Responding to a Government tender can be a very difficult and time consuming task. You want to make sure you’re including the most relevant information to give yourself the best chance of winning. This blog is based on a presentation eiengineering attended given by John Gillespie, Principal Economic Development Officer with the Queensland State Government, to the Civil Contractors Federation in April 2017. It offers some really useful tips on knowing where to find opportunities, understanding how to maximise your chance of winning, and knowing about available programs and services which may assist your business.
Tip 1: Work smarter not harder
All States now have electronic systems allowing organisations to register and respond to public sector tenders. If you register as a supplier through these sites, you can enable email notifications for tender opportunities. This will save to time and effort searching for potential work.
The following are registration sites by State:
Tip 2: Pre-Qualify for opportunities
Pre-qualifying for opportunities will help you move forward in the tendering process. This means the Government will screen registered suppliers in terms of their experience, financial ability, work history, reputation and managerial ability. Being successful at this stage will increase your chances in the tender outcome. Each State has their own pre-qualification requirements and process, so it is worth looking into pre-qualification systems for each State.
Tip 3: Know what the Government wants
It is important to understand what the Government wants before you decide to tender. The key requirements Governments mostly look for are:
- A supplier that can deliver to their needs
- Work delivered in-full and on time
- Value for money for the taxpayer dollar
On this last point, price is not the only indicator of value. Value for money is more than just the cheapest price, it should also include:
- Overall objective and outcome being sought
- Cost factors like up-front price, whole-of-life costs, transaction costs associated with acquisition, use, holding, maintenance and disposal
- Non-cost factors like fitness for purpose, quality, delivery, service support, and sustainability impacts
Tip 4: Procurement methods
It is important to be aware of the four main methods governments will use to procure goods and services:
- Open offer process – this is a public tender, so anyone is eligible to apply
- Selective offer process – only suppliers who meet pre-established criteria are invited to apply
- Limited offer process – An agency or department will invite suppliers of its choice to apply
- Direct purchasing – goods or services are purchased directly
Tip 5: Answer all the questions
Make sure you answer ALL the questions in a tender application, especially when it comes to specifications. Don’t count yourself out by leaving fields blank. The people reading your application don’t want to, and probably won’t, go searching for any missing information – this is just extra work for them. So make sure you:
- Fill in all the forms and address all the WILLs, SHALLs and MUSTs
- Answer the evaluation criteria and address all the WOULDs, SHOULDs, COULDs or MAYs
You will definitely improve your chances of winning the work if you provide all of the information requested.
Tip 6: Write a quality response
Emphasise your strengths (not your competitions’ negatives)
- Highlight in your application where your skills and experience lie
- What are you really good at?
- Give examples of past success on other projects
Highlight the benefits of using a local supplier
- Readily available spare parts, service and support
- Shorter supply lines
- Easier contract administration
- Economic support for the local community
Contact your referees
- Make sure you’re referees know they may be contacted. This will give them time to think about your strengths, and they won’t be caught out on the phone with an unexpected call from government.
Tip 7: Be visible
Make sure all of your organisation’s key information is up to date, and easy to find. Update or customise your Capability Statement so it is tailored to your tender. Highlight your key benefits for the client and provide examples of relevant past work.
Make sure your website is up to date as well. There is no doubt the client will look at your website for information throughout the application process, so try an easy to navigate, up to date website is very important.
Tip 8: Know where to find opportunities
Each State has their own site providing a list of current tenders. Searching these sites should be your first step in finding opportunities:
You can also look for Federal opportunities on the following sites:
Tip 9: Seek more information
There are some really great business services and tools offered by Government when it comes to business planning, marketing, digital, financial management, competitive advantage and succession planning. If there is anything you think you need to improve, or need help with, business.gov.au may be able to provide the support or assistance you are looking for.
Tip 10: Remember the first 9 tips
Summary – the top ten tips
- Work smarter not harder
- Get pre-qualified
- Know what Government wants
- Understand procurement methods
- Answer all the questions
- Write a quality response
- Be visible
- Know where to find opportunities
- Seek more information
- Remember the first 9 tips
These tips should help you find more opportunities, save you time, and put together a compelling and hopefully successful tender. Good luck!