According to our research, manual, repetitive tasks are at the top of Bid Teams frustrations in doing their job. This impacts morale and time available to generate high scoring quality tender responses.
In this article, we explore the issues around these working inefficiencies as well as ways to resolve them with the adoption of dedicated Tender Management tools.
Firstly, lets discuss the impact to teams undertaking continual repetitive manual tasks. These time heavy activities:
- Add more pressure to deliver on already tight timescales
- Foster work frustrations and boredom
- Lead to rushed and inferior work
- Increase inaccuracies and potentially costly mistakes
- Impact motivation and morale to succeed.
Such working inefficiencies seriously impact the quality of your tender submissions, leading to poorer evaluation scores and lower win probabilities.
Let’s run through the Tender Process and look at the principal areas where manual repetitive tasks impact the most.
1. Accessing Multiple Systems & Files
Many Bid Teams are still using generic business tools such as email, spreadsheets and word-processing to manage complex tender projects.
This means juggling workloads between several unintegrated stand-alone solutions. Being able to follow any defined or consistent process becomes almost impossible. This often results in duplicated efforts and multiple data inputs. Also keeping records accurate and up to date can be challenging, especially when several people are accessing the same files.
This becomes even more challenging when working from home and accessing systems via VPN. Multiple logging-on, document download and updating can be difficult and time consuming.
Digital transformation of the technology used to manage tender bids is essential to addressing these issues. Adopting a cloud-based dedicated Bid Management Solution will provide easy, anytime, anywhere access to a fully integrated solution. All bid management activities, content and collaborations can take place in the one environment, reducing working roadblocks and inefficiencies.
“55% of companies without a digital transformation believe they have less than a year before they start to lose market share.” Forbes.
2. Sourcing Tender Opportunities
Bid Teams will generally source Contract Notices in-house or by employing a third-party Tender Alerts service.
Either way, comprehensive sourcing of Notices commonly requires searching multiple Public Procurement Portals, such as TED EU, Find a Tender Service (FTS) UK, Sell2Wales and Public Contracts Scotland.
This can lead to masses of Contract Notices populating your email inbox. This may include duplicate Notices posted on multiple Portals as well as Call Off Notices for Framework Contracts.
“Very quickly your Tender Opportunities funnel can grow like Japanese Knotweed’
This can quickly become a very onerous, mind-numbing daily repetitive activity. We know of teams spending many hours a week on this work to find the right tender opportunities.
Further to this, your Sales team may need to undertake additional repetitive activity to populate your CRM or Sales Management system for ongoing opportunities management.
These inefficiencies increase the risks of missing vital opportunities and eat into valuable time to craft tender submissions.
With a dedicated Bid Management Solution, you can link to your required Public Procurement Portals, set up all search criteria as filters and watch Contract Notices automatically populate the platform. Further criteria can be set to flag up and prioritise your best-fit opportunities for immediate action.
Sales Team members can receive automatic alerts for new opportunities and undertake the whole qualification, sign off and handover to the Bid Team, all within the same system.
This will significantly reduce the frustrations and the repetitive nature of sourcing tenders, giving you more time to focus on delivering quality tender submissions.
3. Tender Project Mobilisation & Management
Bidding for contracts is a complex activity, involving vast amounts of information, multiple tasks and people. Stakeholders may be across different divisions, countries and time zones, making it even more challenging.
With tight deadlines to deliver to, any delays can impact the quality of tender submissions. But this is an area fraught with manual repetitive activities especially when relying on spreadsheets and email to manage your projects.
And imagine working on several highly complex bids at the same time?
Repetitive tasks include:
- Project set up including file directory
- Project notifications to stakeholders
- Assigning project roles
- Setting up briefing sessions
- Content request
- Task alerts and reminders
- Managing clarification questions and responses
- Amalgamating content responses
- Reviewing project progress
- Securing feedback and approvals.
Without a consistent methodology and proper project transparency and insight, critical tasks can be delayed or missed. This will result in rushed work and poor-quality tender submissions.
“Businesses with a clear project management structure in place have 38% more successful projects that met their original goals than those that did not.” Pulse of the Profession study from the Project Management Institute.
At the core of any good Bid Management Solution is the ability to project manage the entire process from start to finish. In-built workflow automation and smart tools negate the need for unnecessary repetitive manual tasks, including those listed above. Project mobilisation is quick and easy, with defined processes, automatic reminders, decision gates, approvals, and dashboards to ensure effective issue resolution and time management.
