Planning tenders properly is often overlooked. All too frequently we receive a desperate phone call from someone asking for help when the tender or PQQ is due in tomorrow! Even if we had any capacity, there really isn’t enough time to do a professional job. Here are some simple tips on planning tenders and PQQs:
The Correct Approach to Planning Tenders and PQQs
1. Start Early!
The earlier you start, the more time you have. Also getting started early takes away some of the pressure of the task looming ahead.
2. Start a Bid File
Get everything you need in one place for easy access and reference. This will save time in future. I always recommend a paper file as it’s easier to make notes. Then ring-bind it to keep everything together and in the right order order.
3. Plan & Project Manage
Setting timescales and making sure they are met will help you meet deadlines. So do follow up with colleagues to check everything is on target.
4. Read the ITT & Instructions (TWICE)
You can easily miss things first time around so always re-read. Also get other members of your team to read to make sure you have not missed or misunderstood anything.
5. Check Commercial Conditions
Firstly you need to make sure you are happy signing up to their contract. Secondly there may be some important information hidden away in the conditions eg monthly meetings or service level agreements (you may need to respond to these in your tender submission).
6. If in Doubt Ask
If there are aspects of the ITT or PQQ that you are unsure of, ask for clarification. Making a wrong assumption carries a 50/50 chance of getting it wrong. People often shy away from doing this but always ask!
7. Create Check List
1. Requirements – what’s needed?
2. Deadlines – by when?
3. Responsibilities – who’s doing what?
8. Try to Understand What They Really Want
Most tenders want ‘best quality’ and ‘best value for money’ but what else is required? A bit of research may reveal what they really want to achieve – if you can show understanding and then meet this, you stand a far better chance of success.
9. Research Prospect & Competitors
More understanding of the prospect and the competition always helps! If you are bidding for public sector or corporate contracts, they all have extensive websites full of useful information. The same normally applies to your competitors.
10. Big bids take time & money!
Be aware of this so make sure you have the resources and if necessary…
Is this right for you? Qualify each tenders – decide to bid or not.
12. Aim to Finish Early
Planning tenders to finish early gives you some contingency if things go wrong! But more more importantly it allows time to give the submission the ‘overnight test’ i.e. leave it and read it again the next day when your mind is fresh – this is when you will see all the little mistakes and areas or improvement.
Proper planning when preparing tenders or PQQs does pay off. They do take a lot of time and use a lot of resources. As such they cost money but the payback is a nice big contract win. So do use these 12 Steps of planning tenders and PQQs.
Any more ideas on planning tenders?