Tag: procurement

Top 5 bid writing mistakes: Not knowing how your pricing fits into your strategy

In this series of posts, I am addressing the common errors that occur time and time again when writing bids. Below is our 3rd post and will address the following mistake: 

Not knowing how your pricing fits into your strategy 

Often businesses, or the individual in charge of tenders, will focus on pricing for a tender, but there is a need for a more comprehensive decision-making process of which price is only a part, albeit an important one. In other words, agreeing one number is not a strategy. A price should be agreed upon following the implementation of an overall bid strategy and not the other way around, or in isolation from the bid strategy.  These are the main issues we see, where pricing is either decided on its own, or looked at too late and not aligned to the offer as a whole. Either approach isn’t fit for purpose as there is always a need to understand the drivers behind your prices.  
 
For example, you should ask yourself: 

  • What is the context of your chosen prices in regard to your entire offer? 
  • Are you able to offer unique value adding services or are your competitors able to offer exactly the same? 

Knowing the competitive environment and the key drivers for the customer are paramount to making good decisions.  The prices need to balance your chances of success with the value derived for the contract, which won’t be possible if you don’t give your pricing the time and contemplation it deserves. 

There are ways to look at this in more detail. For example, from our contract award database we could provide you with information about who specific contracts were awarded to and their values going back five years. From here it would be possible, by looking at the spend reports from individual public sector authorities, to start estimating how much incumbent suppliers are charging for their services. This type of analysis can help prevent your pricing strategy from being a shot in the dark.  
 
If you are interested in using contract award data to inform your pricing strategies, you might be interested in our Competitor Tracking Alerts. Not only do we offer a five year archive of contract awards, you can also track an unlimited number of competitors and receive alerts whenever they win high value public contracts.


For my next post, we’ll look at the the issues associated with leaving things to the last moment.

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: 07384818704
E-mail: andrew.watson@proactis.com  
Web: View our training and consultancy services 

How are our Reviewers getting on?

To provide you with full coverage of public sector tenders from the UK, ROI and OJEU, we rely on our dedicated Review Team. Their role within Tenders Direct is to read, analyse and categorise every English-language contract published in the Official Journal of the European Union as well as every below-threshold notice from across the UK and Ireland. 

Their efforts help simplify searches, and ensure our customers never miss a tender. 

For this post I contacted Cameron, one of our Reviewers, to see how his team are getting on, and to find out what impact lockdown has had on the tenders they are reviewing.  

Q. What is your team working on at the moment? 
We are continuing to review the tenders that come in every day and ensuring our customers are alerted to these opportunities. In the background, we are working on various projects that will help maintain the efficiency and understanding of the review process. 

Q. What are you guys doing to overcome social distancing and isolation? 
Various video calls, to make sure we are seeing faces, hearing voices and checking in on each other. I’ve gone from only ever doing 1 or 2 video calls in my life to about 1 every day! 

Q. How did your team find adapting to homeworking? 
Very difficult to start with. The hardest thing to start with is getting your ergonomics correct so you are comfortably working. After that, the next challenge was adopting routines for the working day – such as taking short breaks away from the screen, switching off at the end of the day and new habits to help with concentration.  

I’m very appreciative of the technology we have in place, it really has allowed us to continue doing what we do with minimal disruption – I do however miss the every day human interaction!  

Q. Have you noticed a difference in the number of tenders being published? 
At the start of the social distancing measures, there were a few days where there were not many coming through, but as the weeks have passed, we are noticing more and more. Where it might be a quieter day from the OJEU, we can usually rely on a good number coming through from the below value threshold tenders.

We have certainly seen an increase in PPE (gloves, masks, clothing) since the lockdown. All research tenders have not been affected and anything desk based has been business as usual. In the last couple of weeks , we’ve seen a big jump in construction tenders which is very promising. 

I think the main thing that has stuck out is that tenders from Ireland have been continuous and when there was a decrease from others, there was certainly a continuation if not an increase in the number of tenders from Ireland.

Q. What has been the most useful tool or app for your team? 
Certainly Teams has been a blessing in group conversations. It’s allowed us to have group messages, video messaging as well as sharing screens – which has really helped collaboration and training. 

Q. Have you adopted any new working habits you think your team will keep? 
I think the use of video technology is going to be very interesting going forward. In terms of habits, I think I could be more active than I was on my lunch breaks, and it will be something I aim to keep up. 


