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Why it's so important to read the specification!

This week’s blog concerns the importance of aligning your tender response to the specified requirements of the buyer. It may sound obvious, but ahead of commencing written work on any bid, it is imperative you meticulously read through the specification document and attain an in-depth understanding of exactly what your potential client requires.

Now it is possible that you provide unrivalled industry standards and that no other competitor can match your dedication to quality service and customer care. However, unless you articulate your bid in a manner which demonstrates how you will utilise your resources, skills and experience to provide the buyer with a service tailored to their needs, the information you submit may be considered insufficient and irrelevant.

DO NOT submit a tender response which simply details the features and benefits of your service. While it may be clear that you are a reputable company with an excellent track record, the specification document issued with every new tender opportunity is provided for a reason.

The buyer may have stated specific methods of operation and detailed the exact resources they would prefer to be utilised by the successful bidder. It is your responsibility to ensure that you provide assurance and evidence that your company is capable of delivering these requirements, demonstrating where you can add value and exceed upon these where possible.

Adding value to a potential client’s specification is a vital component of the tender process. However, you must clearly show that you recognise the originally stated requirements and then subsequently explain how you are able to add value and demonstrate why this would be beneficial. The best way to identify where you can add value is to study the specification in detail and highlight any areas that you know you are capable of exceeding upon.

For example, the buyer may have stated they require a response time of 48 hours for a replacement product to be supplied in the event of unforeseen malfunction or damage. If you know that you can respond to an incident of this nature effectively within 24 hours, make sure you say so in your tender!

However, do not simply state this fact in plain text within one of the many paragraphs contained in your response. Ensure that you have dedicated space to emphasise this point. Whether you increase the font size and/or apply bold formatting, or create a separate text box entitled ‘Exceeding upon Requirements’, leave the buyer in no doubt as to your capability to add value to their specification document.

When doing this, it is also valuable to make specific reference to the exact element of the specification document you are referring to, for example:

Should any of the products we supply be damaged in a manner which negatively affects its functionality, ABC Ltd will provide the Council with replacement chairs within 24 hours, exceeding upon the requested response time of 48 hours detailed within clause 2.3 of the Service Specification.”

There are many reasons why studying the specification in detail is so important to producing a winning bid. In our experience completing tender responses, we see it as the easiest way to not only reassure the buyer that every facet of the required service will be delivered in a manner that they have requested, but that they will also benefit from added value measures that go above and beyond their specification.

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