How To Win Bids and Tenders

Wondering how to go about winning bids and tenders? Writing first-class bids isn’t an exact science – but at Win That Bid, we’ve got the expertise to help you secure your dream contracts with ease.

Top Ten Tips for Winning Tenders

1.    Be thorough: answer every question in the bid document – missing out a couple of vital questions can lose you the entire bid.

2.    Know your marketplace (competitors & pricing): spend time researching your competitors and understand their pricing prior to the bid writing process.

3.    Appeal to your reader: offer persuasive, benefit-led responses and think about the customer – what’s important to them? What are they looking for in their supplier?  Don’t simply provide a list of features – if you want to win tenders, take your responses one step further and state the benefits.

4.    Have a model: build a library of standard PQQ and tender responses – save documents such as insurance certificates, policies and yearly accounts in one place that is easily accessible by others in the company.

5.    Outdo yourself: don’t leave your tender until the last minute – make sure that you have dedicated ample time and resources to produce the best possible result. If you can’t submit your best effort for this bid, why you are submitting at all?

6.    Be decisive: make a conscious decision to bid – if you are tendering ‘just because’, this is not the recipe for a winning bid.

7.    Discriminate: can you deliver this tender? Do you want to win this bid? If you win, what will happen to your other contracts? Make sure you’re bidding for business you really want.

8.    Understand the bid requirements – and adhere to them.

9.    Know your audience: read the bid evaluation criteria – what’s most important to the customer?

10.  Be proactive: engage with the customer – being invited to bid is a compliment, and likely to put your submission in a stronger position than a cold response.

 

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Finding Tenders

Finding Tenders

In order to win bids and tenders, you need to know what business is out there. For everything from construction bids and security contracts to facilities management tender opportunities and contracts for legal services, a reliable and ongoing feed of contract notices is essential.

Many tender notices are published on Tenders Direct – and with Win That Bid, you can have a special discount, saving you £95 off your first year’s subscription. Just quote WTB710 when you call – this offer is available independently of any Win That Bid service.

If you already have a feed of tender opportunities and are finding bid management too time-consuming, we can provide you with a dedicated account manager to handle the flow of bids and tendering opportunities. They’ll judge what’s out there and will only alert you to the most suitable and desirable contracts for your business’ core capabilities.

Call us today to learn how we can help you to find the very best tenders.

Winning Over the Public (Sector)

The public sector is a highly diverse industry, where tendering rarely fits into a predefined box. The range of tenders is as varied and wide as the different public sector organisations themselves. However, there are a few common factors to consider when aiming for public sector contracts. The multi-billion pound public sector industry is experiencing a period of growth with government backing, meaning that your business can stand to seriously benefit from a slice of the public sector pie.

Public Sector

 

Parallel Thinking

Public sector industries tend to be under a great deal of social scrutiny, particularly when it comes to environmental factors or legislative considerations which are ingrained in the public sector, such as health and safety. It is essential in public sector tendering that your bid highlights your strengths in these areas, and that you share the same core values which are of importance to the client.

A strong organisational fit between the client and contractor is vital, especially during evaluation stages. The contractor’s ability to work well and integrate with the client’s approach can have a strong influence on the ultimate success of the bid.

MEAT

Although the bottom line price will always play a significant role in bidding success, it should not be confused with value. Public sector organisations are under a magnifying glass of scrutiny, and rightfully, must justify spending taxpayer’s money. By stipulating MEAT as the goal in selecting a contractor, public sector clients can navigate around being forced to accept the lowest price in favour of inferior work. MEAT stands for Most Economically Advantageous Tender and essentially translates to value for money. When it comes to big contracts, it’s not how much the client wants to spend that counts, but what they can successfully achieve with their budget.

It goes without saying that the contract should be equally economically viable for the contractor – and projects should always be realistically deliverable and profitable first and foremost.

Backup

Public sector contracts tend to be high value, large scale projects, and with big investment comes big asks. It’s essential that you can demonstrate relevant experience, describing the skills of the people attached to the project. From senior management through to the operations team on the ground, the bid should effectively demonstrate what you are bringing to the table and the added value that comes with your team.
At the end of the day, the highest scoring bid wins the tender, and at Win That Bid, we’re all about winning – it’s what we do best. As the UK’s biggest bid writing and tender process specialists, our experts have extensive experience in construction and civil engineering projects in both public and private sector work. Our bid management team can guide you through all stages of the process, from initial tender selection right through to the final bid presentation. Get in touch for more information by calling 020 3405 1850 – and visit our site to learn more about our bid services.

