A Tale of Epic Production*

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In the world of bidding, excitement often builds around strategy and the thrill of new opportunities. Yet the crucial production and delivery stages are frequently underestimated.

Why early planning is non-negotiable
The central importance of production and delivery must be recognised from the start, regardless of the submission format.

We recently assisted a client with one of the largest tenders South Africa has seen, requiring a truckload of physical submissions. Picture working with three new teams from diverse cultures and countries on an impossibly tight deadline. The complexity and pressure skyrocketed.

Crafting a detailed production plan was imperative, from lockable bid boxes on wheels to preparing for the unforeseen with backup responses and secure delivery. Not to mention orchestrating the logistics for the avalanche of paperwork.

Through this labyrinth, we found ways to save precious time:

  • Plan and plan again: Excess resources are better than too few. Prepare well with the right people, tools, and technology upfront.
  • Smart structuring: Starting early with flexibility allows for later stress-free adjustments.
  • Content libraries: Availability of standard content cuts down time spent searching. Get your standard content out of the way early.

Yet for all the planning, the inevitable hiccups (from late content to malfunctioning printers) remind us to stay nimble. Regular catchups can be your North Star, guiding the project home.

Humour and harmony in the face of chaos
Maintaining a serene demeanour and a ready smile goes a long way. It’s about rallying everyone to cross the finish line. In this case endless nights were part of the journey (though they shouldn’t be), and delays can sneak up, often from the most unexpected places.

Our recent adventure wasn’t just about submitting a tender; it involved strategically assessing our competition and learning to be more vigilant. From the trust we place in who will deliver the submission to proof of receipt, we should keep everything close at hand.

The rewarding finish
Despite the adrenaline and stressors, witnessing your collective effort materialise is profoundly rewarding. The bid process, culminating in production and delivery, is a testament to teamwork and flexible planning.
We had a printer we fondly called “Optimus Prime” – but “Bob Marley” was more appropriate during crunch time, due to its tendency for jamming.

Which reinforces a critical lesson:

Production isn’t an afterthought. By weaving it into the lifecycle early, you mitigate last-minute disasters. With all its intricacies, the process deserves respect and careful orchestration to ensure your bid is submitted on time and stands out. So, as we navigate through each phase, let’s commit to enduring and thriving, one bid at a time.

*I used AI for summarisation, ideation and structure, and grammar review, but the final content, edits, and personal touches are all mine based on my experience. AI was just a tool to help me be more efficient and creative.

This article was written by Larissa Cornelius.

With over 12 years in business development and proposal consultancy, Larissa offers bid expertise across various industries. She has trained thousands of people and worked with over 260 companies on strategic bid work. She has a further seven years of operational management expertise and actively promotes the proposal profession by combining proposal best practices with her operational and sales background, helping businesses win more.

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