4. Finding Content for Tender Responses
Quality tender submissions are reliant on assessing vast amounts of information and documentation, including the Procuring Agencies tender requirements and your responses to the Supplier Questionnaire (SQ) and Invitation to Tender (ITT).
Without a central repository for both, Bid Teams may spend many cumulative hours repeatedly looking for and securing content for tender responses. Information may be located on different systems, servers or individuals’ computers.
Even when information is sourced can your team be sure it is the most up-to-date, accurate content? Contracts worth millions may be put at risk due to inferior quality information within your tender responses.
“Unless you have control of content from creation to tender submission, your bid is at risk.”
Managing documentation and content within a Bid Management Solution ensures all content is easily available and accessible to all stakeholders at any time.
Documents will have a full audit trail with versioning and approvals in place. Feedback loops will allow review and updating of master documents, ensuring ongoing improvement and refinement of content and tender responses.
5. Engaging Subject Matter Experts
Your bid submission is reliant on timely delivery of compelling, competitive tender responses. Therefore, your Subject Matter Experts are vital to the Bidding Process.
And yet your Bid Team may be hard pressed to have the time to properly engage and motivate them. The only interaction may be from repetitively emailing them with information requests and reminders and providing the minimum of information.
“Asking your SME’s the same questions time and time again in the same way, will illicit the same responses – answers that may repeatedly score poorly in your tender submissions.”
Dealing with their own work pressures, SMEs will find it hard to prioritise and deliver comprehensive tender responses. Especially when given limited context or understanding of the Procuring Agency’s requirements and scoring mechanisms.
Bid Teams may then become further frustrated and start writing their own responses – without full context or knowledge of the subject!
A Bid Management Solution can be used to assign Subject Matter Experts for areas of content or specific questions. Automated notification and reminders can be set to ensure responses are delivered in a timely manner.
They have full visibility of tender questions, evaluation criteria, scoring mechanisms, win themes, competitive position and risk factors. Past tender responses and resultant evaluation scores can be reviewed and understood.
Subject Matter Experts who are fully engaged in the bid management process and given access to vital information and tools for easy updating, will be more motivated to deliver quality responses.
6. Completing Tender Submissions
One of the most intense activities for any Bid Manager is the finalisation of the Bid Submission document. Collating comprehensive responses to 100s of questions can take hours of frustrating cut and paste, formatting and checking. All under the pressure of looming deadlines and securing final sign off.
“The nearer the deadline to complete the submission the lower the quality”
There may be multiple versions of key content sat within multiple locations and systems. Vital information may be missing, and rushed responses compiled. Bid Teams may even be forced to resort to using previous tender responses that didn’t deliver top scores.
A Bid Management Solution integrated with Microsoft Word Quick Parts allows auto-population of content from your platform’s content library and folders. It’s much quicker to create rapid key facts and documents with easy template construction and formatting.
Having clear visibility of content ownership, versioning, sign offs and potential scores, ensures better quality, accurate and approved information is included in your tender submission.
7. Contract Handover
A Bid Team’s fundamental goal is to win tenders. Handing over of a won contract to the delivery team, however, is one of the most crucial stages of the process. Without a proper briefing and supply of all relevant information, the project can easily stall, or issues evolve.
This involves many of the repeated tasks already mentioned above, including notifications, meeting requests, sourcing and sharing approved documents etc. Plus the associated time consuming challenges when managing projects with unintegrated generic business tools.
Adopting a Bid Management Solution that delivers a Contracts Management module, will help ensure an efficient and comprehensive handover to the Contracts Delivery Team.
Automatic notifications and workflows can be set up to activate on Contract signing, with easy access to all relevant information and documentation. Quick mobilisation and a defined service delivery process within the solution, will ensure projects are managed to the highest level. Progress can be easily monitored and issues identified and resolved early. All to ensure client expectations and experiences are manged effectively.
The Win, Win Solution
In conclusion, achieving time efficiency is at the core of any tender process and Bid Management Solution, such as TenderEyes. Reducing the need for repeated, manual activities with streamlined activities, automated tasks and smart tools, all within a fully integrated system, will pay huge dividends.
Team members will feel less frustrated, more informed and engaged in the process. Ultimately, freeing up time will allow your Bid Teams and other stakeholders to focus on what matters most.
And that is the crafting of quality, competitive tender responses that score highly and deliver you more wins!