Nailing Down Construction Contracts

Construction Contracts

Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury has recently stated that The National Infrastructure Plan (NIP) for the next 20 years will include an investment of £375bn in construction and civil engineering projects. In addition, the insurance industry also plans to spend £25bn over the next five years.

Tendering for the projects included in this investment will be fierce and winning the contracts will go beyond merely attempting to undercut the competition with price. The successful bids will deliver a proposal that highlights how your organisation can offer the best solution, inspiring confidence that you can deliver on budget and to programme, with innovative and sustainable solutions.

Stand Out From The Crowd

When attempting to bid for contracts within an industry as competitive as construction, it’s essential to differentiate from the competition to ensure that your bid stands out. By examining the core competencies of your business and its competitors, Win that Bid can identify, develop and isolate the key reasons why your business is better than the rest.

It’s All In The Details

In order to maximise your success rate on the bids your company decides to submit, it is essential to examine the requirements, and ensure that each question and its required detail is addressed. From the initial planning through to the drafting and review of each response, a detailed Bid Management Plan is a key element of a successful proposal document. The Plan will assist in mapping out your plan to meet the client’s needs, and will also functions as a visual demonstration to the client that all of their requirements have been met.

To be successful with your bids, being thorough is non-negotiable as it is very easy to miss vital elements of a question. However, bids do not always arrive at the right time from clients. You could be busy with current contracts, have insufficient resources or just not enough time, but if it is a targeted bid, you still need to complete the documents professionally Win That Bid specialise in giving businesses the resources and extra capacity to get a winning proposal put together in time.

Match Your Capabilities

It’s important to remember that the bidding process is a two-way street and, as much as a client may get to choose which company to employ to develop their project; the client must also be a good fit for your business. Whilst it is wise to focus your efforts on bidding for contracts that concentrate on your strengths, it is tempting to try and diversify your portfolio. It is important to select the right schemes to avoid wasting your time and potentially leave you with less business.

At Win That Bid, our APMP qualified team are experts in the bidding process and our Project Intelligence team identify projects that are an ideal fit for our clients. With extensive experience in construction and civil engineering projects, we can help your company secure your next construction contract and benefit from the significant planned investment.. As the UK’s biggest bid writing and tender process specialists, our experts can prepare and write proposals that are proven to win contracts for both UK and international projects. Get in touch for more information by calling 020 3405 1850 – and visit our site to learn more about our bid services.

How to Win Construction Contracts

Bidding for construction contracts presents a significant opportunity for you to expand your business and increase your turnover.

Often, the work is right on your doorstep, and opportunities to bid for construction tenders will increase with the implementation of the new localism bill. This aims to force local authorities to seek out local companies to complete their contracts. Of course, there’s also a global market of private companies out there, just waiting for you to claim a slice of the construction contracts that are available.

This world of opportunity means you should consider carefully before writing a construction bid. Is the contract one that you really want to go for? You’d be well advised to concentrate your construction bid writing in areas that are the core strengths of your business. There will be other opportunities to open up new markets through word of mouth and other avenues. For construction bid writing, stick to what you know best and gather some great feedback for a job well done. That completed tender is then likely to lead to referrals for more varied work.

Tenders Direct is a useful place to seek out construction bids. This comprehensive database is easy to search in quite focused geographical and work-related areas, so you can easily see where the construction bid opportunities are.

We have partnered with Tenders Direct to offer you a bid management service tightly focused on your areas of expertise. Using our promotional code, you can save £150 on your registration fee.

Through our Bid Management Service, we can then manage your construction contract opportunities, assessing how each potential contract fits in with the scope of your business. We will then filter 10 or 20 Pre-Qualification Questionnaires (PQQs) per annum to you. This way, our bid management service saves you time and energy on hunting down construction bid writing opportunities – so you can concentrate on the work you really want to do.

On your behalf, having scoped out your best fit construction bid opportunities, we can help you through all the stages of the bid writing process. From our experience, if you use our full construction bid writing service, you can realistically expect to be short-listed for one in three construction tenders and win sixty per cent of those bids.

