Tendering and Procurement Series – Part 1
Guides|by Gabrielle Alvear|12 September 2022
A Guide To Procurement and Tenders
Winning contracts can be difficult and overwhelming in today's competitive markets, especially for small to medium businesses. With the help of our friends at HERE Technologies we've written a two-part guide on what to expect as part of the process and how to make the most of your application.
What to Expect in Part 1
- Understanding the Process
- Getting on the Tender Distribution List
- Getting Organized
Where to Begin
1. Understanding the Process
The tender process formalizes a bid or an offer which then leads to securing a contract. There are regulations that define the type of tender and therefore some tenders have different procedures. It is important to understand the stages and milestones of each tender and how you can meet the qualifications at each stage. Very often, the stage of the tendering process defines the kind of effort and resources you need to spend to respond.
Each contract and tendering process is different. We suggest, that in the initial conversation (before a tender is known), ask and understand if and how the solution will be procured. This will help to manage expectations on the sales cycle and improve potential business forecasting.
Variations in the Process
The processes vary depending on what is tendered and across various countries and regions. For example, with Data, Maps and other corresponding solutions, you can find them categorized under “IT Services.” The tendering party typically initiates and selects the type of process. For many tenders, this may include:
- Market Consultation / Request for Information (RFI)
- Bid / Request for Quote (Optionally, this is followed by a negotiation phase where details are clarified “face-to-face”)
Sometimes, RFI is used for qualification and short-listing to narrow down the potential bidders to a manageable amount.
Get the team involved
Additionally, depending on the size of your company, the various stages in a tender process also indicate who you might need to prepare and make final decisions. We recommend that you ensure that the tendering process is understood at a high-level by all team members working and supporting the tender. Aside from the technical project teams, this applies to other departments and especially legal. Common questions addressed by the strategy are direct vs. and in-direct bid, sub-contracting necessities, and budget alignment.
2. Getting on the Tender Distribution List
Public or Private Sector?
Private sector businesses can pretty much do what they want. They’ll have their own procurement rules and processes but they don’t need publish tenders in advance. If there are particular businesses you’d like to work with you’ll need to build direct relationships with the relevant stakeholders and stay front of mind. When they are ready to go to market, hopefully you’ll be on their shortlist.
Public sector organisations must abide by strict rules. The specific rules will very country by country but within the EU, public sector procurement rules are set within EU directives. For example, central government authorities need to publish ‘supply and service’ contracts worth above €125,000. For contracting authorities operating in water, energy, transport or postal services the threshold is €387,000.
You can search for relevant tenders, and set up notifications, here:
Look for tender platform “crawlers”. These bots are collecting information on public procurement to share information about a tender being published. These are not the formal tender portals that you will need to work in during the tender process.
3. Getting Organized
Leverage your Team’s Expertise
Like we mentioned earlier, the tendering process involves various parts of the business outside the efficacy of the product solution. Leverage your company’s subject matter experts to help prepare for the bid and answer the buyer’s tender questions knowledgeably and succinctly. Who are your go-to contacts for:
- Business registration details
- Insurance certificates
- Benefits and value proposition of your solutions
- Qualifications and experience of your team
- Historical wins and business success
- Case Studies
- Systems relevant to the tender
- Technical information
Templates & Tender Items
After identifying your key knowledge experts, be sure to get the standard content together and approved internally in advance. The responses you provide for the tender closely relates to the type and process of the tender. In many cases, the buyer will provide a set of templates that you need to comply with. Ensure that you make use of their templates and follow their specific formatting rules. If not exclusively asked for, do not apply your own documents and branding. Doing this without consent, may lead to a reason for its exclusion.
Typical items tendering parties ask for:
- Commercial offer / pricing sheet
Consider tender budget, currency and pricing structure
- Solution description
Focus on relevance to the topic asked for and use figures when useful
- Team introduction
Ensure you promote the roles for this tender
- References / case studies
Be as precise and relevant to the topic as possible
- Feedback on the contract
Ensure you highlight feedback from your legal department. Make sure you don’t apply company guidelines which are uncommon in public tendering (e.g. audit rights are uncommon in public tendering).
Now that you've started, here's how you can prepare and submit your responses
Be sure to check out Part 2 in this blog series to learn how to prepare your responses as well as some top tips on submitting and follow up on your responses.
For questions or additional support, especially if you're working on a mapping related tender, please get in touch and we'll do everything we can to help.
Contact Grey Matter
If you have any questions or want some extra information, complete the form below and one of the team will be in touch ASAP. If you have a specific use case, please let us know and we'll help you find the right solution faster.
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