June appears to have become national bid writing month, including those classics such as “Tender asked for X, we decided not to bid, tenderer then realises they want Y and we have 2 days to do a month’s work!”, “Not hearing anything back for 6 months and then all of a sudden wanting to award a contract” and the ever useful cry on the team of “What’s in this for us if we win it?”.
The worse thing about writing bids is poorly written tenders. You’d be amazed the minimal level of detail some tenders include and the issues that leads to. One of the biggest mistakes in tendering is to think that you are giving away “secrets” in your RFI – hence minimal (or non-existent) levels of detail are included and you wonder why either a) No one bids, or b) responses are nothing like what you were expecting!
So, if you are thinking of writing a tender, please, please, please include the following:
- A summary overview of your organisation’s operating environment
- What other suppliers/systems/organisations you work with and how they interact
- What you actually want! (Yes, I know, but you’d be surprised…)
- Prioritization of what is most/least important – MoSCoW is a great method for this
- Make sure you pick suitable size organisations to tender for your contract – big corporates aren’t going to be interesting in you £50k piece of work, but lots of SMEs are
Remember, its better to have a potential supplier say “Sorry, this isn’t for us” than it is to string them along and suddenly realise that you’ve just awarded a contract to an organisation that thinks they are providing something completely different!
As a wise person once said… Better to have two decent tender responses than 20 [less good] ones!