We hold a library of your key documents such as insurance and policies, which will need to be submitted for every tender. Using those, and in close consultation with you, we can complete the whole bid writing service for you.

You’re in charge. Having been presented with the construction tender opportunities we find for you, if you want to take over the bid writing process from there, you can. Alternatively, we can handle the entire process for you.

Our construction bid writers have over 15 years’ experience in procurement and other relevant disciplines. They are familiar with many of the organisations and individuals buying construction services. That makes them ideally placed to help you through every stage towards winning a construction tender, from the invitation to tender, right up to the final presentation.

Knowledge of the buyer is crucial to securing construction contracts. Buyers want to deal with contractors who fit in with their culture and who will follow their policies. As we know these buyers well, we can put you ahead of your competitors – with our team of experienced construction bid writers helping you to present your bid in a way that will score you highly in bid comparisons and demonstrate to buyers exactly why you are right for their job.

We are the UK’s largest tendering consultancy, which means we have the knowledge and expertise to help you win major construction contracts.

For professional bid management, to improve your win ratio, or for a full construction bid writing service, call Win That Bid on 0203 405 1850 or email us at hello@winthatbid.com.

Qatar – Should Your Business be There?

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Until the award of the 2022 World Cup, few people had heard of Qatar, now construction opportunities are abound.

With a population of just 2 million, a landmass the size of Wales and vast oil and gas reserves, the country has the highest per capita GDP in the world. This new found wealth has brought with it an appreciation that energy is finite, and as a result, the government has extensive development plans for the country and need help to achieve its vision:

“By 2030, Qatar aims to be an advanced society capable of sustaining its development and providing a high standard of living for all of its people. Qatar’s National Vision defines the long- term outcomes for the country and provides a framework within which national strategies and implementation plans can be developed.”

Qatar’s future is dependent on successfully establishing itself as a centre of excellence in areas such as education, medicine and sport. The investment in infrastructure has commenced (to the tune of $220 billion).

Unsurprisingly, British and international businesses are arriving in their droves to invest, build, advise and deliver construction projects.

Outside of the energy sector, the largest tenders to be found are in construction (hotels, stadiums, accommodation, offices, schools, universities and shopping malls), transport (highways, railways, port expansion, new airport) and utilities.  Companies looking to capitalise on this growth need to review the opportunities that this exciting new market has to offer. Win That Bid opened its Doha offices in 2013 and is ready help you achieve this.

Laying the procurement pipeline

New information has emerged from the Cabinet Office describing the £84bn ‘procurement pipeline’ planned for the next five years. Covering 18 business sectors, the pipeline lays out the government’s anticipated project needs over the next few years. Notices of this kind have been published since November 2011; the most recent announcement adds professional services, financial services, waste management, and fire services.

The government’s goal is to make it easier for companies to plan ahead, something that has traditionally been difficult for organisations working with the public sector. Skills gaps can be identified and dealt with earlier. Moreover, it is evidence of a laudable transparency in government spending that can only help improve processes and efficiency.

Back in April business secretary Vince Cable laid out the reasoning behind these plans. “Frankly, we’ve been too short-term in how we’ve done procurement in the past. Our key competitors in Europe already see procurement as an integral part of a proper industrial strategy and it’s time we did the same.” Recent procurement scandals and political rows have made it difficult for the government to prove it has any kind of industrial policy at all, and rather overshadowed the wave of initiatives, ideas and proposals streaming out of the cabinet office.

This initiative comes at a time when many businesses reliant on government contracts (especially those devoted to major infrastructure projects) are struggling. Construction giant Balfour Beatty recently issued a profit warning based on a dearth of major schemes, while a former Laing O’Rourke executive recently told the press that lack of infrastructure investment and planning in the UK would lead his ambitions elsewhere. Infrastructure schemes have fallen by half in the year to October, while £3bn of construction work is behind schedule or even entirely halted as a result of planning appeals. Friends and colleagues in the construction sector have sitting around waiting for suitable bids to emerge.

The Pipeline can give companies time to plan ahead which they might not have had before. Win that Bid’s vast experience in a number of sectors can help you make best use of that time, to be ready to grab the opportunities ahead.

Could the G4S security contract have worked?

Last week Win that Bid published a blog quoting a director from G4S as he proclaimed the rise of police privatisation. I wasn’t entirely positive about the prospect… and even as it went live on the site G4S became embroiled in a massive contract scandal reported across the world, destroying their share price.

