Through our Customers’ Eyes – What Makes a Good Bid Submission?

“We spend a lot of time analysing customer feedback on our bids – whether or not we are successful. Sometimes it’s just as helpful to know why you won as why you didn’t. We then get a more complete picture of how the responses in our bid submissions look to our customers. It gives us a sense of what they value and helps us evaluate how close our responses came to what they were hoping to see.

We practice continuous improvement in our business so why not in our bids?

Two key words are ‘value’ and ‘confidence.’ Value is everything beyond the specification and the price. This means demonstrating that we grasp our customers’ broader strategic and business objectives in sufficient depth. Confidence comes from showing that we have skills, processes and approach to fine tune the service to deliver against those objectives.
Customers are increasingly conscious of the needs of a wider group of stakeholders. They seek reassurance that the chosen contractor is also seeing this bigger picture, beyond the straightforward customer/supplier relationship.
One thing’s for sure, you cannot fake anything in a bid. The modern tender process is rigorous and will quickly reveal any glib answers and paper-thin responses for what they are.

For example, when it comes to collaboration customers want the hard detail that will help them envisage how a collaborative culture and asset community will be built and nurtured. They want a sense of what this will actually look like in practice. And they want confidence that the leadership, capacity, skills, experience and structures exist to make it all work.
Customers are well aware that whatever you say about collaboration and culture, there will be significant challenges (and risks) when it comes to making this work throughout a complex supply chain and multiple delivery teams.

Diversity and Inclusion
This is a classic area where it would be easy to regurgitate a generic policy statement and ‘tick the box’ for that response. We know that customers want to see more. They want to know what we are actually doing and what opportunities we see to promote diversity and inclusion through the contract being tendered. We aim to show that we’ve considered the practical challenges and formulated specific ways to overcome them.

Innovation goes to the heart of value and long-term benefits and cost savings. Providing a coherent vision of how project teams will grasp the financial challenges of asset management and build an innovative learning community demands a depth of thought and analysis that customers need to see.
We’ve picked out a few aspects here. The more general point is that we always seek to dig deeper to discover what motivates our customers and what they are hoping to achieve through the contracts they put out to tender. We then work hard to provide the detail that shows how we are tuned into those objectives and how we will help our customers to be successful. It’s demanding, but customers have every right to be when seeking the best project partners.”

Mike Todd is the Lead Business Development Manager for Infrastructure at Osborne.