In order to win tenders and expand businesses, an effective bid management system is a necessity. Bid management refers to the process of qualifying tender opportunities and submitting proposals in response to tender notices. While larger businesses have a dedicated department to take care of the entire bidding process, in smaller businesses the entire tendering process is managed by a limited team and at times solely by the entrepreneur. Though small teams allow agility and a streamlined process, it could give rise to several challenges in the tendering process.
In this blog, we will discuss the challenges in bid management that small businesses face while putting together a winning bid proposal, be it understanding the scope of work, time management or estimating costs of labour and equipment. We will also provide insights on public procurement challenges and solutions that MSMEs can adopt to win tenders.
What are the 7 bid management challenges that MSMEs face?
1. Managing a varied workload:
Due to a small team size, small businesses need to handle various obligations, exercises, and people on a daily basis. Without defined goals and processes, they struggle to successfully manage a heavy workload of multiple tasks and tender management is an additional burden. As a result, the completion of tender submissions may get rushed, that results in poor quality responses and low chances of winning possibilities.
Technology and innovation play an essential role here in providing a consistent framework, streamlining processes and automating tasks. Once efficiency is improved, you can utilise your time to focus on the tender bid management process.
2. Lack of strategy and focus:
If you want to strategically target tenders as part of your revenue goals, you need to invest in your bidding process with care. While it may be possible to identify qualifying opportunities and build a pipeline, the tender submission aspect which is more critical to win success often gets a low priority. Many organisations utilise the sales and marketing team to compete tenders as an add on activity.
Businesses should involve senior management to strategically focus on bid management to overcome challenges related to it. You can also hire a consultant subject matter expert to improve bid quality and winning chances.
3. Pressurised time constraints
The tender process is time bound and have multiple stages and deadlines. Every applicant must assess and understand the evaluation criteria, compile responses and secure approvals and sign offs. This can be the one of the biggest challenges for SMEs as they are often dealing with other work deliverables and deadlines.
Adopting technology and an agile project management process will help streamline and automate processes, and you can dedicate more time to developing better quality tender responses
4. Understanding tender criteria
To win, you need to deliver a competitive and compelling tender application so that you can score against your competitors. For this to happen, a rigorous exercise to understand the tender requirement is essential including evaluating your business’s eligibility for the government tender. This is not just help you to focus of the details requested for but also highlight any areas of concern. However, in most cases, owing to time constraints, this step is rushed and not fully understood. This results in responses not being answered directly and thus low scoring.
As a solution, MSMEs can adopt available bid management software that with help manage critical evaluation processes to ensure detailed analysis. This will also give you access to greater insight to develop improved responses.
5. Repetitive manual activities
To apply for a tender, MSMEs need to manage numerous repetitive administrative tasks like searching and collating information, compiling question responses, and securing approvals. Most of these tasks are time consuming and frustrating as it involves manual interventions. Moreover, it increases the risk of missed deadlines and badly conceived tender submissions.
Automating some of the workload will enable MSMEs to focus on the goals that truly matter to the company and can be easily done through the adoption of technology. A bid management solution will help to streamline and automate manual tasks and help to develop more convincing tender responses.
6. Information management
While applying for a tender, there are numerous detailed questions that require information, a lot of data to evaluate, collate and deliver. It is a difficult task for the compiler if the information is dispersed throughout the organisation, sitting with individuals or stored in local hard drives. Information also may get out-of-date, inaccurate or incomplete. The biggest challenge facing SMEs is lack of proper documentation. Most tenders being digital, MSMEs are largely impacted by challenges of e procurement like lack of internal communication, difficulty in tracking contracts and so on.
Adopting a robust information management system together with a central directory to store all tender documentation will help overcome these hurdles. Some businesses even use e-Tender management systems for the same. This will facilitate quicker access, better search and timely updating, thus making life easier for the tender application team.
7. Errors in calculations
Another major challenge that MSMEs face in tender bidding is failure to assess the actual cost of the work applied for. Calculation errors can either be in putting the bid cost either high or very low, which either gets the bid rejected or makes it hard to get the work done later. Manual estimations are a major cause for calculation errors.
Always utilise a calculator or development bid software to guarantee that your calculations are precise. Continuously check your math to guarantee that your numbers and estimations are correct. It is always better to get it vetted by another person to minimise errors.
To sum up: How to overcome bid management challenges for your business
Tender management is a key for businesses to grow and generate revenue. MSMEs can adopt the best practices to overcome their bid management challenges and come up with winning tenders. Technology and innovation play a huge role to streamline and automate the tender management process. Moreover, you can organise your documentation and take available digital and cloud management systems for easy access and updating. You should learn to prioritise to give ample time in evaluation and submission of tenders. You can also consider investing in tender management software and subject matter experts.
There are several B2B platforms like Tata nexarc that can assist you to understand and resolve your bid management challenges. Tata nexarc can also give you access to 1.3+ lakh tenders on the platform, with new tenders being added daily. Based on your preferences we send email/SMS alters on matching tenders, expiring tenders, active tenders and more, so that you never miss a suitable business opportunity.