Why Do Tenders Require ISO Certification?

Learn about the tender process and why ISO certification helps you win tenders.

Success in the tender process is crucial to your business strategy. Tender preparation and submission are time-consuming and demanding. 

Put yourself in your client’s shoes and think about what it might take them to manage a supplier/contractor tender and contract process.

Your client receives tender responses from multiple suppliers or contractors. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. First, your client needs to narrow down and compare apples with apples. 

Here’s where your certification comes in. Your client has some confidence that you have all the processes in place to run a successful business. Then the client will consider different methodologies and pricing.

What is a tender?

In business parlance, a “tender” is a formal request for proposals or bids issued by a government or other organisation. Governments and financial organisations request bids for significant projects with a deadline through tendering. Tendering can also mean accepting a formal offer like a takeover proposal. Shareholders respond to takeover offers by tendering their shares or securities.

The procedure for soliciting bids on projects and purchases is often well-established. In addition, codified systems are in place to control the submission, review, and selection of potential suppliers. It guarantees an open and honest method of choosing who to hire.

Requests for tender are formal, organised recommendations for vendors to provide price quotes on materials, goods, or services. Laws are in place to ensure all bids are treated fairly because this is a public and transparent process.

The prevalence of corrupt practices like bribery and favouritism would increase, for instance, if laws were not in place. Potential bidders might take advantage of tender services, providing access to various tenders from public and commercial organisations. These services cover everything from creating appropriate bids and meeting all deadlines to assuring legal compliance.

What are some examples of tendering in business?

The procedure by which contractors submit bids to different levels of government is one of the most popular types of tendering. Companies in the private sector, for instance, contend with one another to win contracts with the government. 

Submitting bids with prices depending on the work required is a part of the procedure. The Department of Energy, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Homeland Security are three federal agencies that frequently issue RFPs.

What are the four stages of the bidding process?

Stage One: Request for Proposals

Project teams must first submit a request for proposal (RFP) or invitation to bid (ITB) to begin the bidding process. 

After deciding the project’s scope, the tender manager assembles a packet outlining the finer points. The outline must define the objectives, top priorities, and prerequisites. It will help bidders to have an accurate understanding of the project.

Timelines, expectations, specifications, supporting documentation, and a list of needs should all be clear to the bidders.

It is common practice to review the bidding company’s profile, project portfolio, resumes, and financial records as part of the evaluation process.

Any interested party or only those specifically invited can place a bid.

Stage Two: Bid Preparation

Upon releasing a request for proposal (RFP), potential bidders will immediately begin analysing the document’s details. The project manager in charge of writing the bid is called the “bid manager” in this context.

The bid manager coordinates with the project team to ensure sufficient resources are available and with the RFP-issuing company to have any questions answered.

If the bidder is a general contractor, the process may involve a second bidding round with subcontractors or third-party vendors.

The asking organisation can get the bid after all details are completed and structured.

Stage 3: Evaluating and Selecting Proposals

Tender managers evaluate the submitted proposals based on the set criteria and other bids they have received.

It’s a common misconception that the bidder with the lowest price always wins. The MEAT (the most economically advantageous tender) criteria have become the standard for selecting reliable suppliers and service providers. . The MEAT criteria consider quality, affordability, social benefit, innovation, and more.

Tender managers can narrow proposals to a final pool of candidates in a two-stage selection procedure.

The buyer and the bidders are supposed to communicate during this phase. The soliciting group may also seek interviews or presentations if additional information is needed.

Stage 4: Contract Negotiation and Awarding

Selection and negotiation come as the last part of the bidding process.

When the tendering organisation has chosen the vendor or service provider, they will let them know the final approved pricing and any other requests.

At this point, the project team’s management and administrative departments can begin getting involved. The parties to an agreement formalise their commitment to one another by drafting and signing a contract outlining the agreement’s legal parameters, payment conditions, schedule for deliverables, and other essential elements.

What are the steps involved in the tendering process?

Governments regularly solicit competitive bids from the private sector to procure goods and services. Tender requests from the government draw companies of different sizes and industries, from those specialising in office supplies to those specialising in large-scale construction projects.

There is a great deal of consistency between different types of government tenders. The processes necessary to put together a winning bid are outlined below.

1. Put in a request if you’re interested.

To express interest in working with the organisation, submit a bid as directed in the tender document. Doing so is crucial, so you don’t miss any tender briefings.