Many of the contracts our Reviewers see have unusual or vague descriptions. We’re the only tender alert service that ensures a person reads each and every tender listed on the site. By categorising each tender they process, they help make our searches more accurate and ensure customers only get alerted to the most relevant opportunities.  

You can try our category search out for yourself and even request a free sample alert to see the real value our Review Team adds. If you would like to find out more about our services, please leave a comment below or get in touch on 0800 222 9009. 

What are my chances of winning a tender?

A lot of people seem to have doubts about their chances of winning, and this is a very common question. 

Q: Is there any chance of winning at all? 
 
Of course there is! Bidding is not like the lottery, where winning is purely down to luck, it’s usually a very fair process. Your chance of winning depends on the quality of your submission and how it compares to your competition.  
 
The psychology of bidding is a quite complex and expansive topic.  It’s natural to get down on the process if you are consistently getting unsuccessful letters. The reality is that tenders are nearly always published in good faith and are designed to identify the best suppliers to then award the work to. If your results are consistently not what you would hope for then you need to reflect on what is going wrong, rather than just blaming the process.   

At the risk of giving away trade secrets, proposals measure two things; 

  1. Your capability to meet the buyer’s requirements
  2. Your capability to complete tenders to a high standard. 

You normally need both to be successful. Being great at one and terrible at the other won’t work. It’s worth reflecting on where you think you have issues:  
 
Are you not winning work that you feel is absolutely perfect for you and you have a great track record of delivering? It’s probably your tendering that’s letting you down.  
 
Are you bidding for things speculatively that you don’t really have experience delivering?  Then it’s probably your organisational capability. 

Always ask (and ask again if required!) for feedback from each and every unsuccessful tender.  Use this feedback, and do an internal debrief (lessons learned) after each submission. This should help you identify where the issues lie and drive improvements for future submissions. Don’t despair, just be honest and the ways to improve should be clear. 


If you have your own questions or are 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: 07384818704
E-mail: andrew.watson@proactis.com  
Web: View our training and consultancy services 

Top 5 bid writing mistakes: Biting off more than you can chew

In this series of posts, I’m addressing the common errors that occur time and time again when writing bids. Below is our 2nd post and will address the following mistake: 

Biting off more than you can chew 

Bid submissions can often be handled like a hot coal, with just one person eventually assigned to handle a submission in isolation. This inevitably leads to issues, misunderstandings or an underestimation of the time and resource required. You need to have the right people engaged and contributing to the bid from the beginning, and across the breadth of a business, in order to fully represent its capabilities. 

Too often we also see organisations respond half-heartedly to too many bids. You need a robust process in place for deciding whether to bid and then for the opportunities you do pursue, ensure that you give the bid your best effort. 

We consistently find a direct correlation between the level of resource employed in preparing proposals and success rate.  In short, bids should be a collective business effort, the more effort you put in, the better the outcomes. 

Responding to bids is a group effort, and as the person responsible for the bid, you will need to effectively manage your team to deliver the best results. To achieve this, you should consider: 

Choosing the right people – do you have the support of the key people needed to write this bid? 
Check your resources – do you have access to all the information and documents you will need, are they stored centrally for easy access? 
Setting clear goals – does your team know what they have to achieve and by when? 
Managing relationships – does your team know how their work impacts their colleagues and on time submission? 
Keeping everyone engaged – you may be keeping them informed, but are you doing it in a way that keeps them motivated and engaged? 
Tracking multiple projects – have you delegated responsibilities or utilised some form of bid management software to track progress?  
 
If you can answer these questions with a positive yes, you’ll be set-up well for tackling your submissions. If you are feeling swamped, it could be because you have taken on too much and your organisation needs to look more closely at how they are resourcing bids. If it’s because you are struggling to track the progress of multiple bids from start to finish, you need a system to support you – and I would strongly recommend Opportunity Manager. 

Opportunity Manager is available to all Tenders Direct subscribers, and is an incredibly simple yet efficient bid management tool. It’s designed to bring all of your notices into a single, customisable pipeline view – allowing you to check the status of all your bids at a glance, schedule tasks and reminders and centralise all of your bid documents. If this sounds like something you need, you can request a free demo of Opportunity Manager.


In my next post, I will cover the issues associated with not creating a proper pricing strategy.

