Securing Bids: What to do when the market is busy
We are finding the market, across all categories, very busy. This broadly is as a result of covid and most schools and Trust’s remaining with the status quo during the pandemic. How, when the supply chain is busy do you put yourself in the best possible position to receive competitive bids? You need to ensure your tender specification is as attractive as possible. The higher value and most forward-thinking specifications will naturally gain the most attention from the supplier market. So, how do you make sure your specification is attractive, especially if you are a small school or have a smaller budget? Here are a few of our top suggestions.
Creating an attractive specification: what is included in your tender documents?
When you start the procurement process, prioritise the writing of your tender documents to ensure it is written in the most attractive way possible for potential bidders, both in terms of quality and price. Make sure you define your overall goals and establish exactly what you want from the contract. Start by thinking about what maintaining your current specification would mean for your school – is it suitable, can it improve and what is it missing?
Next, think about what your school needs and what your service could look like moving forward; remember to consider your budget and be practical. Can everything you are asking for be covered by your budget? The supply market will not respond to bids that they simply can’t deliver due to low budgets or unrealistic timelines so make sure you identify your must haves and nice to haves and focus the specification on what you really need. This process will enable you to produce a specification that’s clear, concise, and realistic.
Increasing your contract value: can you collaborate with other schools in your Trust or local area?
Collaborating with other schools in your Trust or local area, especially when individually your contract values are low, is extremely valuable. The benefits for you are vast; not only will this mean you have a bigger collective budget, but you will also be able to collaborate to ensure better working practices and innovation in your future service. Collective purchasing can also save you time and money during the procurement process. Most importantly, this will make your contract more attractive to potential bidders due to the increase in value.
Reaching the right suppliers: different routes to market
When you are trying to secure a contract with a small budget, think about your different routes to market. As frameworks offer access to pre-selected and qualified suppliers you can receive quotes (for lower value goods and services) within two weeks, making the process a lot more straightforward. They can help you save money on your goods and services due to economies of scale and reduced administrative burden, money that you can put back into your contract budget. Frameworks are designed to help you achieve best value for money, when receiving a place on the framework, suppliers often apply a bulk buying cost reduction on their goods and services. These costs will always be benchmarked before you award the contract, so you can guarantee you are receiving the best price.
Alternatively, an open tender process will help you reach a broader supply base than a framework can offer. Although this is a longer process, it will enable you to reach local and SME suppliers in your area who potentially are more suited to delivering your contract compared to larger organisations due to the budget and requirements.
By ensuring your specification is as robust and as concise as possible, exploring collaborative partnerships and thinking about your different routes to market, you’ll increase your opportunity to purchase goods and services when the market is operating at capacity, giving you the best chances of receiving a successful outcome in terms of quality and value for money.