Pre-engagement is the key to successful tendering
Don’t wait until a tender is on the open market.
This was the key take-away from the buyer panel at yesterday’s TenderCon2 event hosted at the Science Gallery.
Pre-engagement strategies came under the spotlight during the morning as Paul Quinn, CEO of the Office of Government Procurement (OGP), Sean Bresnan, Head of Procurement, HSE, Ingrid de Doncker, CEO, IDDEA and Nitika Agarwal, COO, Apolitical shared various tactics and insights that help SMEs win tenders.
Change the way you win in 2018 https://t.co/mWrvyct7s2
— TenderScout (@tenderscout) March 6, 2018
Take a long-term view
The size of the prize for SMEs that invest in a long-term view when it comes to tenders is considerable. Paul Quinn confirmed that approximately €1 million is spent every hour each day on goods and services by the OGP.
Gaining a slice of this lucrative pie is simpler than believed. Established processes are in place to help SMEs successfully win tenders. But the onus is also on SMEs to implement activities prior to tenders being announced.
- Get to know the buyers
- Prior to a tender competition being run, it’s fine to make contact with a buyer. In fact, it’s actively encouraged. Buyers’ details are easily found with a little internet research.
- SMEs with innovative solutions in their areas are especially advised to make themselves known. Ingrid de Doncker highlighted that the EU is investing €142 million in innovation over the next two years to future-proof areas relating to the three Ps; people, planet and profit.
- Start small
- Tony Corrigan, founder and CEO of TenderScout, stressed how frequently government buyers tell him they want to work with smaller and newer companies but these companies don’t make contact with them. It worth SMEs offering to do small pieces of work for modest rates to build a relationship with a buyer. Not only does this approach introduce the SME to public procurement, it also paves the way for more work, on larger contracts.
- Nitika Agarwal reminded the audience that EU procurement rules kick in at certain thresholds, and that requirements are simpler below these thresholds. SMEs are losing out on winning contracts worth €10,000 (for example) because they’re too focused on competing for tenders worth €60,000.
- Engage with the users too
- Sean Bresnan encouraged SMEs to highlight their understanding of the consumer that’ll be using the services or goods the tender is seeking to procure. Being able to demonstrate this knowledge goes a long way to reassuring buyers that they’re awarding a tender to the right supplier.
— TenderScout (@tenderscout) March 5, 2018
Get to know the rules
“Tenders are run according to EU procurement law,” Paul Quinn reminded the more than 80 SMEs in the audience.
The requirements placed on suppliers are there to ensure that transparency and fairness are adhered to for every company.
“Don’t try to submit your proposal after the deadline, answer the questions asked in the tender and find out early on whether you need to use external services (such as a commissioner of oaths),” cautioned Paul Quinn.
Too many SMEs sabotage their chances of success by making these basic errors.
Sean Bresnan provided a summary of what SMEs have to show in their proposals.
“Demonstrate the how (the job will be done), the who (which people will do the job) and the how much (cost),” he said to create the best proposal possible.
After TenderCon2, SMEs have a much clearer idea just how to make a start prior to reaching proposal stage.