (tendering for work and filling in the forms)

Rules for clients (writing the tender docs and running the tender process)

1 Make sure you are in possession of all the available facts

Ask to see the grid the team will be using to judge the bid so you can make sure you have each area covered.

1 Know what you want

Ideas cost money and time. If you don’t know what you need it’s a specification that you should write, not a tender.

2 It’s all in the preparation

Read the given criteria carefully and plan to match what you are producing as closely to the requirements as you can.

2 Tell bidders if they are likely to be wasting their time

If you are going to have a threshold based on company turnover (or some other criteria which will automatically exclude bidders) let people know.

Why allow people to write a whole tender when they are never really able to be a supplier?

3 Be sensible with your time – and money

If you don’t like the tender, project or the idea behind it – don’t submit a response!

3 Be open about your requirements

If you want environment, QHSE policy etc. explain why you want them and the relevance to the tender.

Provide bidders with a scoring matrix so they can concentrate their efforts on what you think is important.

4 Pay attention to the process of filling in the form

Make sure you have plenty of time to write the whole return – uneven sections read badly and create a bad impression.

If it’s an online form, go in and get the questions then create answers offline to copy and paste in later – don’t try and compose answers ‘live’ on the system.

4 Give bidders some guidance on word count

Consider limiting the number of words for each question – this will make returns easier to compare and focus bidders’ attention on what you think is important.

5 Be a bit pedantic about language

Check spelling, punctuation and grammar – mistakes can put off the more exacting employers – or those who are looking for ways to differentiate between close competitors.

5 Make it simple

The PQQ is meant to be an introductory, pre-qualification process. 40 page documents are not helpful to anyone. You will get stock answers.

Why not have an initial, high-level PQQ that covers the main important issues? If you pass that then provide the more detailed PQQ.

6 Answer the questions which are asked, where they are asked

Answer the questions which are given – don’t give ‘stock’ answers copied from elsewhere.

In multi-part tender returns, write a new answer for each section – don’t copy and paste between sections as they will probably be read by the same rater and this can give a negative impression.

6 Be transparent about money

While you want best value, providing an indicative budget allows clients to be innovative within a framework.

If you have a budget of £20k and then receive ideas which cost £60k that you can’t use everyone has wasted their time and effort.

7 Keep it real

Only use real evidence – exaggerated or invented experience can be checked – especially when you are in a small area of work – the rater may well know the situation you are exaggerating/inventing details about!

7 Keep it real

Don’t run a procurement process and ask for tenders if you don’t have the budget to do the project.

Also just getting quotes for comparison and having no intention of using the client for a real project is unfair.

8 Raters are people too!

Remember that if a team are looking at a bid then some of them won’t be experts in every area so write for them as well as for the experts.

8 Use realistic and fair timescales

Be sensible about your time deadline. People need time to put a tender together.

Also if you set the tender make sure that you meet your own deadline for feedback and decisions.

9 Use your best people

Each section of a bid will be reviewed – potentially by an expert. Get an expert at your end to look at the bid so it isn’t obvious that sufficient time hasn’t been spent on key sections.

9 Respect your bidders

Provide detailed feedback on successful and unsuccessful tenders.

Respect ideas and concepts within a tender response. If you want to use them, you should pay for them!

10 Check it…and then check it again

Make sure you check the document you are sending out. One of us found someone’s comments left in saying, “No one will read this section so just put anything in.” Needless to say….

10 Play nicely

It’s a relationship – you both need each other. Be clear about what you both want from the project.

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The 10 rules of painless procurement – from both sides

One Response

  1. Thanks for a VERY useful post.

    Rob Alton November 16, 2010 at 11:42 am #

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