12 May How to meet basic compliance requirements for a standard tender submission
Completing a bid response can be a daunting process as there are many stumbling blocks which can slow you down or cause your bid to be disqualified. Afterall, it is a competition, and often one that involves the toughest of your eligible competitors! To ensure you make the most of opportunities to win work for your business, your tender submission must adhere to all the requirements stipulated by the client, the ‘buyer’. This process of completing a tender can be quite painstaking, with attention to detail crucial, but once you have scored the highest points, been chosen by the client to carry out the job, and tasted success, it will all be worth it!
Make a plan
When tendering for a contract it is crucial to first make a plan and then follow it step by step. One of the most important points of compliance in that plan will be the one at the end – the date of submission! If you get that wrong, and you miss the deadline, you’ll likely find yourself immediately disqualified and all your efforts will have been wasted. Other important measures to factor into your plan include leaving time to get your tender fully checked through by someone who is meticulous in regard to detail and ideally understands your business sector. Also, factor in time to get the final document signed off internally by all the relevant people in your company’s chain of command. Those signatures may be a requirement, internally or externally, and without them your submission may not be compliant.
Read the tender document through first
It may sound obvious, but reading through the tender document thoroughly and making a compliance checklist is a great way to make sure you can fulfil all requirements. Resist the temptation to just start filling in sections that you know you can comply with. If new to the business of bidding for work, all too often (and usually after hours of poring over the document), you’ll get to a question where you can’t meet the stipulated requirements and all your efforts will have been wasted. We recommend making a simple list setting out the compliance requirements and evidence you are obliged to provide to the contractor. List these documents in the same order as listed in the tender document and take note of precisely where this information relates back to in the tender document. This will save you crucial time later in the process.
Gather key compliance documentation
Key areas where you may be expected to prove your compliance include insurance policies, your business accounts, industry accreditations, health & safety and risk assessments, and company or personal references. Be prepared to submit documents in full, including appendices, and to back them up with recent and relevant evidence. Make sure all your certificates, accreditations and policies are in date and that you do not refer to old legislation or bodies. As you become more experienced in filling in tenders, you may find that you are consistently required to be ISO 9001 certified, for example, or that liability insurance or proof of a Health & Safety Policy are basic requirements in your field of work. By achieving such certification or completing such policies, you’re making the next tender submission all the easier.
That’s a lot to tick off, and in addition, compliance documentation often depends on a good banking record and credit history, qualified employees, up-to-date tax returns, and insured equipment and personnel, just to name a few! But for your business to run efficiently and effectively, you are likely to need to be on top of these requirements anyway. And once your company compliance and the relevant documentation is in order, recorded and maintained, then completing a bid response in the future will be less daunting.
When noting down compliance documentation requirements, also record where supplying evidence is a prerequisite for the tender submission. This way you gather together everything you require early on, or else leave time for you to contact people within your company who can help source the missing evidence. Make sure evidence is recent and relevant to the contract you are trying to win. Also, don’t shy away from showing how you have solved problems or improved your business. For example, if you are required to supply incident information, the assessor will likely be marking you on how you took the relevant steps to ensure similar incidences would not happen again, rather than marking you down specifically for an incident that occurred in the past.
Read all the questions carefully and answer them fully. This should be the daily mantra of any professional bid writer! You should be asking yourself, have you completed all sections as required? Is it detailed enough and answering the question properly and fully? Is my method of displaying the required information exactly as was stipulated in the tender document? A compliant tender submission is also one written in the required font, to the correct word length, backed up by relevant experience and documentation, and, of course, submitted on time.
Wow! What a relief it feels when you are finally ready to submit that tender document. And the great news is that with every tender submission you create, you’re making the next one that little bit easier. All your work in gathering and updating compliance documentation is not wasted and will in fact support you in running an efficient and effective organisation in the coming years, as well as help you win contracts to grow and succeed in your business.
Our sister Company KCS Compliance Services, can help with creating and maintaining order of your compliance documentation. ComplianceManaged®, is a cloud-based portal, stores all your compliance documentation in one place and consolidates the task into one easy-to-manage dashboard; tracking updates in real time and notifying, reminding and alerting you as critical documents require action. ComplianceManaged® saves you stress with minimal effort and maximum piece of mind. https://www.kcscompliance.com/services/compliance-managed/