Thought Leadership: Don’t shy away from the tender process, says Peter Hawes

Peter Hawes, managing director, Norse Commercial Services

Peter Hawes, managing director, Norse Commercial Services - Credit: Archant

Responding to an invitation to tender can leave some businesses feeling a little bruised.

All too often, such documents are lengthy, onerous and intimidating, requiring hours of information-gathering and presentation, with input from what seems like every department in the company. It is certainly not a process for the faint-hearted.

Those wanting to bid for work from public sector organisations will inevitably encounter the tender process at some stage. The public sector cuts affect the private sector too, making contracts highly competitive.

But don’t be put off tendering, even if you are not successful every time, going through the process has a number of positive impacts.

It provides an opportunity to review competitiveness and help ensure you retain a competitive edge and it sharpens cost effectiveness in service delivery as tendering in difficult times is largely price driven.

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However price is not usually the sole criterion; value for money, quality, reliability and service are all factors of prime concern so you need to be confident that these issues are regularly addressed.

The process also helps drive efficiency, by assessing the effectiveness both of your product or service delivery, and that of your management team, in a competitive environment.

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There are, of course, those “soft” areas of your business ethos that, particularly with the public sector, will form part of the tender evaluation process; areas such as your approach to learning and development, sustainability, green issues and health and safety.

With supply chain liability becoming ever more embedded in contracts, a company’s performance in these areas can determine whether you are in the running or fall at the first hurdle when it comes to tendering.

: : Peter Hawes is managing director of Norse Commercial Services.

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