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#TopTipTuesday – Why Case Studies are so Important to a Quality Tender Response and How they should be Written.

This week’s #TopTipTuesday details why the value of a well-written case study in your tender response should not be underestimated. If you have delivered the requested scope of works previously on a similar contract, it is vital that you incorporate this example(s) into your tender to evidence your capability to the buyer.  

Once you have identified an opportunity that you would like your company to bid for, it is important to make a list of the clients you have delivered similar services to previously, identifying where you have had the most demonstrable success in doing so. Read the provided specification document in full and then assess the questions you are required to respond to in the qualitative element of the tender.

This is important as you need to identify where case studies can be most effectively incorporated into your bid in order to score the highest marks during evaluation. For example, you may be asked the following question:

“What are your company’s resources for covering immediate absence due to unforeseen circumstances? How will you ensure that sufficient staff are deployed to deliver the specified works throughout contract duration?”

If there is a specific example of where you have reacted to a short-notice demand for deployment and ensured that service continuity was achieved, this needs to be articulated within this answer, ideally in the form of a case study. It is also important to remember as a general rule that the greater the challenge faced, the more impressive your case study will appear to the buyer.

Continuing with the above example scenario, the case study regarding your ability to deploy immediate contingency staff resources should be broken down into the following headings:

1)     DESCRIPTION OF CONTRACT: This is where you would name the client and briefly detail the nature of the works provided. Remember, make sure that both the chosen client and the type of works are relevant to the industry and specified requirements of the tender you are writing.

2)     CHALLENGES: Detail the circumstances that unfolded which led to the need for contingency resources to be deployed. Ideally, your example will detail a situation which may have had severe implications to service continuity if not dealt with by yourselves effectively and efficiently. Make sure you not only detail what the challenges you encountered were, but the potential consequences had you not provided remedial action.

3)     HOW YOU RESPONDED: Spare no detail when detailing the exact steps you took to overcome the challenges faced. Make specific reference to the value of the actions that were put in place to achieve service continuity. Which members of your management team were involved in the decision making? How efficiently was the issue escalated? Where did you source trained contingency staff from? How efficiently were they onsite and performing scheduled works to the required standard? These are all areas that you should detail, demonstrating your ability to implement a meticulous and organised response to a potential staff shortage.

4)     OUTCOME: Emphasise how either no disruption was caused to daily operations due to the efficiency and quality of your reaction, or how disruption was significantly mitigated. The buyer needs to know that you are capable of resolving an issue of this nature and there is no better way of assuring them of your capability than by evidencing where a successful outcome has been achieved previously.

These four headings are how you should structure any case study, whether you are responding to a specific tender question as per the above example, or producing a case study providing a general overview of a similar contract.

Quantify wherever possible. Percentages and figures are incredibly valuable when producing a case study and further evidence the magnitude of the challenge you faced, the specific levels of resource you deployed or any of your contract achievements. If possible, visual aids such as graphs/charts will add significant value to your response.

Perhaps the most important element of writing a case study is to ensure that a representative of the named client is able to attest to the information you provide. Seek permission from your client to include a case study regarding your service to them in the tender, as well as their permission to include their contact details.

Providing the name and details of a senior client representative who is willing to be contacted by the buyer will provide great assurance that your content is accurate and a direct reflection of your ability to deliver the required scope of works.

If you are able to include a case study, do so! There is no better method of evidencing your capability to meet buyer requirements than to demonstrate where you have done so previously with a similar client, resulting in a satisfactory outcome despite the adverse circumstances encountered.