There has been lots of press coverage about the company’s failures, but what about the contract itself? Could they have succeeded in meeting it at all?

There were warning signs last September, when the firm reported that it would not be able to recruit more than guards than it was originally contracted for without a great deal of prior warning. The Home Office then took four months to confirm what it actually needed (far more than the contract called for, naturally). All security staff have to be centrally vetted and licensed through the Security Industry Authority (SIA) before they can be deployed, drastically slowing down their recruitment process. There seems to have been an awful lack of clarity about the pricing structure of the tender contract, which allowed the Olympic Sponsors to add more and more requirements to the contract. G4S simply couldn’t provide the resources asked for, and didn’t communicate that very well.

This raises a second issue with the contract: there was no provision for outsourcing. The authorities wanted to hand the entire £200 million contract to a single security company. This created problems for G4S and seems like a wasted opportunity; Win that Bid has worked with plenty of qualified security companies in London. Many of them were very interested in pursuing Olympic security contracts and were disappointed to find that there were no opportunities for them do so, either because of the sheer scale of the contract or because they were vulnerable to changes in the tender contract. The tender contract isolated G4S; before taking the contract they should have considered their contingency plans in the event the requirements changed, as they usually do in contracts this large and politicised.

Based on these facts, G4S certainly appears to have a strong case to complain about the government’s conduct in this contract. It hasn’t taken that opportunity. Possibly, it simply doesn’t want to jeopardise the security contracts it already has with the government. The political climate and the scale of the bid certainly left G4S in a very poor negotiating position; something that any company should consider before bidding for a tender.

A company trying to win any bid, let alone a security contract, should make sure they plan for contingencies. G4S weren’t prepared for big changes in the contract, and have paid for it.

Procurement – Carbon Footprints

May 2011 saw the publication of a report outlining Bristol City Council’s Carbon Footprint that related directly to procurement activity.  [Please see the full report: Carbon Footprint of Procurement] Will we see more local authorities asking questions on carbon footprints? Probably not!

The report does provide a response to the question ‘is the Carbon Foot a consideration for procurement teams’?  In basic terms the answer is ‘yes – BUT’. That but is always going to be there as cost is always a key consideration that outweighs marginal or woolly statements.

If it is not a primary consideration we need to really review what steps suppliers can take to ensure that carbon reduction targets are built into their responses in a way that does add value, has potential to score points and builds a credible, measureable indicator for the buyers without saddling the supplier with unnecessary burdens .

Carbon reduction will reduce operational costs in the long run, however for it to be really effective in council target terms it needs to have an annual impact that stands scrutiny.

Suppliers working in the areas listed should look at the development of their carbon reduction strategy for procurement as an opportunity to add value:

  • Construction
  • Sewage treatment and disposal
  • Refuse disposal
  • Waste Management
  • Community Services  including Health care

We should all be continually looking at our energy reduction targets, how we access our own services and materials with effective carbon management systems.

However most companies when asked will not have a clear understanding of what their carbon footprint is or how to measure it.

Therefore in our energy conscious market anything that demonstrates a clear commitment to sustainability and environmental management systems should include a carbon management plan.

A recent update to the EU Guide encouraged procurement teams to use environmental criteria in scoring tenders, note the point made:

“Applying environmental award criteria may make sense, for example, if you are not sure of the cost and/ or market availability of products, works or services which meet certain environmental objectives. By including these factors in your award criteria, you are able to weigh them against other factors including cost.” Section 5.2 of Buying Green 2nd Edition – EU Guide 2011 [Italics ours]

So to meet the environmental objectives the core of the response needs to offer better value and additionality that will make a real difference in the context of the council targets. Where do you begin? Possibly with these five steps:

1.       Measure/Audit your Carbon Footprint

2.       Report the results annually

3.       Provide evidence of reduction targets and how you are meeting them

4.       Substituting with less-carbon-intensive alternatives

5.       Renew the scheme regularly as products change

Suppliers can have a significant impact on Public Sector targets by adopting an EMS with a Carbon Reporting element, it may not be required in the Tender but it will not go unnoticed.

Do carbon footprints count? Yes if you link them to a carbon reduction plan and an environmental management system. These are much easier to introduce and will reward suppliers with an additional competitive edge.