Wednesday, 24 August 2011

A Tender that Added Value

I have been fairly critical of the whole tendering process in the past, based on my experience of it.  However, a recent tender I took part in seems certainly to have added value for the organisation asking for tenders.

It was a large organisational change project, and seven organisations or consultants were invited to tender.  Of these four were invited for an interview.

I was the first to be interviewed, and although the interview was fairly brief (scheduled for 45 mins but we talked for about an hour in the event), it was a very interesting discussion, in which they were very open about that fact that I had taken their thinking forward - not least with regard to the scale and complexity of what they were undertaking.

I have just received the feedback: I was their second choice, so did not win the tender.  But what was clear from the feedback was that they had continued to learn from the others whom they had interviewed, and had really clarified, and to some extent reformulated, what they wanted.

The disadvantage of going first (I know there are also advantages) was that they were not able to ask me questions about issues that they discovered later in the process.

Thus their feedback to me was that they weren't sure that my approach would address some of these issues - and had no opportunity to quiz me on that.

Needless to say, I believe that had I been asked those questions, I would have been able to demonstrate how my approach did indeed address those issues.

However, what is clear is that they learned a lot based on the tendering and interviewing process, and made a decision informed by that: it may well have been the right decision, of course, but there are still clearly flaws in the process from the suppliers' point of view...

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