Helping SMEs understand the tendering process

Talent Lab produced a Guide to Procurement for SMEs as part of an initiative that aims to strengthen relationships in the UK construction industry.
Our clients

The Innovation Driven Procurement (IDP) Programme, a joint collaboration between Nottingham Trent University (NTU), Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and Morgan Sindall was set up to develop supply chain capacity within construction, focusing especially on the innovations which Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) can bring to the UK’s public works.

The requirement

Talent Lab was commissioned to write a Guide To Procurement for SMEs aimed at small companies which would like to know more about winning places on frameworks, tenders and supply chains. The guide sought to dispel some of the jargon around the tendering process and bring clarity to those who have never tendered before or were sceptical of winning work from the public sector.

How we helped

Talent Lab was engaged to produce the guide due to our experience of helping a range of clients, from SMEs to PLCs, with their tender submissions, plus our experience of writing technical guides. Our aim was to produce a guide that was clear, concise and honest. We wanted anyone reading the guide to get value from our investigation on the benefits from undergoing the process of getting ‘tender ready’. This includes getting places on public sector frameworks as proof that their business has demonstrated it has relevant levels of compliance and commitments in areas such as Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and Environment, Social and Governance (ESG).

The guide features:

  • a glossary on terms used in tendering, simplified explanation of the public procurement process and what is involved in submitting a bid
  • understanding on how to reach a Go/No Go decision to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your offer and assess whether to invest resources
  • how to plan the tender response to improve the chance of success, reinforcing the importance of value for money and social value outcomes
  • real case studies with companies winning work either through direct tendering or as part of supply chains
  • a showcase of real supply chain opportunities with Tier 1 public sector suppliers.

Talent Lab also worked closely with an IDP Innovation Champion specialising in fencing to support the Business Owner position its business to have direct supplier relationships for larger contracts and understand how to get ‘tender ready’. We delivered a training session and undertook a tender readiness gap analysis resulting in recommendations and an action plan. It saved them weeks, if not months, trying to get to grips with the process and soon after resulted in the successful registration as a supplier to a global sustainability leader which manages facilities for blue chip companies – and a subsequent contract award.

Outcomes

Talent Lab’s 25-page Guide To Procurement for SMEs was published in Autumn 2023 and has been downloaded numerous times. Positive comments have been received on how clearly the information is presented and how relevant it is, cutting through the jargon and demystifying the process. With the new Procurement Act set to become law in late 2024, understanding how a SME judges the benefits and risks in dedicating resources to find work with the public sector is part of the unique perspective that Talent Lab has as a consultancy and running Urbano Network for the past 20 years.

This document offers small companies guidance on how to take the first steps to becoming part of the supply chains of larger organisations and win work bidding directly for public sector contracts. By laying out clearly what public sector organisations need from those who tender for new work from them, and what larger companies need to enhance their supply chains, SMEs can learn how to provide the innovation to deliver best value in every part of the procurement process.

Dr Emmanuel Manu, Associate Professor in Quantity Surveying and Project Management at the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment,
Nottingham Trent University (NTU)
Contact The Lab to discuss how we can support your tendering and work winning efforts.

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