Tendering for Research Contracts Doesn’t Need To Be Complicated!

Published19th April 2018

Tendering for Research Contracts doesn’t need to be complicated


There are many factors to why people assume tendering is overly-complicated. This is usually down to the amount of time it takes to complete and how mundane the process is. Yes – there may be 5000 pages of specification but hey … who doesn’t love a bit of light reading!

The three things you MUST possess when tendering is PERSISTENCE, PLANNING & POSITIVITY!

Let’s get past the moaning and downtrodden attitude to how ‘complicated’ tendering is and break the process down to show how easy it actually is!

In order to de-complicate the situation – let’s look at a few things that are deemed complicated when tendering. This includes:

1. Terminology

The number of abbreviations flying around is becoming increasingly common in the procurement world. Terms like RFQs, ITTs, PQQs, DPS, and RFPs seems like they are only used to confuse us into a state of literary decline. Let’s simplify:

PQQ Pre-qualification questionnaire – this is usually a stage-1 questionnaire asking about specific company details like insurance and similar contracts you’ve worked on etc., along with simple ‘yes and no’ questions making sure you’re not fraudulent and you pay your taxes etc.
ITT Invitation to Tender – we can sometimes forget out the PQQ and jump straight into an ITT, which is usually where your quality and costing ratio comes in. This is where you price the job at hand and answer several technical questions about your ability to undergo the work in accordance with usually detailed specification/scopes of work.
RFP Request for Proposal – very similar to an ITT where cost and quality are assessed however RFPs are used in situations where the client either can’t – or doesn’t want to – define the scope of work up front to an adequate level of detail, meaning you need to be very descriptive and state a clear proposal to what’s needed.
RFQ Request for Quotation – The RFQ is a lot like the Tender, however typically smaller in size and scope. They’re often more geared towards clients who are seeking pricing information for a defined scope of work or supply of materials or equipment. Detailed proposals are typically less often sought here.
Framework Framework Agreement is an agreement between one or more businesses or organisations. If you enter into a framework agreement, usually you will be one of many suppliers contractually bound to deliver against buyer requirements.
DPS Dynamic Purchasing System – A DPS is similar to an electronic framework agreement, with two exceptions, new suppliers can join at any time and it is to be run as a completely electronic process. DPS is used exclusively by public sector organisations and can be considered as a ‘competitive supply chain’, where all chosen supply chain members regularly compete for work via ITTs and RFQs.

2. Opportunities

These are extremely broad with hundreds upon hundreds of opportunities released daily! Customers tend to wish to have one main platform to source the most relevant opportunities to grow their business. Wouldn’t that be great? Currently, opportunities are typically shared through typically problematic electronic algorithms across multiple platforms, either showing you irrelevant opportunities or no opportunities at all.

Keeping it simple – sign up with our industry-specific portals via Hudson Discover to receive daily opportunities, sourced from the hundreds of UK tender portals. These are manually searched and published on a daily basis by a team of procurement-based staff, not computers. We are the first company to do this and the feedback we have is out of this world

3. Portals

There are thousands of online platforms, websites and communication systems that are evident across UK procurement. Some portals are outdated, complex and an all-around pain to navigate. Our team have used them all! Just make sure you know your key focus areas and process-knowledge for each website – these are working your way around:

  • Downloading all tender information;
  • Asking/monitoring clarification questions from other suppliers/the buyer;
  • Submitting the tender;

Every website should have a ‘help’ section – don’t be afraid to use it and/or contact the people who run it.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was one platform for everything? For every industry? For every buyer? WATCH THIS SPACE– we are working with national professionals to work on a user-friendly, affordable and globally accessible platform to condense UK procurement in a one-stop-shop fashion.

4. Writing

Not everyone can write in an engaging, concise and straightforward manner. It’s easy telling people what you do, but to put that on paper in a professional way, covering set criteria, is a major hassle for a lot of business developers. Don’t get stressed with it. Just remember 3 key focus areas when writing a response to any question:

  • WHAT: what you have done or what you are going to do?
  • HOW: how you have done this (methodology) or how you are going to do it?
  • EVIDENCE: hard-hitting proof that you have done it before- experience/ evidence is key!

We offer Bid Writing services, using our procurement experts with over 25 combined years’ experience of writing tenders. Check us out – Tender Consultants.

5. Losing

What is the point of spending all this time on a bid for it to lose and you to go back hating the process, hating the tender and subsequently hating life itself! Don’t fret – USE THE FEEDBACK! If you didn’t win the work because you lack ISO accreditations (for e.g.)– you know what to do! As part of our provision at Tender Consultants, we have a tender readiness programme that you can use to make sure you maintain a good chance of securing key pieces of work.
All procurement-based processes that most people find difficult/complicated are exactly that because of the lack of understanding of key tender-management processes. We will be launching a FREE training environment (Tender VLE) in May 2018, which focuses on everything tender and procurement based, including profound topics that will completely eradicate the notion that tendering and procurement is complicated.

Let’s leave them procurement pains behind!

We’re here to help you grow, develop and standout!

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