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There is a marked difference in casually applying for a tender and crafting a well-researched tender application that is sure to win you the bid. Competition being high, it is not enough to submit a tender application in time, but to prepare tender documents diligently and write a winning proposal, to increase your chances of winning the tender.
An effective tender management process not just helps you to become the desired supplier but also helps in establishing a long-term relationship with the buyer.
What is a tender?
A tender is an invitation to bid for a project. This bid could involve providing certain goods/products or services. There are four main types of tenders: open tender, closed tender, negotiated tender and single-stage or two-stage tender. In most cases, government tenders are open tenders, i.e., any eligible supplier can bid and win the tender. This is done to encourage higher participation and ensure that the procurement team gets the best products/services at the most competitive prices.
Moreover, while applying for a tender, bidders are expected to describe why their company is the best choice for the tender contract. This entire process of tender application is also called tender management, proposal management or bid management.
What is the tender application process?
Most government and PSUs initiate bids for larger projects where eligible bidders respond within stipulated timelines. To respond to a bid, you need to submit a tender response to project your work in the best possible way.
How the tender bidding process works
The procurement process in most public and private organisation requires a formal bid or tender to suppliers to provide services and goods at competitive prices in the form of a Request for Tender or RFT. A RFT is an invitation to bidders that requests them to submit their proposals to deliver goods and services. This tender notification outlines everything a buyer will need like the submission deadline, scope of the tender, the conditions applicable, the application form, the evaluation criteria, and the particulars of the legal contract for the supplier.
If you are interested in the project mentioned in the RFT, you need to bid for the work along with other suppliers by preparing and submitting a tender response document.
Tender applications can be submitted both in physical mode and online. Most tenders in India that are released these days are online tenders. Electronic tender or e-Tenders has made the procurement process more streamlined and efficient where you can access everything from eligibility criteria, online tender application, and tender status on a single platform.
What are the things to consider at the time of applying for a tender?
Few things are important to consider at the time of applying for a tender:
- It is important to cite your organisation’s relevant experience to prove the expertise the buyer is asking for.
- Even before you start a government tender application, it is essential to complete your registration on e-Procurement system. Log in to the e-Procurement website and you can fill in the details required in the enrolment form. Details comprises name, title, designation, date of birth, mobile number, TAN/PAN number, GSTIN, registered company address, and registration number.
- Check for tender eligibility. Every government tender clearly lays out criteria like financial and manufacturing capacity, official registrations and documentation, turnover, market performance, quality assurance, and machinery and equipment that you need to fulfil.
Why does presentation matter in tender application?
While responding to a tender, one thing that is usually overlooked is the presentation of the tender proposal. While it is may sound irrelevant, but a nicely written tender application format surely adds weight considering the large number of tender applications a government organisation receives for a single RFT.
With the bidding landscape becoming competitive, you need to take care that your tender application stands out among your competitors. Therefore, highlight with evidence your organisation’s best to promote your business – be it recent projects, case studies, resource capabilities, staff qualification and achievements. Make use of tools like charts and graphs to make your content visually appealing and easy to understand.
In government contracts, compliance is key. Make sure you pass all compliance check to score over your competitors. Understanding the difference between tenders and quotations, and following the tendering process meticulously, is one of the simplest and effective ways to accelerate growth for your business.
• Clear all compliance check
• Showcase your business
• Focus on presentation of the tender
Things to keep in mind when submitting a tender
Given below are some tender tips and tricks that will help MSME tenders to be noticed. You must consider these rules while submitting a tender application– be it for government or for the private sector.
- Check the tender requirements and eligibility
In order to be prepared for any tender, first research whether that particular tender is for you. Get information on the requirements and the evaluation process to know if your organisation has the potential to handle it. This will help you to decide whether you would want to participate in it or not. Also, research on the buyer to gather information about their policies and values. This information will help you tailor a proposal that meets their specific needs.
- Read the RFT carefully
Once you have decided to apply for the tender, the next step is to closely read the tender notice. Read the main document as well as the annexures or declarations. Look out for the job’s requirements, note the pre-requisites that the supplier must meet, instructions on the tender process, and other terms and conditions. Analyse if you would be able to deliver the same or you need to find a partner for partial supply.
- Prepare a checklist
Responding to a tender involves an extensive documentation process. It is always best to carefully read the RFT and note the requirements beforehand in the form of a checklist. Ensure you have the necessary licences, registrations, or accreditations. You do not miss out on leaving any document at the time of submission.
- Arrange your documents
Once the checklist is ready, arrange the tender documents in the order listed in the tender for ease of access for the evaluators. Do not fail to furnish documents like your company profile, bank statements, reference letters or anything important that highlights your capabilities.
|10 things to keep in mind when submitting a tender application|
|1. Check the tender requirements||6. Gather up with your stakeholders|
|2. Read the RFT carefully||7. Use the templates correctly|
|3. Prepare a checklist||8. Notarise your documents|
|4. Arrange your documents||9. Proofread before you submit|
|5. Decide on a marketing pitch||10.Submit on time|
- Decide on a marketing pitch
To draw a strong proposal for the bid, you need to prepare a marketing plan that addresses the pain points of the buyer and how your product/services can help them resolve it. You should identify the key message you want to use in your tender response and other collateral.
- Gather up with your stakeholders
Before you start with your tender application, it is essential to set up a meeting with your team to discuss how best to file your proposal. Plan the pitch and main thrust of your response. You need to also consider the resource you will require should you win the tender at this junction. Before you decide on completion dates, deliberate with your team on the feasibility. Involving and consulting all stakeholders is essential at the initial stage for better project management.
- Use the templates correctly
Most RFTs comes with a specific template which needs to be filled in to respond to the tender. Make sure you fill in the template as per the instructions provided and not deviate from the format. This also helps the evaluator to easily review your tender response to consider your offer. In case there are no standard tender template provided, or a supplier is writing a proposal, take care to ensure that all relevant details are captured in a clear and rational manner.
- Notarise your documents
Certain documents in the tender application needs to be signed and stamped by a notary. Ensure to list the documents that needs to be notarised to avoid elimination as it is a mandatory evaluation requirement in the technical round.
- Proofread before you submit
It is a good practice to proofread the entire tender application once it is completed to minimise errors. Apart from using spell check functionality, it makes sense to run it through a third person not involved in the tendering process to check for correctness. You need to pay attention to names and figures. Make sure the quoted amount in figures matches with what you have quoted in words. This is also a final step to check that you have included all the required tender documents in the right format.
- Submit on time
Your tender proposal will not be accepted if you submit late. Therefore, plan and prepare in such a way that you have sufficient time to submit well within the tender due date. Always remember that a timely submission helps build a good impression of professionalism to the buyer too. If you plan to apply online or through the e-Tendering process, consider delays related to internet or network challenges and plan. In case you want to send a physical copy, it is safe to choose a reliable courier service or hand-delivering your tender response.
Summing it up
There are different government tender types announced every year. And while there is no standard process to win a tender, these tips and tricks will lead you to successfully submit a winning government tender application. It takes time to gain information and knowledge about the market to improve your success quotient.
If you need assistance with your tender, you can register on B2B platforms like Tata nexarc to get updates on the latest tenders (Check Tenders and Quotations to find relevant tenders by industry, location, value and other ).