Questions to ask before bidding, and what does a bid response include (2 of 3)

Questions to ask before bidding, and what does a bid response include?

It’s useful to understand more about bidding before you start responding to bids.

Here we raise questions that you may wish to consider and provide you with an overview of the main elements that a bid response contains.

This is Article 2 of 3 in our Bidding and Tenders series. If you haven’t read Article 1 What are bids and tenders and why do they exist we suggest reading that first and then coming back here.

Key questions before responding to a tender opportunity

When you receive the opportunity to bid and associated documentation read it and then read it again. Satisfy yourself that you understand what the customer requires. Take the time to ensure you have the solutions and capacity to deliver or could develop it within an appropriate time frame.

It is recommended that a detailed Go/No-Go review is undertaken before bidding to avoid abortive work and costs. Check viability even before that stage; ask the following:

Do you need to pre-qualify?

Check whether your customer will pre-qualify suppliers. Find out when and how this happens. And who decides the result.

Are there any financial or mandatory requirements?

Companies often require proof of accounts for the past years to ensure their minimum requirements are met

Companies often require proof of accounts for the past years to ensure their minimum requirements are met

Companies often require proof of accounts for the past years to ensure their minimum requirements are met, sometimes it is just not possible for a new company to meet the criteria. This can be true of insurance and quality standards too. You could also contact the customer to seek a derogation, this is unlikely if it’s within the public sector.

What is the bid deadline?

Have you enough time to and the team in place to be able to create your response.

Do you have to confirm receipt of ITT and intent to bid?

Check the instructions and respond if required.

How do you communicate with the customer?

The customer defines this. It could be by email or an online portal.

Who is your point of contact?

Find out who can answer your questions or queries.

What format and language should you submit your response in?

This could be through email, USB, CD, paper or an online portal.

What is your bid strategy?

How can the bid be won? On price, quality, technology? Identify aspects that will differentiate and develop themes that will run through the bid response offering value to the client.

What does a bid response contain?

The customer generally defines the bid response structure, and you are well advised to respond in a format that mirrors that of theirs.

In the bid preparation phase all deliverables should be identified and assigned to the person or team that will generate the deliverables. Failure to provide a complete response in some instances could cause your bid to be non-compliance and potentially discounted.

A basic bid response consists of:

Executive summary

A concise overview of the bid response.

Specification / Scope of supply

The main body of your response detailing what you intend to supply and it will be undertaken to meet the requirements if the ITT. Often ITT’s will require the bidder to define their compliance level, by providing a yes or no response and addition relevant information.

Programme

A plan that lists key elements alongside timescales and owners.

Schedule of prices

A matrix that details prices that will be charged for products or services. It is often the case that the customer produces the schedule of prices for the bidder to populate, this supports the bid evaluation process.

Form of contract

It is advantageous to have a formal agreement between both the customer and supplier defining the deliverables and responsibilities of both parties.

It is advantageous to have a formal agreement between both the customer and supplier defining the deliverables and responsibilities of both parties.

It is advantageous to have a formal agreement between both the customer and supplier defining the deliverables and responsibilities of both parties. Often the customer supplies a draft form of contract as part of the ITT, the bidder has the opportunity to review and propose modifications to the terms and conditions. The form of contract would normally be agreed in the negotiation phase. Once signed by both parties the agreement comes into place.

In summary

Gain a clear understanding of what the customer is asking for by thoroughly reading the relevant documentation. Ensure that you meet the requirements and that no showstoppers exist, as bidding can be a costly process.

Follow any instructions given and respond to the bid in the format that the customer defines.

This article is 2 of 3 of our Bidding and Tenders series of articles helping explain aspects of bidding and bid management.

Article 3 is titled What a winning bid contains and how it is selected (click the link to go straight to it)

If you have any specific questions, do not hesitate to contact Bid Catalyst, info@bidcatalyst.com

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