Getting processes right from the start can save time and pounds
We get involved in both ends of the procurement spectrum; helping organisations to get their process right for commissioning services and equipment as well as helping companies get their ducks in a row for responding to a tender.
We see some faultless procedures, but we also see some shocking scenarios which can cost the taxpayer vast amounts of money when it’s a public sector issue and private companies may be caused to close down regional offices in the private sector. Very often, simply because someone didn’t follow the correct process.
So, here’s a brief checklist to ensure you’re going about procurement in the right way:
1. Ensure the correct internal governance procedures are followed;
If you don’t have any governance; get some! You need policies in place to ensure consistency of people setting criteria, judging criteria – and responding to criteria. Business is hard enough out there for people, without moving goal posts – or even removing them altogether!
2. Engage with stakeholders and in particular service users
Really get to grips with what is actually needed – not just what you think is needed, or worse, what you’ve been told is needed, with no evidence. Procurement of a service or equipment should be an exciting time to make positive change and improvements; it shouldn’t be a chore. Most things and systems can be improved somewhere along the line, so stick your neck out and take the opportunity to make a difference – not just a saving. If you’re clever, they can go hand in hand…
3. Prepare a service specification that meets the needs of all stakeholders and ensure it is scrutinised by stakeholders prior to final draft;
As above, don’t just assume you understand or know it all. Things change, equipment changes and people change. Make sure you understand all the parameters you’re working to and double check them. There is a way of pleasing most of the people most of the time, but the only way you’ll know is if you ask them.
4. Ensure accurate and validated service activity information is captured
We have been shocked and disappointed at how little this kind of utilisation data is valued. How can you expect an inbound service provider to be able to scope a project or service correctly, if this information is not provided – or is even false?
The reality of this, too, is that ‘the truth will out’ … it doesn’t take long for a service to break down and if current activity levels and usage rates are not consistent with historic data, people begin to question why. So it makes sense to start with a clean sheet and really scope out what is realistically needed, using data to back up your thinking, rather than finger in the air vagaries. They help no one – especially not the end user
5. Prepare accurate and carefully thought through PQQ (Pre-Qualification Questionnaire) and ITT (Invitation to Tender) documentation.
Again, don’t just copy and paste. Think it through; make the changes you need to, according to stakeholder and user requirements. Also make criteria clear to those tendering. Challenges, on the occasions when they happen, waste and cost a great deal of time and money for both the commissioner and the applicants and in most situations can be avoided. They are most often caused by good old human error – so make sure it’s not yours!
If you need help preparing a tender – or preparing a response to tender – we can help. We have processes and criteria and we’re happy to share, so contact us!