The next step in the process is a "kickoff" or tender planning meeting where the tender team are brought together to review and finalize the plan for compiling and submitting the tender response. This is most effective if the participants have already had the opportunity to read through the tender documents, or at least the portions that they will be involved with. It is important that this is carried out without delay, usually within two or three days of receiving the tender documentation.
For smaller tenders, people that will work on the tender response will normally be sent a copy and have the chance to read through the tender document before the meeting.
Larger tenders may require a two-stage process where an initial quick review is held so that participants know the tender has arrived, broadly what it contains and when it will be submitted. They are then invited to review the documents in advance of the follow up (main) kickoff meeting.
The purpose of the meeting is to inform everyone that the bid has arrived, what it contains, what is the response strategy, and when it has to be submitted.
In cases where there has been a pursuit plan or strategy developed in advance of the tender, it would be normal to review the actual tender versus what had been expected, in case the plan needs to be adjusted. For example the scope of work in the tender may not include everything that was expected or could possibly contain something in addition that could be an issue for the bidder.
It is important to determine who will be responsible for the various parts of the tender compilation either as individuals or groups so that everyone can be informed as soon as possible that their participation will be required. Ensure that any persons identified during the meeting that are not actually in attendance will need to be separately notified.
This meeting would usually contain representatives from various disciplines, such as:
Business Development or sales
Health Safety and Environment
Procurement (if parts of the work need to be sub-contracted)
The meeting should review the overall timeline for managing the tender process. For example, the bidder may have internal processes for reviewing and approving commercial or legal aspects of the submission, so a calendar for the submission should be made to map out any key ,dates such as progress reviews, management approvals, final review, closure, printing, delivery etc.
Ideally, between receiving the tender documentation and holding the kickoff meeting, the tender support person will have prepared a detailed list of all the questions that need to be answered. If so, it will be possible to review this and decide who would be responsible for addressing the different subjects or questions in the tender, either as individuals or teams. It is also important at this stage to pay attention to any specific deadlines, such as if there is a deadline for asking clarification questions, or if some information has to be submitted separately in advance of the main tender submission, such as laboratory testing of product samples which might be requested two weeks before the tender is submitted.
In larger or more complex tenders, this task allocation may be better handled by separate follow-up sessions focused on different parts of the response, but in any event the goal will be to complete this activity within as short a time as possible. It is important to ensure that everyone that is assigned a task is informed, particularly if they are not actually in attendance when the assignments are made.
It is important to inform the response team about the arrangements for asking the client any clarification questions that may arise from reviewing the tender documentation. The tender documentation will usually detail how clarifications questions should be submitted and how answers will be distributed to bidders. To manage this, it is usually best for clarification questions to be coordinated through a central point in the bidder's tender team. Questions can then be forwarded internally to them and submitted to the client. When the answers are received they can be shared with the team.
This activity will normally be captured and shared with the tender response team in a clarification log, tracking all the bidder questions and client answers and identifying which were submitted by the bidder and which by their competitors.
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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