Ace your next panel or prequalification submission! Here’s how…

Back at school we bet you liked exams, right?

(What's that, "not really", you say?) Would it surprise you to know that quite a few of the Plan A team loved exams – and responding to an RFP or completing a Prequalification assessment is a bit like sitting a particularly complex and lengthy exam. There's only one chance to prove to the evaluators that your company is the best choice for their important contract.

Supplier panels are no different. You still need to put your best foot forward or risk missing out.

And with buyers such as Auckland Transport, the Ministry of Education, Housing NZ, and Wellington City Council actively establishing Supplier Panels over the last year – a trend that's likely to continue in 2018 – those exam-type situations are going to keep on coming.

Plan A has helped clients respond to Supplier Panels RFPs in all sorts of sectors: from civil and vertical construction, to engineering and legal professional services. We also recently helped a client achieve a 90% score on their H&S Impac PREQUAL rating (and we’re now helping them to improve their score by documenting their Business Continuity Plan).

As supplier panels and prequalification continue to gain momentum, here are our top tips for more high-fives all round:

1. Get to grips with the requirements, early on.
As with any tendering opportunity, read through all the documentation and develop a plan. While some panels remain ‘open’ for evaluation over the course of the coming year or longer, others have strict deadlines. Understand submission requirements quickly and respond accordingly, or face missing out on future (and significant) opportunities.

2. If submission is via an online portal, check for 'hidden' questions so you're not faced with a last-minute panic just before the deadline.

3. Make it easy for the evaluators. 
Particularly in a Panel or Prequalification situation, the evaluators might need to read and assess up to 20 applications, or more. Provide relevant proof or evidence of your experience or practice (don't assume they know everything about your business and track record). Label any supporting information or files to be uploaded logically and clearly. For example, file names that may seem obvious to you may not be equally as obvious to the evaluation team.

For absolute top marks, consider making your submission a team effort. (It might pay to have someone on your team that loved exams at school ...)