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Suppose a tender, for which the Buyer knows its needs very well, defines requirements accordingly and announces the tender.
The Buyer answers some Supplier questions, several bidders submit their tender bids, and a contract is signed with the winning Supplier.
Everything goes well, until…
... a formal Supplier complaint derails the tender procedure
… or the contract performance is negatively affected by imprecise or incomplete requirements
… or an external audit determines that the Buyer has overpaid for received goods and services
Tender planning is difficult, especially so for public buyers that face additional challenges to those of a private company.
How can earlier Supplier engagement help avoid such situations?
Early dialogue with Suppliers is key for effective tender planning
By engaging the market through a market research procedure, the Buyer can pro-actively gather offers, estimate costs and learn Supplier opinion on planned requirements.
If potential Suppliers only learn of a tender when it is announced, it is expected they will use their rights to protect their business interests, e.g. by asking official questions and submitting their proposals for alternative requirements.
In case the company believes that tender requirements unreasonably prohibit them to participate or win the tender, a reaction can be expected – a formal complaint, letter or communication with the Buyer, with the intent to instigate changes.
Such actions have costs on the Buyer side, incl. human resource and reputational costs, as well as increased risks of prolonging or cancelling the tender procedure.
Pre-tender Supplier communication as an effective strategy is often praised by EU institutions, see this report. A balanced communication strategy can decrease long-term costs and risks, lead Buyers to improve the received value-for-money and drive competition.
Additional benefits of early dialogue include the ability to consider Supplier proposals for tender requirements, and if they align with Buyer interests.
However, if such proposals are not aligned with Buyer interests, then it can be documented accordingly, which should leave the Buyer prepared for the tendering stage.
Sorsera platform offers a free tool for performing market research, as well as finding and engaging Suppliers.