Category: Public procurement

Top 5 bid writing mistakes: Too little, too late

In this series of posts, I am addressing the common errors that occur time and time again when writing bids. Below is our 4th post and will address the following mistake:

Too little, too late

Leaving work to the last minute. We’ve all done it. It is something that both large and small businesses alike struggle with and with bids it can be critical to your chances of success.

With no guarantee of winning, it is more challenging for businesses to assign the necessary resources needed to give it a strong chance of success. The difficulties in writing a submission, and the time it takes to do so, are often underestimated. These factors often combine which results in an 11th hour panic and sub-par outcomes.

You’ll need a sound project management approach in order to tackle the resourcing requirements of submitting a bid, which could mean temporarily pulling resource from other projects, something that senior management is often reticent in doing.

This is an area we see companies consistently struggle with. It might not always be apparent that there is an issue and its only if and when an unsuccessful tender is picked through that is becomes apparent there was an issue.

Some tips to avoid this:

Plan it out – by addressing our first mistake of the series, failing to prepare, you will have already identified your order of work and the dates these need to be completed  Think about how best to sequence your tasks and which ones can be done in parallel.

Learn from your mistakes – from previous submissions can you identify problem areas that required more time than expected? Can you put in safeguards to prevent this from happening again?

Set your own cut-off date – setting a date that falls before submission deadline will encourage you and your team to complete tasks sooner than needed. Slippage is common and by creating a buffer, you can give yourself time to recover should things not go as planned. If you are still writing first draft answers up to the day of submission (rather than doing final checks on revised versions) something has gone very wrong.

Ask yourself, is it worth it – if the deadline is fast approaching, is it worth putting in so much effort into a short period or would it be best to dedicate time to other tenders and creating more compelling bids. If you are finding that too little too late is a common mistake, try breaking the cycle and developing a more sustainable workflow. In a competitive sector it could be better to submit two high quality bids rather than three mediocre ones.

Ask for help – is there someone within your organisation who could help you with planning and managing your bids? If not, as the Bid Consultancy Manager at Tenders Direct, I have plenty of experience in identifying mistakes and helping bid managers achieve greater levels of efficiency. I’m always happy to discuss what actions you could take to quickly make improvements to your bid process, and help you get back on track.


For my final post, we’ll look at the the mistake of overlooking key details.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for specific help with your bid, please get in touch. Every week I help clients with their tendering, from bid writing to leading on bid responses. Use the details below to view the range of services we offer or to contact me directly. 

Tel: 07384 818 704
E-mail: andrew.watson@proactis.com  
Web: View our training and consultancy services 


Other posts in the Top 5 Bid Writing mistakes series:
1 – Failing to prepare and preparing to fail
2 – Biting off more than you can chew
3 – Not knowing how your pricing fits into your strategy
5 – Overlooking key details

Top Contract Award Notices this week 10/04/2020

In the last week, over 550 contract award notices were published across the UK – below you will find three of the top notices from the last 7 days. 


Title: United Kingdom-Caerphilly: Tyres for heavy/light-duty vehicles
Published By: National Procurement Service (Welsh Government)
Date Published: 03 April 2020
Framework/DPS: Yes
Value excluding VAT: £64,000,000.00
Number of tenders received: 9
Contractors: Vaculug Technologies, Tructyre Fleet Management Ltd, Direct Tyre Management Ltd, Exhaust,Tyres and Batteries (Worcester)Ltd, Inn Tyres Ltd, Kp Tyres, Tuf Treads, Protyre-Celtic Tyres

Access the full tender notice with your Tenders Direct login details HERE


Title: United Kingdom-Runcorn: Pharmaceutical products
Published By: The NHS Commissioning Board (Operating Under the Name of NHS England)
Date Published: 07 April 2020
Framework/DPS: Yes
Value excluding VAT: £445,000,000.00
Number of tenders received: 6
Contractors: AbbVie Ltd, Amgen Ltd, Biogen Ltd, Fresenius Kabi Ltd.

Access the full tender notice with your Tenders Direct login details HERE


Title: United Kingdom-Bedford: Construction work for highways, roads
Published By: Bedford Borough Council
Date Published: 09 April 2020
Framework/DPS: No
Value excluding VAT: £20,000,000.00
Number of tenders received: 4
Contractors: Hanson Quarry Products Europe Ltd

Access the full tender notice with your Tenders Direct login details HERE


Are your competitors listed above? Would you like to know their public sector success rate, market share and the types of opportunities they’re targeting? 
With our Competitor Tracking Alerts, you can view their past wins with our five year archive of award notices, and receive alerts when any organisation(s) you choose are announced as winners of above threshold public contracts. 
For more information, please contact us on 0800 222 9009 to discuss further. 

Public sector contracts are still being published

While things may seem a little uncertain, we can assure you that there are still plenty of public sector contracts being published. We are keeping track of the number of  tenders we source, categorise and publish each day, and we have to say it’s looking good.

In March 2020 we saw: 

  • 2,938 new UK public sector tenders for March 2020 
  • 1003 new ROI public sector tenders for March 2020 
  • 20537 new EU public sector tenders for March 2020 

At the time of writing, on Tenders Direct we have: 

  • 2397 live UK tenders 
  • 885 live ROI tenders 
  • 20513 Live EU tenders 

These numbers mean there are an incredible number of opportunities for you to secure business now and in the future.

If you supply the public sector with goods or services that are in high demand right now, please keep an eye out for notices with accelerated timescales. Recent UK policy changes allow public sector buyers to speed up tendering procedures in order to secure resources as a ‘matter of urgency’.  

