Tendering is the competitive process of BUYERS requesting proposals from SUPPLIERS to provide goods or services to their organisation. It is an invitation to submit a proposal that will be evaluated against the requirements specified in the tender document.
Tendering can feel overwhelming, even for professional tender writers, as there are several moving parts, unique selling points, and specific criteria that must be met in order to qualify.
The following is a general overview of the tendering process for beginners. The entire cycle of the procurement process is quite involved, so we’re going to break it down into its most fundamental elements so you can get a better understanding of bid management and the application process.
Release of the Request For Tender (RFT)
A Request For Tender (RFT) is an invitation by an organisation, seeking proposals from prospective suppliers, to submit an application for the provision of goods or services.
Once the tender request is released, suppliers will have a set amount of time to submit their bids. The length of this time period is usually specified in the tender document itself. This allows prospective bidders to assess their ability and availability before committing to providing goods or services.
This is the most detailed part of the tendering process and requires specific evidence-based information that positions the goods and services you supply as the most enticing to the buyer.
Don’t be surprised if you are asked to attend a briefing or site visit. These meetings are invaluable to your tender application process.
Expect to prepare the following responses:
A summary of your company’s experience in providing these services in the past (including references from previous clients)
A qualitative schedule of your goods/services (listing all services offered)
A quantitative schedule of your goods/services (listing the estimated costs per service)
A persuasive cover page that highlights your strengths as a potential supplier
You must complete all sections of the application and proofread the document or risk disqualification. Once completed, you must submit the proposal to the organisation.
Evaluation and Award
The tenderer (not to be confused with tender) will evaluate the proposals from prospective suppliers, and select the supplier whose bid best meets their requirements. The supplier with the best proposal will be awarded the contract.
Expect a negotiation period between the buyer and selected supplier to agree on the terms and conditions of the contract. The contract should include details such as:
- The goods or services to be provided
- Scope of work
- Schedule of delivery dates
- Payment terms and conditions (including installment schedules)
- Warranties or guarantees
- Termination clause (for unforeseen circumstances)
- The contract will then be signed by both the supplier and the organisation.
Further Tender Process Information
This brief overview of the tendering process is designed to give you a basic understanding of bid management, however, tendering is often more involved, depending on the initial Request For Tender. The Parliament of Australia takes a deep dive into the tendering process.
If you need more detailed information, Tender Advice templates may hold the answers to your questions.