For this discussion we invited Principal PASS Consultant Eddie Regan to talk about the necessity for good tender management systems.
For the last 20 years Eddie has lectured regularly on procurement policy and processes at conferences and events all over the UK, both on behalf of PASS and for a variety of other organisations. He also provides in-house training on the tendering process to personnel in both the public and private sectors.
Tender Management Systems
Tender Management systems are essentially filing mechanisms that allow buyers and suppliers to review and revise the bid documentation, along with any questions and answers that have been submitted in relation to the bid.
The mandating of e-procurement in UK government contracts – especially with Regulation 22 coming into play this month – means that tender management systems are now a vital component in commercial e-procurement solutions.
Why Tender Management is important to buyers
As well as being compliant with UK Public Contract Regulations, tender management solutions have multiple benefits for buyers.
Principal PASS Consultant Eddie Regan said: “When buyers go to renew their contracts they can go back to the tender managing functions, locate the original tender information and use this to improve the new tender.
“Buyers can look at the original tender document and see if the contract delivered met the original specification, what kind of questions were asked, how the tender questionnaire was structured, who applied to bid, what the interest levels were and what clarification questions were asked. All of these things will help buyers write a better tender document.”
Revising old tenders will also remind buyers of solutions that were previously offered by bidders, giving them ideas for requirements of ‘added value’ when they re-tender for the same/ similar contracts.
It can also give buyers ideas of methodological or technological change that was suggested by previous bidders, which may be of more relevance now. All this information will help greatly when writing the new tender’s specification, and so lead to a smart contract.
He said: “Too much information is stored in individuals’ knowledge banks, as opposed to actual data records. If someone is relying on memory to store best practice on contracts, then it is unlikely to be available three years on.“
Why Tender Management is important to suppliers
Keeping bid information in a Tender Management system also helps suppliers put their best foot forward when bidding for contracts. One way in which Mr Regan suggested suppliers could do this was by using the question and answer function available in Tender Management systems.
He said: “Public sector buyers are generally very good at providing clarification to suppliers during the tender process; this is because most public sector bodies use e-tendering portals that have a facility for questions and answers, such as a chat forum or audit trail of emails.”
Through these forums, buyers answer suppliers’ questions, anonymising the enquirer’s name and making the answer available to all bidders.
Mr Regan advised: “Suppliers must ensure that they keep up to date reading previous Q&As to ensure that they have all the information. Big contracts should be checked daily – if not twice a day – for contract questions.
“Often buyers make answers to questions available as they are asked and, if suppliers don’t keep up to date, then they will become really confused about what is relevant to them and how it affects their bid. Certainly no supplier should ever leave it to the end of the tender process to check the Q&As, because then they are likely to have missed vital information and this could lead to a failed bid.”
How Delta can help
Delta eSourcing’s Tender Manager module is an online, EU-compliant tool which provides a secure, competitive tendering process from creation of notice to award of contract. This covers notice creation, EOIs, RFIs, PQQs, secure exchange of ITT documents and evaluation.
Delta is your complete eSourcing solution with best-in-class support.
For more information and to discuss your requirements, click here.