Tendering for Contracts Training - Top Ten Procurement Tips

Creating a Level Playing Field in Public Sector Tendering and Contracting:       Contract Tendering Tips

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(16)  Strategy - What is Strategy?.

Reviewing the tender requirements and some of the required steps in preparing your procurement strategy.
The concept of strategy has been borrowed from the military and adapted for use in business. A review of what noted writers about business strategy have to say suggests that adopting the concept was easy because the adaptation required has been modest. In business, as in the military, strategy bridges the gap between policy and tactics. Together, strategy and tactics bridge the gap between ends and means. This paper reviews various definitions of strategy for the purpose of clarifying the concept and placing it in context. The author's aim is to make the concepts of policy, strategy, tactics, ends, and means more useful to those who concern themselves with these matters..

Barriers to SME Entry into the Contracts and Procurement Process
One of the main barriers to SME entry into this lucrative sector are;
  1. lack of appropriate resources that would ensure success
  2. lack of appropriate training in the contract and procurement process
  3. pre-conceived ideas of obstacles to wining a contract,
  4. lack of information,
  5. the perceived complexity of the contracting and procurement process,
  6. a lack of clear and measurable commitment from government.

Barriers - What Barriers?
Because of both the actual and perceived barrier to entry, SME’s need access to top level training and mentoring support and a clear commitment from government that SME's are indeed welcome to take part in the process. But above all, SME's must develop a coherent procurement strategy that will facilitate success.
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(17)  Tendering and Procurement Strategy

  • Strategy Preparation

  • Structuring a Strategy

  • Presenting a Strategy

  • Strategy Check List

Strategy According to B. H. Liddell Hart
In his book, Strategy [1], Liddell Hart examines wars and battles from the time of the ancient Greeks through World War II. He concludes that Clausewitz' definition of strategy as "the art of the employment of battles as a means to gain the object of war" is seriously flawed in that this view of strategy intrudes upon policy and makes battle the only means of achieving strategic ends. Liddell Hart observes that Clausewitz later acknowledged these flaws and then points to what he views as a wiser definition of strategy set forth by Moltke: "the practical adaptation of the means placed at a general's disposal to the attainment of the object in view." In Moltke's formulation, military strategy is clearly a means to political ends.
    Concluding his review of wars, policy, strategy and tactics, Liddell Hart arrives at this short definition of strategy: "the art of distributing and applying military means to fulfil the ends of policy." Deleting the word "military" from Liddell Hart's definition makes it easy to export the concept of strategy to the business world. That brings us to one of the people considered by many to be the father of strategic planning in the business world: George Steiner

Strategy According to George Steiner
George Steiner, a professor of management and one of the founders of The California Management Review, is generally considered a key figure in the origins and development of strategic planning. His book, Strategic Planning [2], is close to being a bible on the subject. Yet, Steiner does not bother to define strategy except in the notes at the end of his book. There, he notes that strategy entered the management literature as a way of referring to what one did to counter a competitor's actual or predicted moves. Steiner also points out in his notes that there is very little agreement as to the meaning of strategy in the business world. Some of the definitions in use to which Steiner pointed include the following:
  • Strategy is that which top management does that is of great importance to the organization.
  • Strategy refers to basic directional decisions, that is, to purposes and missions.
  • Strategy consists of the important actions necessary to realize these directions.
  • Strategy answers the question: What should the organization be doing?
  • Strategy answers the question: What are the ends we seek and how should we achieve them?
  • Steiner was writing in 1979, at roughly the mid-point of the rise of strategic planning. Perhaps the confusion surrounding strategy contributed to the demise of strategic planning in the late 1980s. The rise and subsequent fall of strategic planning brings us to Henry Mintzberg.

Strategy According to Henry Mintzberg
Henry Mintzberg, in his 1994 book, The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning [3], points out that people use "strategy" in several different ways, the most common being these four:
  • Strategy is a plan, a "how," a means of getting from here to there.
  • Strategy is a pattern in actions over time; for example, a company that regularly markets very expensive products is using a "high end" strategy.
  • Strategy is position; that is, it reflects decisions to offer particular products or services in particular markets.
  • Strategy is perspective, that is, vision and direction.
Mintzberg argues that strategy emerges over time as intentions collide with and accommodate a changing reality. Thus, one might start with a perspective and conclude that it calls for a certain position, which is to be achieved by way of a carefully crafted plan, with the eventual outcome and strategy reflected in a pattern evident in decisions and actions over time. This pattern in decisions and actions defines what Mintzberg called "realized" or emergent strategy. Mintzberg's typology has support in the earlier writings of others concerned with strategy in the business world, most notably, Kenneth Andrews, a Harvard Business School professor and for many years editor of the Harvard Business Review

(18)  What are the important lessons that SME’s should learn?.

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What is Your Procurement Strategy
Understanding and developing a strategy is based on discussion, dialog and debate, in a word, through conversations. Ultimately, the objectives can be expressed via a scorecard or some other device for measuring and reporting on company performance. Individual effort can then be assessed in light of these objectives.

Common Procurement Vocabulary : Some Fundamental Facts
Regardless of what business you are in, there is a buyer somewhere within the public sector with whom you can do business, this is a fact.

    Prospective Public Sector Suppliers must learn How To;

    1. supply procurement Needs with innovative Solutions that deliver added Benefits
    2. be aware of tenders, as they are announced by the public sector
    3. develop Procurement strategies, their solutions and benefits
    4. respond to invitation to tender notices
    5. make contact with potential contract providers
    6. establish a partnership to compete more effectively
    7. prepare well structured tender documents abd proposals
    8. implement quality management systems
    9. differentiate yourself & increase your chances
    10. build relationships as sub-contractors
    11. market their products & services for contracts
    12. where they fit into the supply chain
    13. manage projects effectively & profitably
    14. profit from the contracting and procurement process
    15. get involved in the lucrative contracting and procurement sector
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Strategy According to Kenneth Andrews
Kenneth Andrews presents this lengthy definition of strategy in his book, The Concept of Corporate Strategy [4]: "Corporate strategy is the pattern [italics added] of decisions in a company that determines and reveals its objectives, purposes, or goals, produces the principal policies and plans for achieving those goals, and defines the range of business the company is to pursue, the kind of economic and human organization it is or intends to be, and the nature of the economic and non-economic contribution it intends to make to its shareholders, employees, customers, and communities. (pp.18-19)." Andrew's definition obviously anticipates Mintzberg's attention to pattern, plan, and perspective.

Andrews also draws a distinction between "corporate strategy," which determines the businesses in which a company will compete, and "business strategy," which defines the basis of competition for a given business.

Thus, he also anticipated "position" as a form of strategy. Strategy as the basis for competition brings us to another Harvard Business School professor, Michael Porter, the undisputed guru of competitive strategy

Learn to develop a tendering strategy that is adaptive to the public sector procurement process, determine what is required and devising and adopting the means to become the supplier.

Strategy According to Michael Porter
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