Your bid, just like your CV must stand out in procurement process

Philip Meeli Ole Kamwaro, financial analyst. [Courtesy]

Two months ago, thousands of hopeful Kenyans thronged the headquarters of a security company in the hopes of getting the few job slots that the firm had advertised.

One can only imagine the Herculean task that the human resource department was faced with. Sieving tens of thousands of CVs in a way that ensures that the right candidate is not overlooked must have been challenging.

Although on a smaller scale, procurement professionals frequently face comparable difficulties, the fundamental idea, of searching for a highly qualified applicant competing for a single open position amid many submissions remains the same. Additionally, much like our counterparts in human resources, we must carefully evaluate bids to guarantee the choice of the best firm or consultant.

The same care must be taken on the part of the company that is bidding.

Given the small margin for error, procurement procedures should be conducted with the same level of care as one would apply for a job.

Competition is tough, particularly if the procuring institution has a reputation for making payments on time or if the tender is lucrative, which is a huge comfort in the challenging economic environment of today.

So, how do you make your bid just like your CV, stand out?

The incidence of simple mistakes by potential candidates is a frequent blunder seen by procurement specialists. The submission of bids with expired permits is a common error.

No matter how excellent a company's profile might be, such a simple error automatically eliminates the bidder from consideration.

The submission of late bids is another problem that can be prevented. To retain credibility and demonstrate competency, you should submit bids on time, just as you wouldn't show up late for a job interview.

A big step toward success is already taken when the fundamentals are correctly carried out, including the completion and submission of crucial documents in the required format and meeting both mandatory and technical requirements, positioning the bidding firm favourably in the process.

A triple blend and balance of financial, technical, and operational knowledge must also be clearly demonstrated, such as the ability to meet the requirements of the procuring party.

I want to draw attention to an important but generally disregarded factor that occurs during the financial appraisal stage. Contrary to popular belief, the lowest bid does not always win.

It is crucial to understand that individuals with expertise in a variety of sectors, including engineering, legal, and marketing, frequently serve on review panels. Based on the data provided, these specialists can determine whether the bidder can actually deliver. Offering the lowest price isn't as crucial as quality, credibility, and the capacity to fulfil the criteria.

A bid that is too low may indicate to the purchasing firm that quality may be sacrificed and costs may be slashed.

Concerns may also be raised regarding the possibility that the bidder will try to renegotiate the price of the project in the middle of it, which is undesirable. It is essential for procurement processes to strike a balance between competitiveness and the capacity to fulfil commitments.

The next crucial steps include selling your company the best way, just as you would answer the proverbial human resource question: why should we hire you?

On this, a potential bidder should now demonstrate how they will offer value to the procuring entity. In other words, the bid should guarantee that the procuring entity receives optimal value for the money invested in relation to the work performed.

This is one area that bidders overlook, but the companies or individuals that are successful know how to score big here.

For example, are you willing to offer additional services, e.g. installation, delivery, technical support, or free training to the procuring entity? Simple as it sounds, these are some of the value adds that will give your bid brownie points during evaluation.

It also helps if you can show how your company aligns with the procurement company's pillars. If they are big on ESG, demonstrate how you incorporate these principles in your operation.

Finally, should you be called to the negotiation round, it is often advised that you come with an open mind. Understand the procuring entity's needs and be willing to be flexible or have counter offers, such as if they ask for a discount, ask them to commit to prompt payment.

The list is not exhaustive, but it can act as a rough guide on how best to sell your company profile and, in so doing, increase the chances of winning that bid.

-The writer is a finance specialist

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