It’s a generally accepted fact by those in the industry, that no two tenders are the same but, equally, there are some ‘basic tender requirements’ that, if adhered to, will stand you in good stead when you embark on the tender process; documents such as policies, procedures, years of trading / turnover, insurances, case studies, references and accreditations. Allow us to elaborate…
A pro-active approach will enable you to concentrate your efforts on the specifics of a particular bid rather than spend time compiling documents that are considered standard fare for a tendering exercise. Documents such as…
It’s good practice to always have an updated version of the following:
Health & Safety Policy – formally sets out the health and safety procedures.
Quality Assurance Policy – governs an organisation’s quality assurance programme.
Business Continuity Policy – identifies an organisation’s exposure to internal and external threats and plans to ensure that critical services are delivered during periods of disruption.
Risk Assessment – used to identify hazards and risks that may impact on a company’s ability to function and how they can be mitigated.
Equality Policy – sets out an organisation’s commitment to tackle discrimination and promote equality and diversity.
Environmental Policy – summarises the organisation’s stance towards the environment in which it operates.
Processes and procedures – Always ensure that your company procedures and work-flow processes are documented and maintained.
Invariably a tender submission will require you to detail how you intend to provide the service. If your procedures are already in black and white it becomes a simpler task of adapting them to the questions asked in the tender documents.
Similarly, as with your policy documents, costs that pertain to your business operation should be documented and updated. Subsequently this will make the financial requirements of the tender much easier to complete. Typically, items such as ‘cost per unit’ and the ‘average overhead rate’ should be recorded periodically and then slotted into the bid documents where appropriate.
Also your statement of accounts for, preferably, three years of trading is likely to be requested when tendering. It is always advisable to obtain an electronic copy of your accounts in readiness.
It will be beneficial to include details of previous jobs you have delivered, listing down key information such as ‘the clients’ original need’, ‘your proposal’ and ‘the outcome’. It’s always good to include, if possible, a reference to the clients’ satisfaction, such as a testimonial.
By having this information to hand it will make transferring it into your tenders much easier, with no need to try and recall the details at a potentially stressful time.
In a similar way that when starting a new job, your new employer will ask for references, a new prospective contractor will be equally keen to hear from those you have provided services for in the recent past. Therefore you will need to have a selection of potential referees available and willing to offer a kind word with regard to the services you have provided them.
It is good practice to obtain industry relevant levels of insurance cover as all tenders will require you to have insurances in place.
Ensure you keep safe all documents pertaining to accreditations that your company may have earned (such as the ISO 9001).
Clearly every tender is different, and there will always be specific questions for which it’s impossible to plan, but if your bid library is as comprehensive as it can possibly be, you are off to an excellent start.