27 Sep 2021 | 09.08 am
How To Improve Tendering Capability
InterTradeIreland Go-2-Tender workshops
27 Sep 2021 | 09.08 am
The public procurement market on the island of Ireland is currently in excess of €13bn per annum, with opportunities worth €9bn in Ireland alone. This scale of opportunity should encourage companies of all sizes to actively consider and apply for public sector tendering contracts, says Martin McBride, consultant for the InterTradeIreland Go-2-Tender programme.
Public contracts can be used as part of a strategy to buffer against economic cycles, as not only do these provide greater continuity of procurement but also there is minimal risk of non-payment. Success in the public procurement market is already happening for many businesses and if you wish to be a part of it, the pandemic has created a number of major ‘catch-up opportunities’.
Some sub-sectors have been starved of investment as resources were directed towards dealing with the challenges of Covid-19. Others have established new models of operation in a post-pandemic world such as health and well-being, cyber security, education, government video communications and conferencing.
As we emerge from the pandemic, sectors like renewables, utilities and construction are all being primed for investment by major corporate firms and government seeking to prioritise economic recovery. Not only do these represent private sector supply chains but also present considerable opportunities in the public sector and for small businesses in Ireland.
Can SMEs win these contracts?
Of course, they can. One of the issues SMEs often face is that they are not sure where to find contract opportunities in the public sector, or that they are cautious about tendering. However, this should not prevent them from pursuing public sector opportunities for two reasons. The first being that opportunities are there and data confirms that businesses are already working through the steps to successfully win contracts. Secondly, for those who need more guidance on navigating the tendering process, help is readily at hand.
Success for small businesses is already happening
There are close to 200 frameworks in operation across Ireland, with approximately 150 operated by the Office of Government Procurement (OGP). Out of these 150, OGP data confirms that SMEs make up 70 per cent of all framework members.
Success for businesses has been encouraged by public procurement rules in Ireland that make frameworks more accessible by ensuring that public sector contracts are broken into lots. The smaller packages and contract sizes mean small firms can deliver and meet the qualification requirements needed. It also facilitates and encourages collaboration between companies enabling them to bid for, win and deliver larger, higher value contracts.
This can be a stepping stone to further opportunities in Northern Ireland and Great Britain where the public procurement opportunity is substantial – currently valued at £11bn per annum in Scotland and over £260bn in England and Wales. In terms of framework participation and winning tenders, SMEs are dominating. In addition, public sector buyers are keen to work with small firms, as businesses owners tend to be invested in securing positive outcomes and are often agile, innovative and very accessible.
Help is at hand
Awarding a tender can often come down to small scoring differences, it is a competitive market and any advice can make a difference. InterTradeIreland’s Go-2-Tender programme helps SMEs to improve tendering capability through practical workshops and 1 to 1 company specific mentoring packages. The Go-2-Tender workshops help businesses to analyse the public sector market and consider the most appropriate bids to pursue. More importantly – and with the addition of supporting mentoring packages – they support businesses to develop stronger bid content to improve the “win rate.”
How? By supporting SMEs to:
- Develop the right bid strategy; Companies should prioritise and focus on tenders that offer the best chance of success, whether in terms of sub-sector, size, geography or technical requirements. Go-2-Tender workshops can also help companies to decide when not to pursue a bid and the thought process around this.
- Gain a greater level of awareness of the public procurement market and where to find sources of intelligence in relation to upcoming pipelines. This enables firms to identify contract opportunities and prepare in advance of these appearing as live bids.
- Develop a bid library and write bid content in an engaging and clear way – improving case studies, capability and method statements.
Who can benefit?
Workshops are open to companies across the island of Ireland that want to improve bid performance, target new sub-sectors of the public sector market and win more public contracts as part of their overall growth strategy. A series of Go-2-Tender workshops are available throughout 2021 and 2022 for businesses in Supplies & Services, Construction and Health.
Win a share of the market
For businesses in Ireland, there has never been a better time to access the public procurement market. Opportunities for SMEs are at an all-time high and frameworks are more accessible than ever before.
Previous participants of the Go-2-Tender programme have reported winning tenders valued at €100m so you do not want to miss out. 70 per cent of framework participants are already SMEs and InterTradeIreland can help you win a share of the public sector market.