Procurement Success

key2successInspiring Partnerships are really pleased to have been appointed by Central Bedfordshire Council to continue to develop the hospitality skills project.  We have been brokering relationships between training providers and local businesses in the sector and will now be able to extend the reach of the project to a wider number of employers and more people who will enter the sector to gain work and develop careers.

Like any business involved in applying for contracts and commissioning, we reflect on past successes and failures to inform the latest proposal or opportunity.  We also do work with clients to place them more competitively in their procurement work.  This includes assisting clients to articulate their outcomes, their impact, reach their stakeholders and facilitating meetings or training to achieve these goals.  We have now drawn up our top 10 procurement tips – sure to be revised as we learn but let us know what you think:

  1. Read the brief carefully – and now with procurement portals this has reached new levels of accuracy as each character and word over a limit will be highlighted.  Note down if attachments are required or any additional processes that need to be fulfilled.  Make sure you cover all the tasks and skills specifications!
  2. Check for deal breakers – if a certain level of insurance or quality assurance is required then make sure you have it, seek agreement about your status or reconsider your tender – don’t waste time on proposals that won’t get through basic compliance.
  3. Consider your competition – who else will apply for this work? What skills and expertise do others hold?   What is your USP?
  4. Offer good value – the market is competitive and everyone is thinking carefully about price – don’t undervalue but be realistic.
  5. Add value – what can you do that others can’t or won’t – this is your USP and added value.  Demonstrate your innovation, your thinking and articulate the benefits of this to the client.
  6. Be honest – don’t set yourself up to fail and if you need to highlight an issue or concern, use a risk assessment as a way of drawing this out.
  7. Focus on the big picture and sketch out the proposal first and then complete the tender forms – don’t use tender forms to do your planning; they have many headings but they are more brief than project plan.
  8. Choose tenders carefully – they take a lot of time to do well, so make some basic rules about what you will and won’t do – maybe it’s about geography, specialisms or that you are not going to tender unless you have had a previous contact or relationship.
  9. Consider a consortia approach – working as an associate or part of a group may spread the tendering risk and increase your USP.  This collaborative approach offers clients good value and more security than working with 1 small business.
  10. Get someone to read through your proposal before you send it off – get them to tell you if it makes sense and spelt correctly.  Nic and I typically get their husbands in on this role as well as reading and re-reading ourselves!

I’ll be back next week with the experience of sitting on the first 2 week pre-employment hospitality course in Bedfordshire so watch this space!