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: 07384818704
E-mail: andrew.watson@proactis.com  
Web: View our training and consultancy services 

Changes to procurement policy: Use of Procurement Cards

The Government has been very responsive in making changes to procurement policy to help protect suppliers, their workforce and their supply chains during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their latest PPN: Use of Procurement Cards, is aimed at maintaining cashflow to suppliers, while also ensuring the public sector is able to access goods and services quickly.

What has been introduced with this PPN?
Procurement Cards are being highlighted as the preferred method for purchasing goods and services, and the key points from this document are:

  • Single transaction limit increased to £20,000 for key card holders
  • Monthly limit on procurement card spend set to £100,000
  • Monthly procurement card spend in excess of £100,000 is permissible to meet business needs.
  • Opening up of more purchase categories providing access to a greater range of goods and services.
  • Above points apply to all Central Government Departments, their Executive Agencies and Non Departmental Public Bodies.
  • Effective immediately as of 6 April 2020

What are procurement cards?
Procurement Cards are essentially charge cards used to purchase goods and services directly. These cards allow for instant payment and avoid the need to go through any forms of purchasing processes.

What is the benefit of using Procurement Cards?
The instant transactions are the major benefit to suppliers, receiving prompt will help them to protect their business, their employees and their supply chains.

By making Procurement cards the preferred payment method and increasing their spending limits, the Government is helping contracting authorities follow the instructions set out in previous PPN: Supplier relief due to COVID-19 – which focuses on prompt payment to support businesses and protect jobs during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Where can I view the full PPN: Use of Procurement Cards?
Click here to read the full PPN on GOV.uk


Top Contract Award Notices this week 17/04/2020

In the last week, over 540 contract award notices were published across the UK. Below you will find our top three notices from the last 7 days. 


Title: United Kingdom-Welwyn Garden City: Building construction work
Published By: Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Date Published: 15 April 2020
Framework/DPS: No
Value excluding VAT: £20,000,000.00
Number of tenders received: 16
Contractors: R G CarterCambridge Ltd

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


Title: United Kingdom-Didcot: Research and development services and related consultancy services
Published By: Radioactive Waste Management
Date Published: 16 April 2020
Framework/DPS: Yes
Value excluding VAT: £9,500,000.00
Number of tenders received, Lot 1: 6
Number of tenders received, Lot 2: 5
Number of tenders received, Lot 3: 5
Contractors: Cavendish Nuclear Ltd. | DBD Ltd | Frazer-Nash Ltd | Galson Sciences Ltd | Jacobs Clean Energy Ltd | NSG Environmental Ltd | Nuvia Ltd

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: 16 April 2020
Framework/DPS: Yes
Value excluding VAT: £56,543,000.00
Number of tenders received: 43
Contractors: Accord-UK Ltd | Acre Pharma Ltd | Bowmed Ibisqus Ltd | Brown and Burk UK Ltd | Consilient Health | Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd | Drugsrus Ltd | Flexipharm Austrading Ltd | Flynn Pharma Ltd | GH Pharma (UK) Ltd | Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Europe | Intrapharm Laboratories Ltd | Lucane Pharma S.A. | Mylan UK Healthcare Ltd | Orion Pharma (UK) Ltd | Piramal Critical Care Ltd | Ranbaxy (UK) Ltd | Reig Jofre Group | Synchrony Pharma | TEVA UK Ltd | Thornton and Ross Ltd | Tillomed Laboratories Ltd | Waverley Pharma Europe Ltd | Waymade plc | Zentiva Pharma UK 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. 

Changes to procurement policy: Supplier relief due to COVID-19

Businesses of all sizes are feeling the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and on March 20th the Cabinet Office issued reassurance to suppliers with the Procurement Policy Note: Supplier relief due to COVID-19. The document serves as guidance for public sector bodies on protecting suppliers, their workforce and supply chains, helping to ensure service continuity now and into the future. 

The policy changes have been put in place with immediate effect until 30 June 2020, and the key actions are:

  • Urgent review of contract portfolio and inform suppliers who they believe are at risk that they will continue to be paid as normal (even if service delivery is disrupted or temporarily suspended) until at least the end of June.
  • Put in place the most appropriate payment measures to support supplier cash flow; this might include a range of approaches such as forward ordering, payment in advance/prepayment, interim payments and payment on order (not receipt). 
  • If the contract involves payment by results then payment should be on the basis of previous invoices, for example the average monthly payment over the previous three months. 
  • Ensure invoices submitted by suppliers are paid immediately on receipt (reconciliation can take place in slower time) in order to maintain cash flow in the supply chain and protect jobs.  
  • To qualify, suppliers should agree to act on an open book basis and make cost data available to the contracting authority during this period. They should continue to pay employees and flow down funding to their subcontractors. 

