Contracting authorities need to work towards developing and enhancing a long term competitive marketplace. One important way to do this is to understand the supplier’s perspective throughout the procurement process and keep as many involved as possible.
Suppliers make decisions on the continuation of the bidding process at a number of key points in the procurement process usually related to the time and cost associated with submitting the bid against the likelihood of success. Key decision making points include, for example, the issue of a PIN, OJEU advert, issue of a prospectus, pre-qualification questionnaire, issue of the terms of reference and so on.
Ensuring a competitive response means holding on to as many bidders as possible, therefore it is important that contracting authorities keep the different stages of the process to a minimum i.e. do not issue a pre-qualification questionnaire unless it is necessary.
The following outlines ways that contracting authorities can keep processes simple and maintain a reasonable level of bidders, while also lowering the barriers to entry for SMEs/SEs.
Table 2-4: Lowering the barriers to entry for SMEs and SEs
|•||Consider dividing a large project into a number of different stages (ensure you refer to aggregation issues).|
|•||Set out a clear and realistic timetable at the start of the project.|
|•||Reduce “bid fatigue” through timing the release of contract notices across the contracting authority|
|•||Ensure the project is commercially viable from the business case as outlined in Chapter One|
|•||Convince the marketplace that the bid is “winnable” and that the contracting authority is willing to displace the incumbent supplier or in-house provision. This may take a longer term approach whereby the contracting authority needs time to prove that other suppliers do win contracts due to their capability and capacity|
|•||Keep delays, uncertainties and changes of direction in the procurement process to a minimum to reduce any additional expense or lack of interest from the bidder.|