Lesson 6: Plan Your Response

There are many factors to preparing a tender, so planning your response is essential. For example, you may meet the mandatory requirements but sourcing the necessary supporting documentation is difficult. 

Make your Tender Checklist 

Develop your tender checklist and stick to it.  

When developing the checklist, work backwards from the due date. A project worksheet is helpful to ensure you’ve identified all important requirements.  

The checklist allows the entire team to quickly access key tender information without having to review pages of documentation.  

Download

Download my-Tender Worksheet. 

As you’re reading the RTF, make a note of the necessary information required. Add this to your tender checklist. 

(Download available from the Module 2 downloads lesson.)

Tender Documents 

Read the Tender Thoroughly 

Ill say it again! 

All documents that are part of the RFT should be read thoroughly.  

Make notes to understand the key criteria and mandatory requirements.  

Complying with format requirements 

Formatting is key – RFTs will often require a strict response format to be observed so the client can easily compare each submission. Check if there is a specified format that you must use. In some instances, clients may provide a template for you to use in your response.  

Changing the response format may result in your disqualification through non-compliance. 

Using your own format 

Some RFTs do not specify a response format or the requested format can be general or unspecific. If you’re able to use your own structure, you’ll need to develop a framework that suits your proposal. 

Contract conditions  

The conditions of contract specify how the services will be delivered legally and contractually. Where possible, seek advice from a legal representative. It’s important to understand the conditions and how they might affect your business if you’re awarded the contract.  

Take note of warranties, guarantees and any statutory requirements. You must read through the entire contract as it may contain statements of work required which you cannot conform to, or that might have an impact on your company’s operations and profitability. 

Example – Conditions of the Contract 

“Tenderers must provide 24/7 and 365 days per year customer service and deliver all products within two hours of the request being made.” 

OR:  

“Tenderers must have certified systems in place for their Quality Management, Environmental Management and Workplace Health & Safety systems.” 

Statement of Work or Specifications 

Specifications will describe elements such as quantity, timeframe, quality and location. You must meet these requirements to submit a conforming tender. 

  • Identify any areas of non-compliance and how they may affect your ability to deliver the products/services 
  • Determine if you have an alternative tender to present that provides a better offer 
  • Use your checklist to work out your ability to meet the specifications.  

Remember – you must be able to deliver on mandatory requirements. If you can’t, you may be eliminated from the process. 

Supporting Documentation  

There is often a requirement to attach company policies, procedures and supporting records to demonstrate your ability to deliver the services/products required. Ensure your supporting documentation is presented in a manner that meets RFT requirements. 

Download

Download my Tender Supporting Documentation checklist.  (Available from the Module 2 downloads lesson.)

Asking Questions 

You may require clarification or additional information on some of the requirements during the tender process.  

The Conditions of Tender document will detail the process to submit questions. It’s important to note the date when the client will stop responding to questions (include it on your checklist and in your project plan). This is often several days prior to the closing date.  

Clarifications can include: 

  • More details on the specifications, and/or 
  • Inconsistencies in the documents. 

Conflicts of Interest 

If you believe a conflict of interest exists, seek legal advice. Also consider your position carefully before submitting a response. It’s important to assess your company’s position regarding actual or potential conflicts of interest. These may include financial or relationship issues.