As a supplier, the final point highlights that during this period, you will need to work collaboratively and ensure there is full transparency and operate on an ‘open book’ basis. This means you should share data if requested, to demonstrate the payments you receive have been used in the manner intended.  

The PPN provides full details of how public sector bodies are to respond to issues that will affect contract delivery and are a direct result of COVID-19.

Click here to read the full PPN on GOV.uk

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. 

Don’t stop bidding because of COVID-19

While catching up with our business development team, it was interesting to hear that a small number of people are choosing to postpone searching for contracts until after this pandemic. When I asked Euan Henderson, Assistant Sales Manager, what his thoughts were on this, his response was as follows:

“I talk to businesses looking for our support in finding them Public Sector contracts on a daily basis. In the last few days I’ve spoken to a handful who think they can cut costs and pick up business when things are ‘back to normal’. 

“This is a bad decision.  

“If you are waiting until after the pandemic to start bidding on tenders, think differently. The public sector will always need suppliers, so now is the time to ensure you are building a pipeline of bids and working to secure business for the future.   

“Thinking about searching for tenders yourself? Save your resources! Tenders are published on over 500 portals, meaning that without Tenders Direct, you would have to spend a LOT of time searching different sites and sifting through notices to find anything suitable. 

“Most of the businesses I’ve been speaking to are trying to be as proactive as possible, and if they are your competitors, then they are going to have plenty of business lined up over the next few months.”  

It really is important to be aware of what opportunities are out there, and that you are working towards securing business for the future. If you are proactively seeking opportunities, you may be interested in our Advanced Tender Alerts.

We have over 5 years’ worth of historical tender information to tap into, and with our advance alerts, we can let you know when contracts are due for renewal – giving you a head start of up to 6 months.

Watch our video to find out more, or get in touch to discuss further.

Sales Team: 0800 222 9009 | Customer Service: 0800 222 9010 

Top Contract Award Notices this week 03/04/2020

In the last week, over 420 contract award notices were published in the UK. This means that even though businesses across the nation are being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, public sector contracts are still being awarded, and work is being secured for the future. 

Below you will find three of the top contract award notices from the last 7 days. 


Title: United Kingdom-London: Financial and insurance services 
Published By: Financial Services Compensation Scheme 
Date Published: 27 March 2020 
Framework/DPS: No 
Value excluding VAT: £19,000,000
Number of tenders received: 1
Contractors: Deloitte LLP 

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


Title: United Kingdom-Aldgate: Hospital-bedding services 
Published By: Barts Health NHS Trust 
Date Published: 30 March 2020 
Framework/DPS: No 
Estimated value: £19,000,000 – 23,000,000 
Number of Tenders received:
Contractor: Linet UK Ltd 
 
Access the full tender notice with your Tenders Direct login details HERE


Title: United Kingdom-Chelmsford: Construction work
Published By: Essex County Council
Date Published: 30 March 2020
Framework/DPS: Yes
Value excluding VAT: £400,000,000

Lot 1, Projects Valued Between GBP 0 and GBP 1 500 000
Number of Tender received:
10
Estimated Value: £25,000,000
Contractors:
Bakers of Danbury Contracts Ltd | Beardwell Construction Limited | Borras Construction Limited | Coulson & Son Ltd | NetZero Buildings Limited | Phelan Construction Ltd | SEH French Limited | TJ Evers Ltd | O. Seaman and Son Ltd | Rose Builders Ltd

Lot 2, Projects Valued Between GBP 1 000 000 and GBP 4 500 000
Number of Tender received:
11
Estimated Value:
£100,000,000
Contractors:
Barnes Construction | Beardwell Construction Limited | ENGIE Regeneration Limited | Kier Eastern | Morgan Sindall plc | Phelan Construction | R G Carter Ipswich | TJ Evers Ltd 

Lot 3, Projects Valued Over GBP 4 000 000
Number of Tender received:
10
Estimated Value:
250,000,000
Contractors:
BAM Construction | Barnes Construction | ENGIE Regeneration Limited | John Graham (Dromore) Ltd t/a Graham Construction | Kier Eastern | Morgan Sindall plc | R G Carter Ipswich | Willmott Dixon Holdings

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. 

%d bloggers like this: