Thursday, 16 June 2011

Tender M.E.A.T - Challenging Tenders and Supplier Relationship Managment SRM.

As is so common at today’s business exhibitions , along with the conventional lecture halls for the main talks there were open workshops held in open sided presentation ‘theatres’ without walls.
My heart always goes out to those speakers who have to present in such spaces with all the noise and visual distractions that accompany such areas. Holding an audience’s attention is very hard in such circumstances. The plasma screen television sets are usually too small to project any but the simplest of visuals for audiences to read save the front two or three rows of the bear-pit.

Yet two workshops I did enjoy were one in the legal theatre and one in the Procurement Skills Workshop space.

The current financial climate and the October 2010 Spending review have meant central and local government and the broader public sector are having to deliver more with less. There has been an increase in legal challenges from private sector bidders ( the sales side) anxious to win work. So the reduction of procurement spending is more laden with risk than ever for the procurement side.

On the Tuesday of the show one of the sell outs with 'standing room only' at the back- four rows deep was for Ceri Delemore a Partner in the law firm Geldards.
The teasing title of her talk was “ Up for the challenge? How to make (your) tenders challenge proof.”
The EU rules on tenders have put an extra burden on Procurement Managers in the public sector so attending such a talk could prove useful for the Sales side ( Bidders) to learn from as well to understand these rules from a buyer's perspective.

Of course Ceri admitted from the outset that you can’t make a tender challenge proof but she was going to offer the sell out crowd some pointers.
The topic is important as challenged tenders cause a great deal of extra work as the process has to be done all over again.
Ceri highlighted the most common errors that can lead to challenges- prevention being better than cure.
• Get the Contract notice wrong and…
• Contract criteria and weighting must be ‘reasonable’ ( Permissible) if not…
• Not treating bidders equally…
• Failure to notify or incorrectly notify…
• Making post award amendments of substantial or material nature…

Ceri’s suggested that scoping parameters is a stage not to be rushed. Pr-planning and particularly testing were key. For example he recommended that a set of dummy scores be run to test out scoring matrices.

She reminded the audience of the MEAT acronym Most Economic Advantageous Tender

To the question of the issues with criteria and measure of assessment her views were clear


She also warned those procurement mangers present not to mix up the selection ( The What) and awarding ( How)stage.

She also strongly advised that a good audit trail throughout the whole process was essential.

Unsuccessful bidders must be notified given their scores and reasons for the choice of the award winner. Although an oral briefing is OK for an experience panel Ceri’s advice was a debrief in writing given at the be earliest possible stage.
Be vigilant on any post contract award changes. Material changes will often ‘invite’ a challenge. Ceri said that often this problem could have been covered if such areas had been included in the scoping document.

Her talk also covered the importance of taking up of references. She suggested that too often references are not taken up.

One point she made on Evaluation of Bidders at their presentation met with a lot nods from the audience when she said that too often ‘slick presentations’ win over content.
Ceri suggested that you could mark the presentation so long as you make it clear in advance what you are marking.
The next workshop attended was one of Stephen Ashcroft’s marathon 8 sessions over the two days of the show for Brian Farrington Procurement Consultants. The 121 clinic I chose to experience was Supplier Relationship Management SRM.

Stephen opened his session with a question “ Who is responsible for SRM – Is it Procurement or the Client Bidder?

He suggested that the Adversarial Approach was no longer acceptable.
In the age of the EU regulated environment the escalation procedure was expensive and costly in time. He referred to the stages of litigation, Mediation, Arbitration and Negotiation.

(Stephen taking questions after his talk)
SRM was best suited to the post award activity.
Stephen then took he audience through his four sector Spend /Business Impact matrix .
For those salespeople who do key account work you would recognise the approach. Stephen for sectors were Operational, Tactical Alliance and Strategic.

Stephen’s slides can be accessed on this link

Procurement Law Consultancy-support-Dispute resolution-Training


  1. That is why these tenders are called e-tenders and the businesses carried out with such tenders are called e-business. Some tenders floated on line are paid tenders while some others are free tenders.

  2. Informative post regarding border road organization tenders. Online tenders are a good way to grow your business.

    government tenders south africa & tender management

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