It is important to have carefully checked the tender submission details to understand what will be required, and anticipate any potential issues so that enough time can be allowed for a trouble-free delivery. There are many situations that have the potential to affect tender submission, and usually if the submission deadline is missed, the client has the right to disqualify the bidder as a result.
Last minute problems
From time to time, something could affect the final compilation or completion of the tender submission, but building in a safety margin and having a good plan can mitigate for most situations. The sort of issues that may arise are things like a computer or printer problem, internal network or internet crash, problems with access to or functionality of client servers or tender portals, and too large (electronic) file sizes that can't be delivered.
Delivery location (hard copy)
Firstly, it is a good idea to have an awareness of how big the tender submission will be. In cases where a client requests multiple copies, it is possible that a submission becomes quite heavy and / or bulky, and that may affect the delivery plan.
For hard copies of the tender submission, check the delivery address information to plan for how much time will be needed, If it's in the same town or city as the bid submission is prepared, then an employee may hand deliver the submission, or a taxi or courier company may be used, but keep in mind the time of day may mean rush hour traffic could be a factor.
If the delivery address is in another town, city or country, make a delivery plan, and a backup. For example, if using a courier company, what is their collection deadline? If delivery is international, is the service affected by weekends or holidays? If the courier deadline can't be met for whatever reason, can you have an employee deliver the submission instead, even if it means buying a plane ticket and hand-carrying the submission in cabin baggage. Note it is never a good idea to use checked-in baggage, as there is always a risk that the suitcase is delayed or goes missing altogether.
The client will often require electronic submission (with or without paper copies as well), and this also needs to be carefully planned. Even with electronic submission, it is good to have an understanding of file size(s), as this can be an issue if the submission is by email.
Where a client is using a server or portal for the tender process, make sure that there are at least two persons that know how to and can access the site, just in case someone is unavailable on the day of submission, and have the contact information to hand for the client server or portal support service.
There may be some information that needs to be uploaded directly into the portal, and the response may need to be structured in a way to comply with the client's setup on the portal. For example, they may want the submission submitted section by section in separate files, or compiled in a single file in priced and unpriced copies. Check as well if there is any file size limit so as not to be caught out on submission day. If it looks like a potential issue, contact the client or their portal provider in good time to request an increase in the limit, or discuss how best to address the issue.
It is quite common that files can be uploaded to a portal and saved but not yet submitted. They can also be replaced with updated versions should it be necessary. This is a good option – to load any already completed parts of the submission to minimize the amount remaining to be uploaded. That allows the bidder the chance to identify any problems with uploading, and reduces the pressure and the risk when working to a tight deadline.
It is vital to allow sufficient time for any server or portal to upload all the data. An electronic tender submission can easily involve very large amounts of data, so it is dangerous to assume that pressing the "submit" button can be left to the last minute. The upload may take several minutes for larger files, and may stall for any reason (e.g. a prohibited character in a file name) and need to be repeated. The bidder should always plan to have enough time (at least an hour) to deal with any upload problems or be able to contact the relevant server or portal support service in good time to address any problems.
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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