We are all convinced that we have the best solution out there! All we have to do is describe what we have, properly and the client will immediately pick our bid as the best – won’t they?
Well, unfortunately, life is not that simple in the world of Public Sector bids. We always have to provide answers to a series of questions, then those questions are evaluated and the best answers will win.
So, because we have the very best solution and price, we must still come out on top, mustn’t we?
Regrettably, the answer is still uncertain and possibly, unlikely. This is all to do with the evaluation process, which is not about the best solution and value-for-money.
The evaluation process is based upon awarding marks for each answer against a scoring sheet. The best solution and value-for-money are worked out after this main part of the evaluation is complete.
A typical scoring sheet lays out what marks the evaluators can give for each answer they scrutinise. They will range from “0” for no answer to top marks for an answer which meets every part of their criteria.
Their criteria are mostly described in their questions and tend to be technical queries from technical people requiring technical answers. Your practitioners and technocrats will have great fun describing your superb products and services, leaving no part of your capability unexplained, whether or not it was asked for as part of the specification. However, with the best products and service in the world, that will only get you half the possible marks!
In the scoring process, excellent and complete technical descriptions are usually required, just to allow the evaluators to score in the middle band of available marks. To go further, the proof is needed for your assertions of excellence.
A recent Public Sector scoring template required the evaluators to satisfy themselves that the following points were all made if they were considering recording maximum scores:
“Excellent response with very few or no weaknesses exceeds requirements and provides comprehensive, detailed, and convincing assurance that the Tenderer will deliver to an excellent standard.”
The first part is the bit you have already done well. However, the second element is all about the assurance you can give. Assurance is the ability to tell someone something positively or confidently to dispel any doubts they may have. So, following your technical description, if you want maximum marks you must show:
- What choices there were and why you picked the solution you did
- Where it has been done before and why that was similar to the proposed requirement
- How successful it was and how that success was measured
Your challenge is to get your practitioners and technocrats to build this into the descriptions they are working on. Do this and your success in Public Sector bidding is assured too.
Author: Andy Haigh PPM APMP Director and Public Sector Bid Consultant, Sixfold International Ltd
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