If you have ever responded to a request for quotation or a competitive bid or tender, you will have come across a ‘Briefing Session, Site Meeting or Information Session’. These are meetings that are held before the quotation or a competitive bid (tender) is due.
Most of the time these sessions are compulsory and not attending would most probably lead to your tender response being disqualified.
Here are several things that you must remember when you attend one of these sessions:
Be on time
Previously if you arrived late and you would still be allowed to enter the session. Now there are a cut-off time. This is normally not later than 15 minutes after the sessions have started. They lock the doors – you won’t be able to get in. The cut-off time is usually stated in the tender document or in the tender advertisement.
Sign the attendance register
Remember to sign the attendance register in the name of the company that you are going to respond in. Many people have multiple companies. Ensure that you use the correct name. When attending the session and you know you are going into a Joint Venture to the tender, then use the Joint Venture’s name.
Buy the tender document
If you must purchase the tender document beforehand – especially at municipalities – arrive at least an hour before the sessions starts. Remember that you are not going to be the only person attending the session and there will most likely a queue. This might cause you to be late and not be able to attend the session.
the information session is the best time and opportunity to ask questions. Quickly scan the scope of the tender as well as other requirements and ensure you know exactly what is required from you by asking questions during the session.
Check out your competition
Now is the time to evaluate what your chances are of winning the tender. If there are only three or four attendees at the session then you know you stand a chance but if there are three hundred attendees you know it is going to be a challenge to win the tender.
Bring business partners or sub-contractors
If you are going to respond using a Joint Venture partner or a subcontractor it might be a good idea to take them along to the session. Let them get the information first hand to avoid miscommunication later.
Evaluate the opportunity
Sometimes tender descriptions are vague. You might think that the tender opportunity is for you but once you have attended the session you might think twice. Responding to tenders is time consuming and there is always a cost involved. Evaluate the situation and determine if it is for you or not.
Person responsible for submission must attend
Finally, we always recommend that the person who is going to be responsible for responding to the tender must attend the Briefing session where important information is shared that might not be otherwise communicated. If you are not there your tender response might be non-responsive because of information that you did not provide.
If you follow these guidelines your chances of being awarded a tender will increase tremendously.