For many organisations, but particularly SMEs, public sector tendering opportunities are an important way of securing new business, with hundreds of local contracts in every industry published every week.
The key to winning public sector tenders lies in knowing where to find the best information, choosing the appropriate contract size and building good relationships, according to Aberdeen-based electronic tendering provider Millstream.
“A number of European governments and public authorities now handle procurement electronically in order to save money and time and to comply with the latest EU legislation so there are literally thousands of opportunities out there,” said managing director Tim Williams.
“It may be better to go for smaller ones to start with, and look at who has previously awarded contracts, who won it and why, the value and duration of the contract. When deciding whether or not to bid, pick your best prospects and focus on the ones you think you have the best chance of securing, while balancing it with existing work.
“Build a relationship with potential clients – competitors may already be working with them and if you’re not, you are starting at a disadvantage.
“Information should be easy to read, clearly indexed and you should state what you can offer, when you will do it and what the cost will be – ensure you can demonstrate that your business is big enough to cope if you are awarded the contract. The easier you can make it for the procurement officer the greater the chance of making it through to the next stage.”
As well as operating the Public Contracts Scotland portal on behalf of the Scottish Government and the equivalent for Norway, Millstream runs the Tenders Direct website. This provides private companies with comprehensive information on new business opportunities from the government, local authorities, emergency services, NHS trusts and the armed forces.
It also runs myTenders, a tender publication and management service used by more than 700 public organisations in the UK to submit fully compliant contract notices to the Official Journal of the European Union and Contracts Finder.