Whether it’s your first school procurement or one of many, there are a few best practices to consider. Below are the 4 C’s of running a successful tender. We’ll use a school cleaning tender as an example.
Before launching your tender (i.e. RFQ or RFP) and inviting suppliers to bid, your intention must be to award a bid. Otherwise, you are wasting everyone’s time—including your own. Suppliers remember cancelled tenders and are less likely to provide a quote next time. So, get your ducks in a row and secure the budget and get the management mandate upfront. This will ensure that you don’t lose face cancelling a tender halfway through the procurement process. Credibility also includes investing the time to put together a professional tender package. This includes preparing a package that encompasses all information suppliers will need to make a complete bid—everything from your detailed requirements to disclosing how you intend to evaluate their bid. For a cleaning supplier, this might include:
- All areas that need to be cleaned.
- Square meterage of each area.
- What materials all surfaces are made from.
- Cleaning product specs.
- Cleaning frequencies.
The ability to make apple-to-apple comparisons is crucial to ensuring you are able to make an informed purchasing decision. This means you need to make sure that all suppliers are privy to the same information. For example, during the question round of a tender, make sure that all answered questions are anonymised and shared with participating suppliers. This ensures bidding suppliers are fully informed and saves time as many will have similar questions. Asking suppliers to submit their bids in a standard template will also go a long way in helping you make comparable evaluations. This means you must present your tender in a template that suppliers can provide line-by-line service outlines and prices.
Competition is a crucial component to ensure you get the most competitive deal. Launching a tender will certainly get suppliers excited, but the competitive energy needs to be maintained throughout the procurement process. The minute the level of competition, perceived or otherwise, begins to wane—suppliers may lose their motivation.
Pro tip—always give pricing feedback via a numerical ranking or traffic light system so that suppliers can see how their bid has performed in relation to the competition. This way, even if they are not awarded your bid, they walk away with valuable insights.
A tender is a great vehicle to assess supplier capabilities. Here are a couple of things to note:
- What you don’t want is to award your business to a new supplier only to find out that they cannot deliver. So, you must NEVER ASSUME, that because one supplier is currently being used by another school they are good enough for you.
- Ask suppliers to demonstrate their capabilities on paper by asking targeted questions. In some cases, it is valuable to invite suppliers on your shortlist to pitch their capabilities.
Need Help Creating A Successful Tender?
Whether it’s stationery, school uniforms, catering, or a school cleaning, book a no-obligation talk with us or submit your tender request here. We are a dynamic and highly experienced team of procurement experts who specialise in the unique needs of schools. We know what questions to ask to create a strong tender that includes the 4 C’s above. As procurement experts, we utilise technology, expanding your reach of suppliers not currently on your radar. Finally, we save you time and money by streamlining and simplifying the procurement process and ensure you will have the fastest and easiest procurement experience to date!