Line up your ducks—its time to work on your tendering

If things slow down for you business it can be a good time to “line up your ducks” for a tendering strategy. We have had a few things happen over the last few years that have slowed the economy down (coronavirus lockdowns, post-pandemic inflation, supply chain issues and world conflicts). This time can be used advantageously. This article provides advice for businesses about getting ready to tender so that they can take advantage of the recovery.

Although not many businesses really know what to do in times of crisis, tendering can be part of a successful strategy to help your business recover. There are really only three simple business response strategies to crises.

Business as usual—keep going

You have a business that is an essential service or that can maintain next to normal function within the new norms. If tendering is part of what you normally do, it needs to be strengthened as competition is going to increase.

Adapt to survive—change your business

Work out what is going on and adapt. Position yourself for when things get back to normal (and try to guess what the new normal will be). If you adapt to a new market position (new products or services to new clients) you need to look at what government contracts are coming up and whether you can access them through tendering.

Hibernate—wait for things to change

Have been forced to shut down because you cannot provide your service or even a variation of that service ? You need to look at how you will come out of hibernation. Tendering is relevant because you may need to get work that the government is going to contract as part of a stimulus package. You can access those contracts by tendering (or grant applications).

Advice on the best tendering strategy to line up your ducks

Here are some really key tendering actions you can do now to get ready for when times get better and line up your ducks.

1. Understand your procurement market

Make sure you get informed on what government procurement is going to happen over the next three to twelve months. Your business may be able to tender for government work at Commonwealth, state or local levels.

We know that the Commonwealth and NSW Governments are both focusing on fast-tracking infrastructure and regional development projects. These will provide stimulus to keep the economy going, now and for the future recovery.

Read the newspapers and trade magazines and newsletters (print and online) and subscribe to tendering sites (Madrigal monitors sites on behalf of our clients). Find out when the government is going to buy your product or service.

Our recommendation for tendering: research government purchasing requirements over the next three to twelve months.

2. Apply for panels (pre-qualification)

Government organisations often have panels of suppliers. A panel is a group of suppliers who the government has already assessed as being able to supply the goods or service required. The panels differ in their availability, some can be applied for at any time, others are only available for applications at certain times. Getting on a panel is a good first step.

The process is also called pre-qualification. Once your business is on a panel it is given preference for work. When the work is small-scale and high volume the work is distributed to all panel members; when the work is large-scale panel members are invited to tender for the work. This is not open to non-panel members (that is, it is a closed tender).

Our recommendation for tendering: research government panel opportunities and apply for the open opportunities or plan for the when it will be open.

3. Prepare your tendering material

When a tender is announced you often only have a short period of time to get your documentation and presentation material ready. It is always a good idea to have material prepared before tenders are released (and line up your ducks). That way you can create high quality documents and give yourself more time to concentrate on the specific response material (price, design and methodology).

Documents that you can prepare in advance include capability statements, staff resumes, project sheets or case studies (showing previous work). Madrigal can assist you or advise you on preparing professional looking tendering material.

Our recommendation for tendering: prepare your capability statement, staff resumes and project sheets.

4. Review your branding

Related to Point 3 above, if you are preparing documents to be presented to a government organisation they need to look professional. Make sure that your branding makes you look capable and established. Make sure your logo looks attractive, that your documentation is all in a similar format and that all your supporting information is tidy and presentable. Your website needs to be of consistent quality. Madrigal can help with branding, documentation and websites for all budgets.

Our recommendation for tendering: review your branding, particularly your logo, to make sure that your documentation looks professional.

5. Prepare for the compliance and quality requirements

The government is looking for low risk suppliers. They identify risk through several categories:

  • financial capacity to manage the cash flows needed to pay their suppliers and remain solvent
  • adequate insurance for public liability, workers compensation, vehicle, and often professional indemnity, also, sometimes industry specific insurances
  • having safety, quality and environmental procedures and policies in place

It is important to review other tenders that the government has published into your market to find out what the usual level of requirements are wanted.

Although these requirements are all necessary and important the hardest to pull together in a short time is the safety, quality and environmental processes. Make sure you have these covered. We can advise you on how to get these in place.

Our recommendation for tendering: review the governments usual tendering requirements for your industry and get the documentation prepared in advance.

6. Support your suppliers

The disruption to the economy brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is catastrophic. It is creating massive job losses and the destruction of many businesses. I am not being sentimental, but I am looking to my suppliers and clients and doing my best to support them, these are business and professional relationships that I value. Their success is necessary for my success.

Your best suppliers’ survival is important to your business, so direct your spending to the suppliers that you will need to deliver your work in the future. Spend your money the best way in terms of how that money will support your business.

Our recommendation for tendering: review how you best spend your procurement budget to support your suppliers. Their success is important to your (tendering) success.

Line up your ducks

Madrigal Communications, as part of the business community, wants us all to get through this crisis. We hope this information is valuable. Please call us, we are happy to provide obligation-free advice. We can help you line up your ducks.