Tag: public sector

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 


Other posts in the Top 5 Bid Writing mistakes series:
1 – Failing to prepare and preparing to fail
3 – Not knowing how your pricing fits into your strategy
4 – Too little, too late
5 – Overlooking key details

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


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 

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 

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

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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

Simple Strategies for Success: Take the Initiative

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In his poem Calmly We Walk Through This April’s Day, Delmore Schwartz observed that “Time is the fire in which we burn”. Anyone familiar with tender submissions will probably have sympathy with this sentiment. After finding a promising contract, it can be quite a struggle to prepare a bid within a limited time-frame while staying on top of existing commitments.

Many suppliers tell us that racing to meet tight deadlines while wading through piles of bid documents only to be rebuffed after all their efforts makes them less inclined to bother bidding at all. This kind of “reactive tendering” can be both exhausting and futile, so what can you do differently?

Try giving yourself a head start by scoping out your targets in advance. Is there a particular buyer you’d like to contract for? If you can build even the most modest relationship with them you can gain useful intelligence about their specific needs and procurement strategy. When they go out to tender, this can help you make your bid as bespoke as possible.

Is there an existing contract that you missed out on or are now in a position to go for? If you establish when it is due for renewal and start your preparations months ahead, you’ll have much more time to perfect your pitch without feeling pressurised. This will leave competitors who only became aware of it when the tender notice was published rushing around while you calmly put the finishing touches on your submission.

Explore our free resources for suppliers

Learn how Advance Tender Alerts can give you a head start

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