From the perspective of the purchasing organisation, a request for tender (RFT) represents a formal, structured invitation for vendors and/or service providers to ‘bid’ on an available job. When an organisation requires products or services to complete a project or address a requirement, tendering can be used to replace the process of searching for a supplier.
The requirement is instead published openly, in order to allow suppliers to respond with their proposals.
With the supplier, tender meaning is slightly different. When a business offers its services in response to an RTF, this is referred to as submitting a tender. The supplier actively monitors the market for tendering opportunities that suit their specialism and capacity, offering their services by way of a formal application or proposal.
Even if the supplier fails to win the tender, the respective purchasing organisation may to retain their details for more appropriate projects in the future.
Traditionally, finding out about suitable contracts on the part of the supplier has been a difficult and time-consuming task. The respective organisation having little choice but to manually browse local and national newspapers, trade and professional magazines, communications from businesses within their networks and so on.
These days, the vast majority of proactive businesses have made the switch to electronic tendering – aka e-procurement. The difference with electronic tendering being the centralisation of every aspect of the tendering process, eliminating all complications for suppliers and purchasing organisations alike.
Cloud-based e-procurement solutions are able to combine extensive databases of suppliers with the latest tender listings from key purchasing organisations, often spanning an extensive geographical area.
For subscribers, listing tendering opportunities is as simple as detailing the specifics of the project, which are then showcased before thousands of high-quality suppliers and service providers. For the supplier, a quick keyword search is all it takes to find outstanding and often exclusive tendering opportunities within their niche.
Though traditionally associated with larger and more complex requirements, it’s now perfectly possible to issue an RFT for any products or services in any quantities. Electronic procurement provides public and private-sector organisations with the opportunity to sit back and let key suppliers fight for their business.
As such, the right time to publish a tender is any time your organisation requires a product or service of importance.
From the perspective of the supplier, a little more thought and analysis are required. Not only can preparing compelling applications be a time-consuming job, but you also need to ensure you have the resources and capacity to fulfil the purchaser’s requirements. The only thing worse than failing to win a tender is winning a contract you quickly realise you cannot handle.
From deadlines to costs to manpower to all possible contingencies, there’s much to consider before bidding for a tender.
Ask the Experts…
If you have any questions or concerns on any aspect of tendering, we’re standing by to help. Contact a member of the customer support team at Tender Expert for more information on the benefits of electronic procurement.