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Why Quality Assurance is Crucial in Tendering Processes

Written by Thornton & Lowe


Jun 14, 2024

Quality assurance (QA) is essential in tendering. This is because it ensures that your bid documents meet the standards of excellence, efficiency, and compliance demanded by the buying authority. Through the integration of key performance indicators (KPIs), benchmarks, and compliance frameworks, QA functions as both a gatekeeper and a strategic tool, enhancing the likelihood of securing contracts, building sustainable relationships, and maintaining your stellar industry reputation.

Understanding quality assurance

Definition and objectives

QA is a systematic process aimed at ensuring that your bid documents meet all requirements stipulated within the Invitation to Tender (ITT) or Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ). QA activities range from ensuring correct spelling and grammar, checking that your response answers the question and cross referencing your documents against formatting requirements. By in-building a QA stage into your tender process, your improved approach towards bid management will ensure that any potential non-compliances are rectified, and that your response stands the greatest chance of scoring highly.

Importance in tendering processes

In tendering, QA ensures that tender documents meet stringent quality standards, reflecting meticulous business practices and enhancing credibility and reliability. This approach mitigates risks, ensuring adherence to regulatory and performance standards essential for winning bids. Effective QA integration helps maintain consistent quality aligned with buyer expectations and industry benchmarks, securing a competitive edge in the tendering processes.

Our quality assurance processes

Overview of our QA methods

Our QA methods are integral to our tendering process, starting with defining clear quality standards based on ITT requirements and industry knowledge. For example, before putting pen-to-paper, we carefully read all associated bid documentation, pulling out all compliance specifics and the scoring criteria. This ensures that we are writing a compliant bid first time.

To ensure that no mistakes are made, once our first drafts are written, we submit drafts to our QA Team who review ITT information against our response as an additional level of security.

In addition, this extra pair of eyes offers opportunity for us to challenge responses, highlighting opportunities for improvement and delivering a peer review perspective. This forms part of our bid review service checking for compliance and added value.

Alignment with APMP best practices

We align with the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) best practices, emphasising transparency and accountability in our QA processes. To achieve this, we meticulously examine supplier capabilities to ensure compliance with our quality expectations.

Key steps for effective QA

Planning and preparation

Start by defining QA objectives and criteria, aligning them with buyer specifications, budget, schedule, and industry regulations. Clearly communicate these standards to your writers. Develop a comprehensive QA plan outlining roles, responsibilities, and the requirements to be aware of, covering all elements of the tender proposal from initial drafts to your final presentation.

Execution and monitoring

Implement rigorous QA checks and controls at each stage of the tender process. To support this, you could use tools like checklists, software, and audits to ensure each phase, from design review to cost analysis, adheres to QA standards.

Review and improvement

Regularly review and update your bid based on feedback and new insights. Address and resolve QA issues promptly and reflect comments across all documents to be submitted. This continuous improvement cycle refines processes, ensuring QA objectives are met effectively, keeping tender proposals competitive and compliant.

Common pitfalls to avoid

Rushing QA

A common misstep is rushing the planning and documentation phases, which can lead to missing critical requirements and specifications. Allocating sufficient time and resources to these initial stages is crucial for establishing a robust QA foundation.

Deferring QA to the end

Another error is leaving QA until the final few days before submission, resulting in insufficient time to thoroughly review your responses. Instead, thorough QA checks should be prioritised throughout your writing process to catch issues as they are identified.

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