Frequently Asked Questions
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1) Can you help with public and private sector contracts?
Yes. We have supported a variety of clients with PQQs, tenders, RFPs and proposals for contracts including:
- Civil Engineering and Infrastructure
- Grounds Maintenance
- Waste Management
- Domiciliary Care
- Telehealth and Telecare
- Plant Hire
- Fire Systems
- Security Systems
- Security Guards
- Translation services
- Food Supplies
- Archiving and Scanning
- Internal and External Auditing
- Legal Services
- Vehicle Adaptations
- Taxi Services.
Our core business is construction, highways and infrastructure, facilities management and healthcare. However, it is important to note that our proven processes ensure we can excel across a wide range of areas.
As a result of the nature of ‘formal’ tender processes we do work more in the public sector. This has included:
- Housing Associations
- Local Authorities
- Fire Service
- Health Services
- Educational Establishments (Schools, Colleges, Universities)
- National Frameworks (e.g. Government Procurement Services)
- Large Charities
- Arts Council
- European Chemicals Agency
- European Medicines Agency
- Joint Research Centre
- And the list goes on….
The current public/ private split is 80/ 20.
2) How can you help if you don’t know our business?
On most occasions we would expect to have knowledge and experience of your sector – we are very open and honest about this and can often provide examples.
When working with you, we spend valuable time getting to understand how you operate as a business and learning about your experience. This may be by spending time at your offices, on-site, speaking to key staff and actually seeing how you manage a contract or simply keeping an open dialogue via email and telephone. This of course depends on the nature and complexity of the contract. We have written successful tenders for a huge variety of industries from to heating and plumbing to domiciliary care providers, cleaners to asbestos removers, security to grounds maintenance, construction to butchers, and civil engineering to printing. This success is down to how we effectively work with our clients to get the necessary information to write a winning tender.
3) How long does it take you to write a tender?
This really depends on the level of information the tender requires and what existing information the company already has. Tenders vary in length, the number of questions to answer, the level of detail required and the complexity of the business solution. For example, if we are supporting a 25 year partnering contract via a joint venture company (JVCO) in a critical service area and through a competitive dialogue this will take significantly longer than supporting a Council minor works framework. We need to see the tender documentation and understand the company before we can provide a quote.
4) We have just been told we failed the PQQ and would like some advice on where we are going wrong, can you help?
We can carry out a free tender assessment on one previously submitted PQQ and provide you with some constructive feedback on how you could improve your chances of success. It may be that in reality with your experience, for example, you would have never been shortlisted, or it is simply down to how you have answered the questions – but of course having this insight is essential.
5) If we draft a PQQ/ITT can you check it through for us? If so, how much would this?
We would need to see the tender document to see if we can help you. We would then discuss the tender with you and ask you for further information to then be able to provide you with an accurate quote.
6) So how much will it cost me?
We would need to see the tender document to see if we can help you. We would then discuss the tender with you and ask you for further information, such as policies and procedures. We would then be able to provide you with an accurate quote. We need to see how much time is required.
7) Do you offer any discount for repeat work
It is really beneficial for all to work with you on a consistent basis. The tenders will get better and better as we get to know you and write for you. We would work with you to pull together a package that matches your needs and of course the greater level of commitment the greater the discount we can offer.
8) What is your success rate
We look at success rates for each client individually. The reason we do this is because we are not in control of success rates. Please see several examples below which illustrate this:
- We have a very strong security client who has an excellent success rate for their core business. We are now working with them to expand into other locations however we know that our success rates will be lower as a result of them trying to break into new areas. This therefore impacts our success rate. We are however maximising their chances of success.
- We have a pharmaceuticals client who specialises in supplying the private chemist market. Our success for this side of the business is very high. They are however now commissioning us to support them with public sector/ NHS contracts – as this is a new market for them their success rate will be lower.
- We work with one of the largest healthcare providers in the UK. Our success rate is very high as a result of their capacity, infrastructure, technology and experience. If we worked with a smaller company our value would be in improving their current success rates but that does not mean their success rate would ever meet that of our multinational manufacturer.
Success rates can also depend on the types of contracts you focus on. The chances of getting onto a large framework agreement are far higher than for a single supplier contract, for example.
Many Bid Managers and Consultants will note the values ‘they’ have won. We have recently supported one client to win 9 out of 12 lots for a £500m contract, which is worth around £350m. However, we were part of a team of 20 and it was the organisation’s background that really won it – we just facilitated and managed it. We are also currently working with a large Housing Group on a £300m contract. If we took these values alone we could say we had won our clients over £650m this year. When our support may have not been influential but more capacity based.
Where our value has been more significant, but there is a less hard-hitting figure is where for example, we supported our small grounds maintenance client to win the largest contract they have ever had. We supported the PQQ, ITT and presentation, designed and updated their processes and are now supporting with managing their key performance indicators (KPIs). This will be worth in excess of £1m over the life of the contract but was far more involved than the others noted above.
We have spent time covering this as we do believe many companies mislead their clients in this area.
We benchmark performance so it can be broken down by tender stage, location, value, service description, ranking and feedback. This is essential to ensure continuous improvement. We build this into our in-house unique software – Thornton & Lowe Tender Library, which allows the effective and efficient management of tenders, as well as ensuring improvements are driven throughout the process. For more information please see - http://tenderlibrary.com/.
Please note that we have not worked in partnership with a client (so where we regularly support them) and not increased their success rate. We are a small company who has grown as a result of keeping our clients.