There may be increased competition for tenders with companies exploring new options of securing future business. If you have any doubts about the quality of your submissions, and would like some assistance, we do offer a range of virtual consultancy services.
Our experts can review your bids and highlight where you are going wrong or even take a more active role in the preparation of your submissions. 
If you would like any support, please get in touch on 0800 222 9009 or at support@tendersdirect.co.uk 

New Public Procurement thresholds 2020/2021

New Thresholds

The European Commission published the updated procurement thresholds for 2020/2021 on the 31st of October 2019.

There is still much uncertainty about what will happen next with a confirmed Brexit delay until 31st of January. Much will depend of the results of the upcoming election on the 12th of December 2019.

For now, United Kingdom remains a part of European Union and the new thresholds will therefore apply from 1st of January 2020.

Regulation

The Regulations set out detailed procedures for the award of contracts whose value equals or exceeds the procurement thresholds. Details of the Regulations are given below.

England, Wales and Northern IrelandScotland
The Public Contracts Regulations 2015The Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015
The Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016The Utilities Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2016
The Concession Contracts Regulations 2016The Concession Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2016
The Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations 2011

Social and other specific services are subject to the ‘light touch regime’ as described in a previous blog.

Public Contracts

Thresholds are exclusive of VAT.

 Supply, Services and Design ContractsWorks ContractsSocial and other specific services
Central Government

£122,976

€139,000

£4,733,252

€5,350,000

£663,540

€750,000

Other Contracting Authorities

£189,330

€214,000

£4,733,252

€5,350,000

£663,540

€750,000

Small Lots

£70,778

€80,000

£884,720

€1,000,000

n/a

Small lot is a contract, or part of a contract, that is exempt from the public procurement rules. You can read more about it here.

Utility Contracts

Thresholds are exclusive of VAT.

 Supply, Services and Design ContractsWorks ContractsSocial and other specific services
Utility Authorities

£378,660

€428,000

£4,733,252

€5,350,000

£884,720

€1,000,000

Concession Contracts

Thresholds are exclusive of VAT.

 Concession Contracts
Authorities

£4,733,252

€5,350,000

Defence and Security Contracts

Thresholds are exclusive of VAT.

 Supply, Services and Design ContractsWorks ContractsSocial and other specific services
Defence and Security Authorities

£378,660

€428,000

£4,733,252

€5,350,000

n/a

 

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Timescales under the 2015 Public Contracts Regulations – updated

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We regularly receive queries regarding the minimum timescales that apply in each type of procurement procedure. These timescales specify the number of calendar days required between a notice being sent to the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) for publication and the deadline for submission of responses.

The timescales can often cause concern with both suppliers and buyers due to the delay between submission of a notice to the OJEU and it’s publication. It can take at least 48 hours for a notice to be published after it is submitted, during which time there is an embargo on it being advertised nationally (for more information please see this blog).

Continue reading “Timescales under the 2015 Public Contracts Regulations – updated”

Framework Agreements: What You Need to Know

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What are framework agreements?

Frameworks are “umbrella agreements” that sets out the terms – particularly relating to price, quality and quantity – under which individual contracts (call-offs) can be awarded throughout the period of the agreement (normally a maximum of 4 years). They are typically used when the buyer(s) identify a need for specific products or services but are unsure of the scope or time-frame.

Continue reading “Framework Agreements: What You Need to Know”

A Closer Look: The Fix

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In our last blog we outlined the challenge faced by suppliers when attempting to find suitable public sector contracts. Missing out on just one opportunity – particularly a framework agreement which can encompass many invitations to tender – is a nightmare scenario for any company. In this post we focus on how Tenders Direct prevents lucrative public work from passing our customers by.

Continue reading “A Closer Look: The Fix”

A Closer Look: The Challenge

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All businesses exist to overcome some sort of challenge on behalf of their clients. At Tenders Direct, we specialise in helping suppliers find – and win – public sector contracts. But aren’t public contract notices in the public domain? Surely this information is easy to find? Well, much like a needle in a haystack, relevant tenders for your business are out there but locating them is another matter.

Continue reading “A Closer Look: The Challenge”

Case Study: Bridgeway Consulting Ltd

Queen_s Award

Bridgeway receives The Queen‘s Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development – 2017

In this case study we speak to Business Development Specialist Tom Foster to find out more about Bridgeway Consulting Ltd and their experience of using Tenders Direct.

Continue reading “Case Study: Bridgeway Consulting Ltd”

Upcoming Free Webinars

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Looking to learn but too pushed for time? With our free webinars you can join us on your lunch break or watch previous recordings at your leisure. Lasting no longer than an hour, we cover a variety of topics relevant to suppliers. Our next live sessions explore different types of tenders, why they are important, and how to find and win them.

 

Finding and Winning Low Value Tenders – Tuesday 17th July 1.00pm – 1.45pm

Low value tenders can be of huge value to suppliers of any size, but are not subject to the full raft of regulatory requirements and can be difficult to find. This webinar provides:

  • An explanation of what low value tenders are
  • Advice on why they are useful for suppliers
  • An explanation of how to access them
  • An outline of what rules and regulations govern low value tenders

Book your place!

 

Frameworks and DPS – Wednesday 18th July 1.00pm – 2pm

The use of Frameworks and Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPS) is on the rise, but many suppliers are unsure of exactly what they are and how they work. This webinar provides:

  • A description of what a framework is and how it operates
  • A description of a DPS and how it differs from a framework
  • An explanation of how to find these opportunities
  • Examples of ‘call-off’ mini competitions from frameworks and DPS

Book your place!

 

View details of our full day training courses

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