2. Show up for the bidder info sessions.

Don’t miss out on any tender presentations. These are great chances to get in touch with the organisation and ask any queries you may have. As a bonus, you can network with possible consortium members or subcontractors. In addition, government entities do not need to provide written materials, such as presentations, delivered at an information session.

3. Create your tender response.

When submitting a bid for a contract with a substantial sum at stake, it’s crucial to put in the time and effort necessary to understand and meet all of the tender’s conditions fully. Try posing the following questions to yourself:

  • How much will it cost to put together the bid?
  • What data do you need to collect?
  • What resources will we need when completing the deal?
  • In whose hands will the tender project be?
  • How will you organise your time, divide tasks, and set up meetings?
  • Who is your competition, and how strong a position do you stand against them?
  • How will you go about promoting your services?

4. Take a look at the recently signed contracts.

Contact the tender coordinator if there is anything in the tender request you do not understand. Also, government contracts awarded in the past year worth more than $10,000 can be detailed on tender websites.

You should investigate the purchaser. Which kinds of businesses typically get similar contracts? What does the procuring organisation seek out in bids? Exactly how do you plan on living up to their high standards?

5. Submit a bid they will not ignore.

Get your bid proposal ready. As such, it requires preparation, drafting, and editing.

Use the provided response forms and offer thorough responses to all questions. Don’t go above the allotted number of words or pages, and (in general) don’t change things like fonts, font sizes, or page numbers until told to.

Your structure and arguments must be clear. Determine a handful of selling points to help your bid stand out. Look at the evaluation criteria to understand what the government agency values most and how your proposal will be scored. Consider hiring a writer if you are not confident in your abilities (a range of businesses offer tender writing services).

6. Find out the payment terms.

Make sure you are familiar with the payment terms before submitting a bid. Different government agencies and purchases will have other payment deadlines.

You won’t get paid immediately after completing the task or delivering the products. It is essential to include in your offer if you require a different form of payment.

7. Find some references.

Find people in your field who are willing to vouch for you.

Inform your referees precisely what is being asked for in the tender so they can focus their recommendations on the most pertinent aspects. Getting a reference from a government agency if you’ve ever sold them anything is a good idea.

8. Review your offer.

If you’re going to submit a proposal, take the time to proofread it thoroughly. Use a checklist to guarantee your bid covers every detail. Some tenders will include a checklist that you can use.

9. Make your offer.

For large-scale contracts, bidders may need to present to tender panels formally. Maintain concentration on the proposal’s primary themes if you must give it to a review committee. As a first and foremost step, plan. Prepare thoroughly, run through practice runs, and take a presentation skills course if you don’t consider yourself a confident public speaker.

10. Ask for a briefing.

It is essential to ask for feedback on the tender process, even if you didn’t win. The evaluation panel’s comments help determine where your offering stands and how you can improve it for future tender. Make an effort to better your next bid.

Do not complain during debriefings; instead, follow the approved complaints process. Don’t mention the terms of other vendors’ offers, either.

What are the main components of a tender?

Maintaining detailed paperwork is essential to a smooth tendering process. Therefore, tender documents are crucial to the bidding procedure. 

The client company’s invitation to prospective vendors and service providers will include these papers. They are necessary for advertising the contract for bids as part of the business deal. Usually, some standard sections in bidding forms need a standard response from the bidder. 

This uniformity in the bidding procedure also facilitates the suppliers’ ability to prepare many offers quickly. It greatly simplifies and streamlines the tendering process for anyone interested in participating.

Here are some crucial parts of a tender document:

1. Requirements for Participation 

This section lists the most important requirements a supplier must meet to be regarded by the client. The records and documents submitted here demonstrate the supplier’s project qualifications. 

Some essential requirements for participating in the bidding process might be the disclosure of required 

  • Financial records
  • Licenses
  • insurance documents
  • completed project records

2. Quality assurance and accreditation.

In this section, the prospective contractor must show they can fulfil all client demands. The winning bidder must provide the client with quality assurance documentation, such as ISO, ISI, and similar accreditations. You can also describe your company’s methods to guarantee its products and services’ highest possible quality standards.

3. Specifications

If the client is interested in learning more about the project, the contractor should provide them. Among the details included in such a list are the goods and services, the deadline for delivery, and any other requirements or needs in terms of cost, timeliness, and quality of service. In the end, the client’s opinion may hinge on these details.

4. Contract terms and conditions.

The customer and the prospective contractor must disclose their respective rights and duties in this part of the tender document. It should also include a detailed description of all the terms and conditions associated with the job. This component is mandatory as it guarantees that the transaction is clear, understandable, and transparent.

5. The terms of the offer.

It is customary for the bidder or contractor to formally accept the contract’s specified terms and conditions when an offer is submitted. This section details the general timetable of the tendering process and the place of submission. It could also include the submission process, the evaluation procedure, and similar subsections.

What are the accreditations that can help businesses to win more tenders?

Accreditations show prospective clients that you are committed to your industry and willing to invest the time and money necessary to become an accredited member.

You can have your company accredited in dozens, if not hundreds, of different standards. However, there are a few widely-referenced norms that public sector buyers frequently bring up. 

1. ISO 9001 Quality Management System

ISO 9001 is the most well-known and widely-accepted international standard for quality management in organisations of all sizes and all parts of the world. It’s a method for keeping tabs on and regulating the quality of operations across the board.

It demonstrates to buyers and clients from the public sector that your company has implemented a comprehensive quality management system and complies with all of the standard’s prerequisites.

Being ISO 9001-certified can help you break into new customer bases.

Businesses seeking contracts from the government often need to meet this requirement first.

ISO 9001 can also help your company save money through improved management, boost employee morale, and retain customers for greater profitability.  

2. ISO14001 Environmental Management System

The ISO 14001 standard helps businesses of all sizes and industries improve their environmental management performance in the manner listed below.

  • Develop your Environmental Management Policy, which will serve as the basis for the rest of this standard. It outlines the required steps and the controls.
  • Establish quantifiable goals to help your company comply with anti-pollution and legislative mandates.
  • Implement training, communication, and documentation across your organisation to ensure that this standard is understood and adhered to by all employees.
  • To ensure success, you must identify things that could risk or impair the successful application of this standard.
  • Identifying the need for emergency or preventative planning
  • ISO14001 differs from other standards in requiring constant checking and gauging.
  • There must be systematic methods of tracking and analysing data, including audits and management reviews, to monitor progress. 

3. ISO 45001 Health & Safety

ISO 45001 is a gold standard for evaluating and auditing occupational health and safety management systems. Organisations holding the Occupational Health and Safety Management Standard, OHSAS18001, can upgrade to ISO45001.

Organisations can use a tried-and-true health and safety management system to reduce potential dangers to employees, customers, and visitors.

ISO 45001 certification focuses on evaluating the following key areas:

  • Preexisting management systems
  • Planning and risk assessment
  • Employee training
  • Risk management information dissemination
  • Emergency action plan
  • Monitoring and development

4. ISO/IEC27001 Information Security

The International Organization for Standardization has published the Information Security Management System Standard, ISO 27001 (ISMS). Any company, anywhere in the globe, in any industry, of any size, can benefit from using it.

Implementing ISO 27001 can help you catalogue information types, potential risks, and hazards. After that, you can implement appropriate systems, controls, and procedures to lessen the threat. 

With the help of ISO 27001, you’ll have a method for keeping an eye on and consistently maintaining the following:

  • Safeguarding the privacy of sensitive data
  • Accessibility of data
  • Accuracy of data

As concerns about privacy, data protection, and information security continue to rise, obtaining ISO 27001 certification can reassure customers that your business is taking adequate precautions to safeguard their personal information. It also shows that you have procedures to restore lost data quickly.

How Can FocusIMS help?

1. Once you get the contract

The client must ensure you complete the work to a standard outlined in the agreement. Here is where FocusIMS Service Reports with before and after photos and quality checks help reduce the amount of work it takes the client to ensure you did the job correctly.

The client also needs to ensure that you have appropriate training, insurance and documentation. Some tenders choose to use a contractor management system like BGIS. 

In both cases, you must provide your staff are inducted, trained and competent. You also need to ensure that suitable insurance is in place for your business, not just one specific contract.

Some clients, especially Tier 1 Construction clients, want to ensure that your plant and vehicles are appropriately registered, maintained, and risk assessed.

2. Periodic Audits

Your client may request a copy of your annual audit report when you’re ISO-certified. If you’re not certified, your client must have their own suitably trained staff to conduct the audit. It adds more expense for your client and may not be objective as it is a second-party rather than a third-party audit.

3. If there is an incident/accident

If you’re certified, your client knows you have a process to manage the emergency response and take actions to minimise the risk of them recurring.

Your client does not want their reputation damaged because of the work you have done on their behalf. Your chances of winning a tender are better if you’re ISO* certified.

*ISO 9001 Quality, ISO 45001 Safety, ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems.

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