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Finalize the submission

Finalize the submission

Alan Tawse
16. Dec 2020 | 6 min read

Finalize the submission

This phase of the process is usually centered around the appointed tender administrator, manager or support team and comes towards the end of the writing activity. During this time, the writers and many others have the feeling that the job is now finished, but may not appreciate how much work still remains before the bidder's tender submission is ready for delivery. 

To the extent that ongoing review and improvement has been possible, the amount of work may be somewhat reduced, but whatever remains to be done will have to be completed within the finite submission deadline dictated by the client. Whatever that deadline is, failure to meet it without prior agreement from the client will usually result in disqualification.


Task list

At this stage there is likely to be a long list of tasks to be performed to finalize the submission ready for printing or outputting in electronic format.


Review the content

  1. Check each section for content (i.e. answering all parts of the question), completeness, styles, layout of text, tables, pictures, etc.) and finalize where page breaks should occur to make the document flow.
  2. Ensure any attachments are also properly referenced, formatted, page sized and orientated to fit in the appropriate place.
  3. Review the order of the response and the final section numbering is as planned.
  4. Review and update, or create, a table of contents to aid navigation of the response.
  5. If the instructions call for the response to be split into different sections, check for compliance.
  6. Check any pricing files carefully for completeness, consistency of format i.e. how many decimal places, and table layout if relevant, e.g. pricing is usually right justified. Pricing is often submitted in the form of a spreadsheet, sometimes in a layout or format provided by the client. For many clients, it is possibly the most important individual part of the submission and so the same attention to detail should be paid to pricing, with page references, header and footer data, column width, cell alignment, explanatory notes, etc. to the extent possible or permitted by the client's source files. 
  7. Any bidder's price book or price list information requested by the client should also be formatted so as to convey a professional appearance.
  8. Check also to see that none of the cells contain formulae that may give away unintended information about bidder's cost basis or expected margins, etc.
  9. Ensure awareness of all locations in the tender response that contain any pricing information –  it is often prohibited to have such information anywhere outside specific sections in the response defined by the client.
  10. (It is also important to have this awareness in order to be able to provide any requested unpriced copies.)
  11. Apply the same format and layout focus to any other spreadsheet data that has to be included.


Additional documents to be completed

Check that any client questionnaires, forms or files to be included are properly filled out (and if necessary signed) in accordance with any tender instructions. (Depending on instructions, signed copies may be electronically signed, have scanned signatures added or be signed in hard-copy and then scanned.)


Binder preparations

Once the amount and volume of the content is known, check to ensure that relevant numbers of right-sized binders are available. Usually, these will be prepared in advance, together with any tabs that have been planned, but the volume of the response may necessitate either exchanging some binder(s) for a larger size. If that is not practical, adding additional binders is an option, but that then may interfere with volume numbering, section tabs, indexing, etc. Review the draft covers and spines and if necessary, update and print the required number of final versions.


Delivery labeling

Check carefully for any instructions about labeling of the bidder's final submission. In particular, be careful to check whether there is any particular requirement to either include or exclude the identity of the bidder. Once the number and description of the various binders has been finalized, the delivery labels can then be prepared and printed.


Prepare any spreadsheets for printing

For all spreadsheet data, review the page layout and format the print area of the file as best as possible. That saves the client the need to do it themselves, and avoids the risk of any missed data caused by a smaller print area than the amount of data contained in the spreadsheet.


Prepare electronic versions if required

The tender support person or team will usually keep separate all the working copies of files, raw data and other input that may have been created during the writing phase of the tender process, and gather all the final submission documents or files into one location. These should be organized according to the structure of the response and ideally named and numbered to clearly identify what they are and in which order they will be presented in the tender response. In that way, if the client requires an electronic copy of the tender files, they will receive a well labeled and organized electronic submission from the bidder. 

This may mean that some time is needed to label (what can sometimes be dozens of files) in accordance with any tender instructions. It may also be necessary to prepare additional copies of files if a specific file format has been stipulated.

Depending on the method of transmission of the electronic files, file size may be a consideration which could involve zipping or splitting some files or requesting the client to make space available for larger files in their tender server or portal. Note that some tenders may require that electronic copies are encrypted or password protected, meaning additional work for the bidder before the final submission can be delivered.


Check the client server or submission portal

In cases where the client wants electronic submission posted to their server or tender portal, it is advisable to log on to the system several days in advance of the submission date in order to check that access is still functioning normally and to check to see how the data is to be uploaded. There may be a need to split up or group files in a different manner than the instructions given in the tender package. Note that in cases where both hard-copy and electronic submission is requested, it is not uncommon for the tender instructions to be out of sync with the electronic submission requirements. Therefore, an early check of the site will allow time for any adjustments that need to be made in the preparations for submission.


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Alan Tawse

Alan Tawse

Alan has worked in the oil and gas industry since 1974 in various administrative, operational and managerial roles in the UK, Netherlands and Norway. In 1993 he joined Halliburton in Norway as country manager of their new Drilling Systems division. Following a merger with Dresser industries in 1998, he moved to Business Development where he established a BD support team providing centralised expertise for tendering, contract management, market intelligence and various BD software systems. After managing up to 200 tenders and proposals annually for over 20 years, Alan retired at the beginning of 2020 with plans to explore Norway, and spend time with family overseas, He enjoys downhill skiing in the winter, golfing in the summer and following the Formula 1 racing season throughout the year.

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