You lodged your tender three months ago and you’re still waiting to hear the result. How can it take so long to pick a winner? To help you understand let’s look at a few of the issues I’ve encountered when working on tender evaluation panels.
Recruiting staff to sit on tender evaluation panels can be difficult, holding on to them for the duration can be impossible – especially if it takes longer than expected. Retaining a team of busy people beyond the original timeframe is always a challenge; reconvening them once they have returned to their daily jobs is even more difficult – like herding cats.
Frank and Open Discussions
If you think all discussions within the evaluation room go smoothly you are mistaken. I have witnessed and been part of some very frank and open discussions on the merits of various tenderers. As Chair of the evaluation panel I have had to ensure everyone is heard and that no one is railroaded into a particular position.
This takes time but it is absolutely necessary. Why? Because at the end of the process all panel members need to be willing to sign off on the evaluation report and they will not do this unless they are comfortable with the recommendations.
Once the evaluation panel has completed its assessment the job is done, right? Not so fast. The financial viability of each short listed supplier has to be assessed; a process that can take a month or more; especially where a Panel of 10 or more suppliers is being established.
Writing up the Match Report
Writing up the final evaluation report for sign off by the Delegate is another major piece of work. The evaluation report needs to be a stand-alone document that provides a brief analysis of each tenderer, details the results of the evaluation process and how the decisions were. The report has to be circulated to the evaluation panel, refined until all members are prepared to sign it and then sent off to the Delegate for final approval.
The Final step
The Evaluation Panel cannot contact the preferred supplier/s and begin contract negotiations until the Delegate has signed off. Unsuccessful suppliers will then only be notified after a contract has been agreed and signed.
In for the long haul
Given the above scenarios, taking 12-16 weeks from RFT release to final notification of the winning tenders for a sizable project is more the norm than the exception.
Is this frustrating? Absolutely. Particularly when you are trying to forward plan your workload.
Is it unavoidable? Pretty much if you want to do business with customers that spend public monies. So what can you do? Understand how their system works and be patient; develop and lodge the very best tender you can and then get on with business.