Dealing with a successful tender outcome

Winning a contract is a great reward for all the hard work, time and resources that have gone into developing a competitive tender response. But at this stage the bulk of the work remains to be done, and it is vital to understand all of your contractual commitments in order to successfully deliver the goods or services requested.

You should meet the buyer as soon as possible after the contract has been awarded. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the contract implementation, identify activities, and agree on roles, responsibilities and delivery time frames. You may also use this meeting to seek feedback on your winning tender response that you can incorporate into future bidding activities.

Contract implementation

Contract implementation usually falls under 2 phases:

  • migration - preparing to move from using an old contract to the new contract (possibly with a change of supplier)
  • mobilisation - the process of moving from tender award to 'go-live'. This is the point when the new contract is in place and enforced.

Contract implementation usually involves the following tasks:

Auditing (if appropriate)

Once you have been awarded a tender, it is good practice for the existing equipment to be audited prior to the commencement of the contract. By building an asset register, both parties know the current status of items and what costs (if any) are required to bring everything up to the necessary standard. The resulting agreed actions can then be incorporated into the final contract.

Reporting the right KPIs

As part of reviewing the contract it is important to agree on key performance indicators (KPIs) and incorporate these into the final contract. KPIs need to not only cover contract and service-level compliance, but also measure actual performance.

It is also important to review the relationship between the KPIs and reporting outputs and outcomes - this well help show that you are delivering what is expected and can be used to monitor progress.

Finalising the contract

During the contract mobilisation period, typically 2 or 3 months, there may be many points to debate and discuss with the buyer. This includes processes such as contract reporting and specific compliance requirements, intellectual property rights and service delivery.

The initial draft of the contract needs to be updated to include all conversations. Make sure any agreements between yourself and the buyer are added to the contract before it is signed. If something is omitted from the contract at this stage, it is very difficult, and sometimes impossible, to retrospectively add this into the contract. It is good practice to have final versions of contracts reviewed by a lawyer prior to final sign-off.

Project management

Contract mobilisation should be managed as a distinct project in its own right. The better it is managed, the less chance of disputes occurring during the implementation phase. This is an advantage to both the buyer and supplier, minimising delays and enabling a faster start of contract delivery.

Key points for successful delivery

Delivering to the public sector is very much like doing business with the private sector. The basic principles of good business apply:

  • Make sure that you meet key criteria and delivery dates.
  • Meet with the buyer and the end-users occasionally to make sure they are happy with the contract delivery and response times.
  • Respond quickly to any queries or problems that arise.
  • Submit invoices on a regular basis, according to the conditions of contract.
  • After you have been delivering the contract for a few months, don't be afraid to suggest new ways of delivering the products or services. Innovation is frequently welcomed, especially if that can increase value for money, customer satisfaction and service efficiency.

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