14 March, 2024

What goes into Tender Documents? (Getting a Competitive Tender Process Right)

In this video, I tell you what you need to put into your set of tender documents, when you want to procure products or services by competitive tender.

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This is learning, so, sit back and enjoy

Tender Management and the Tender Process

Tender Management

Let;’s start with Tender Management. It is the process of identifying, briefing, evaluating, selecting, and appointing suppliers of goods or services to the project.

The Tender Process

The process follows a formal procurement procedure and creates tender documentation against which prospective suppliers offer their tender responses. These are used for selecting a preferred supplier.

Tender Documents

The tender documents describe the goods, services, or work that you require, along with any background information about the contract. Tender documents will also outline the contractual relationship that the purchaser wants to establish with the successful bidder.

There are some things that I would expect all tender documents to address, in some form. And, there are others that you may need – due to your local laws, regulations, or policies – or choose to include.

Often, the tender documents will accompany a formal letter, known as an ITT or Invitation to Tender.

Things (almost) Every Set of Tender Documents will Contain

  1. Instructions for the bidders
    Specifically the form of the tender and who needs to sign it, timetable and deadlines, delivery of tender, number of copies needed, formatting, and ethics. You may include a tender return slip or label that bidders must fix onto the package containing their formal response to the tender.
  2. Background information
    Enough context for the suppliers to make fully informed bids. Often this will refer bidders to a separate pack of information.
  3. Evaluation criteria
    How you will assess the bids – maybe including your weightings or scoring mechanism. You may see this referred to as ‘award criteria’.
  4. Specification
    A detailed set of requirements for the products, services, or works you are tendering. You may also include things like necessary standards, sustainability, and monitoring requirements. This may include drawings and diagrams where appropriate.
  5. Outline of Contract form
    General, high-level articulation of terms and conditions like obligations on each party, performance measures, monitoring processes, contractual milestones or deadlines, payment terms and processes, termination, dispute handling, and governing law.
  6. Contract monitoring processes
    How you propose to monitor the performance of the successful bidder.
  7. Contract award process
    What will happen once you have evaluated the tenders that you receive?

Additional Things You May Need or Want to Include in Your Tender Documents

  1. Governing legislation and regulations
  2. Relevant internal policies and procedures you need your contractor to adhere to.
    These may include things like: equality and diversity, health and safety, alcohol and substance misuse, data protection, physical security…
  3. Ethical and CSR responsibilities, including environmental standards
  4. Pricing schedule
    An itemized list of requirements against which bidders must allocate prices
  5. Heads of Terms for the contract or maybe even a draft contract
  6. Confidentiality and freedom of information requirements
  7. Social Value or Community Benefit requirements

Is There Anything Else to Include in Your Tender Documents?

Bear in mind that each jurisdiction has its own legislation, each industry sector has its own needs, and each organization is peculiar to itself. There may well be some particular items that you will need to include in your tender documents.

So, when you start planning their preparation, begin by consulting experts within your organization.

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Mike Clayton

About the Author...

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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