By Gabriel Onyango
Winning lucrative procurement tenders is a dream of many; then again, tender applications have a dark cloud hanging above them; the close association with corruption and back door deals. Nevertheless, with proper planning and preparation anyone can increase their chances of winning a tender.
The tender application process can be long and tedious with heavy documentation, but following the below steps can make it easier, faster and better.
Prequalification is a prior vetting of suppliers to find out if they meet certain conditions required by the tendering organization. Such that when the tender application period is open, these prequalified companies are given priority, thus making the process faster.
Look out for advertisements about tender prequalification in newspapers and websites such as Tenders Unlimited and Tenders MyGov. Some tenders only allow prequalified suppliers to apply, thus always make sure you have access to such information at all times and get your company prequalified.
- Documentation is Key
There is no other way about it, when applying for tenders you need to have all your documents in order; incomplete records are often used to eliminate applicants. Go through the tender advertisements and identify all the documents mentioned as a requirement. Make sure you submit everything within 14 days from the date of advertisement.
Depending on the industry and type of applicant, the documents range from six month’s bank statements, certificates of incorporation, partnership deeds, and bank guarantee, to manufacturers’ certificate – for those applicants who will be supplying from third party manufacturers.
Some tenders require applicants to have certifications from various industry authorities such as the Kenya Construction Authority, National Environmental authority, Kenya Bureau of Standards etc. To ascertain that these companies are at par with industry standards.
Certain blue-chip companies like Safaricom require all their supplies to be signatories to the Code of Ethics for Businesses in Kenya. A code that requires companies to implement anti-corruption measures, act ethically and document all these measures.
- Have an active bank account
In most open tender advertisements, you will see that all applicants are required to submit their six months bank statements. Some organizations exempt youth, women and people living with disabilities if they produce their AGPO (Access to Government Procurement Opportunities) certificate. This is for the organizations to see how financially stable or active applicants are.
To increase your chances, make sure that you keep your bank account active. Deposit and withdraw money from the accounts as much as possible. For the lovers of mobile money this might warrant you to move your money in between mobile money accounts and your bank.
The price you bid with is very sensitive, price too high, they will look for cheaper options from competitors, price too low, and they will think you have substandard products. Balance is key but how do you achieve this balance?
Experience really helps but so does research-attend various tender opening events and see how others are pricing as opposed to market prices. If you are buying products and supplying them, a safe range would be adding 25 per cent to your wholesale buying price (including transport) to get an appropriate bid price.
Procurement opportunities are becoming more transparent-thanks to technology and more inclusive; with programs like the 30 per cent percent allocation of government procurement opportunities to women, youth and people living with disabilities, the playing field is leveling.