We want to bid but …

Over the course of a year, one company can submit 100 tenders which requires a lot of time and resource, so the process must be fair, clear and worthwhile. Procurement professionals across local government have noted a decrease in the number of bids they receive which is due to several factors ranging from viability to lack of time.

To get the best possible value from the tendering process, it is essential that all eligible contenders bid. This drives competition to achieve the best possible value and pushes bidders to think outside the box to deliver innovation and time and cost efficiencies.

The Plan A team asked clients what they would like procurement professionals to know to make bidding easier and more attractive:

1. Ask us

We design, build and maintain valuable, essential, high value assets with you and for you. So please ask us what tendering process will achieve your objectives. This sets the scene for collaboration and transparency from the outset and has us thinking about your project before the tender comes to market.

2. Clear messages and thoughtful questions

Share as much as you can with us. Allow us to understand what you want, what you are going to do and how you are going to do it.

So often, tender documentation comes to market and the outcome you want is unclear. When developing the evaluation criteria, consider what you want to see in the answers and draft questions accordingly. Rolling out an RFT with a set of generic questions means there is focus on compliance rather than value and innovation. Make us think!

We scrutinise documents. We look at the language, your drivers and objectives. For example, noting that traffic management will be a key focus area for you means it will be one for us too and reflected in the attributes and pricing. If the requirement is simply a cut and paste from another document, it compromises our chances of winning.

3. Don’t penalise us on location

Several clients noted they are disregarded purely on location. While the new Government Procurement Rules encourage using the local supply chain, appointing a contractor from another region can also develop your region. Consider asking a specific question on what we will bring which may even include opening a branch and creating employment opportunities for locals.

4. Be clear and play fair

Make sure that all potential tenderers are treated and seen to be treated equally and fairly. Take particular care when changing a requirement or when exercising discretion, for example allowing one tenderer to sharpen their pencil or provide additional information after the bid is closed is not fair. If we feel this is compromised, it is unlikely we’ll bid for your work in a hurry.

5. Why the rush?

On a recent tender one of our clients was asked why they only bid for two of three regions. Their response: because there was no time. This compromised an exceptional value for money solution for the council in question. If you are not in a rush to appoint a company, give us ample time to submit our responses and for you to evaluate them.

6. Tell us why we won or lost

Take time at the end of the process to sit down with bidders to discuss why we were unsuccessful. This not only helps us understand the shortcomings in our bids but also gives us a clearer picture of what you like to see in your bids. It is also an opportunity to build relationships that will make us want to bid to you again which in turn provides more bidders wanting to deliver better value and drives innovation.

If you're looking for help on developing your tender, please give us a call on 0800 PLANAA (752 622) or send us an email at info@plana.co.nz. And if you're an evaluator looking for help to get the best submissions from your tenderers, talk to Caroline Boot on 021 722 005.