Tenders are invitations to bid for a project or a contract to supply raw materials to a government department. Government tenders in India follow a process for awarding tenders to bidders. These bidders are most commonly businesses located in the country. Companies usually find tenders online and participate in them following the instructions given in the tender document.
Tender document is the document, provided by the buyer/government/tenderer to potential sellers that gives instructions, forms to fill and other details like eligibility criteria to apply for the tenders. This document is the basis for the preparation of a tender proposal. Tender documents detail the work schedule, requirement of goods and services, technical specifications, procurement criteria, etc.
Tender and bidding
Bidding is the process of participating in the tender process as a bidder. Interested companies submitting a tender proposal to the tenderer is called bidding. Bidding opens on the bid opening date and closes on the bid closing date. Once the bidding is closed, the tenderer evaluates each tender proposal and selects the best one for awarding the tender contract.
There is difference between a tender and bid. Tender is simply the invitation to supply goods or participate in a project while bid is a response to the invitation. Publishing a tender is the first step in the tendering process while bidding is a subsequent step. In the world of tendering therefore, a tender and bid quotation are different and used accordingly.
To bid the seller needs to read both tender documents and bid documents to understand the requirement of the tender and participate in the tender process.
What is a bid document?
It is easy to think that bid documents are those documents that are prepared for submission of the tender bid. But according to the Government of India, the Request for Proposal is called a bid document. “The Request for Proposal document floated by procuring entity is also called a Bid Document,” according to a model tender document published on the CPPP portal. To standardise the tender nomenclature, the government has started to use Request for Proposal document in its tender invitations.
Even institutions around the world like World Bank and International Labour Organisation call the documents published by the tenderer as bidding documents.
To learn about the differences between tender documents and bid documents you need to learn different kinds of tender invitations: Request for Information (RFI), Request for Tender (RFT), Request for Proposal (RFP) and Request for Quote (RFQ).
RFT is a request to invite bids from suppliers
RFQ is a request to determine how vendors will meet requirements specified and at what cost
RFI is an invitation requesting for additional information from vendors to make a detailed plan
RFP is a document requesting a proposal when an idea is in place, but it needs a detailed plan to execute the idea
Differences between tender document and bid document
According to the model tender document uploaded on the CPPP portal, here is a list of contents that a tender document will contain:
- Notice Inviting Tender (NIT) and its Appendix: Tender Information Summary (TIS)
- Instructions to Bidders (ITB)
- Appendix to Instructions to Bidders (AITB)
- General Conditions of Contract (GCC)
- Special Conditions of Contract (SCC)
- Schedule of Requirements
- Services and Activities Schedule
- Performance Standards and Quality Assurance
- Method Statement
- Work Plan
- Critical Material Schedule
- Qualification Criteria
- Key Personnel Schedule
- Critical Equipment Schedule
To see what is included in bid documents let us have a look at a statement from the request for proposal published by the Ministry of Defence for procurement of quantity image intensifiers for assault rifles on September 27, 2022. Under the general requirements section the RFP states, “The bidding documents including this RFP and all attached documents, provided by the MoD, are and shall remain or becomes the property of the MoD and are transmitted to the bidders solely for the purpose of preparation and the submission of a proposal.”
Looking at this statement, we can conclude that the bid document contains RFP, instructions, and other details like eligibility criteria that will be the basis for the preparation of tender proposals by interested sellers. This means that bid documents are the same as the tender documents. Both bid and tender documents explain the project or procurement and detail the tender process to be followed.
Where to find bid documents/tender documents to participate in a government tender?
Tender documents for government tenders are published on the CPP portal or the GeM portal. There are downloadable tender documents pdf that will be uploaded on the websites to help sellers understand the tender invitation. Alternatively, you can also choose to register for Tata nexarc’s Tenders to receive notifications and announcements on the latest tenders in India.