Should I submit a tender?

Preparing a tender response is time consuming and hugely resource hungry. Hundreds of hours of staff time go into even the most basic proposal. Make sure that you have a strong chance before you commit the time and money. If you are asking yourself should I submit a tender here are some tips on making an assessment to proceed.

Do you meet the pre-qualification and compliance requirements?

Do you meet all of the requirements of the request for tender. You may be weak on some (which is OK) but not being able to meet a requirement of the tender will mean you are likely to be eliminated in the first round.

Are you able to meet the qualitative requirements?

You need to assess whether you are a credible supplier to the tendering organisation. Will you meet the selection criteria. Will you be able to fit in with the client’s culture; do you have similar business values; will your processes and procedures be compatible; do you speak the same language (literally and metaphorically); will your reputation be a plus or a minus for them.

Can you deliver the requirements yourself or in joint venture or consortium, or will you use sub-contractors ?

Complex contracts often require a combination of skills that no one organisation can deliver. Can you deliver the contract on your own using in-house expertise or will you need to bring in sub-contractors or consultants to fill skills gaps? If you need a significant component of the skills gap filled by another organisation it might be more appropriate to share risk through a joint venture or consortium. There are also advantages in leveraging the reputations of partner organisations.

Do you have the financial capacity to deliver the project?

You may need to manage large cash-flows deficits if there are long delivery periods or long terms of trade. Do you have the capacity to keep trading and pay suppliers and employees between payments from the client.

Are there any conflicts of interest to consider?

Will contracting to the new customer put you into conflicts of interest with other customers? Are there conflicts with your suppliers?

Do you already have the resources to do the job?

Do you have the on-ground resources to do the job? You may be capable of doing the job but are your experts available and not wholly committed elsewhere. Can you schedule your people onto the job at the times they are needed? Can  you recruit the people needed if you don’t have them in house?

Is your proposal going to be viable?

One of the most important considerations in should I submit a tender is whether you can deliver the job to the times and budget required. Are there enough margins for you to put in a competitive bid. If you have to bring in sub-contractors are their overheads going to reduce your profit margin too much.

Is it within your capacity to do the work?

You may have the technical resources but does your organisation have capacity in its management, facilities, machinery capacity, telecommunications to service the job?

Are you familiar with the government policies on purchasing?

Government policies on purchasing and procurement vary between jurisdictions, between different types of procurement and on the size of the contract. However they require organisations to have in place compliance with WHS regulations (as a minimum) and may ask for compliance with quality standards. They will certainly require you to follow probity requirements. They may ask for a range of policies to be in place for equal employment, sustainability, environment, indigenous employment, etc. These are important. Some organisations may have initiatives in place  and use the tendering process as an imperative to formalise them.

These are some key tips in helping you to decide—should I submit a tender?