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Keys for preparing commercial bids

By Demis Vázquez — March 8, 2015

A rising trend is competitive dialog. It is useful when a goal or service is clear, but not how to attain it, and the best solution must be found

Nae works on a number of projects that support the creation of technical specifications documents as well as the corresponding proposals that are submitted in response to them. The first case is when a private company or a public entity needs to address an operational need and it creates a request for proposals so bids may be submitted for a service.

In the public sector, this process is done in several ways, depending on the tender amount in question. Smaller contracts or those that are negotiated unannounced do not require a public request for proposals. Instead, the public entity can request submissions from specific companies. As of a certain amount, ranging from €18,000 to €200,000, depending on whether the project in question is for construction work, services, or utilities, the request for proposals must be announced publicly. The volume of the amount also determines whether the area of participation should be national or European, as well as the submission deadlines. These rules are specified in the Law on public contracts.

Another characteristic of this process is that, unlike private businesses, public entities cannot request product brands because this would violate the free involvement of bidders as specified by law. Instead, they must request a solution through technical and functional requirements.

A rising trend is competitive dialog. It is useful when a goal or service is clear, but not how to attain it, and the best solution must be found. The starting point in Nae’s approach is to know what is available and what is needed. As of this point, the requirements are defined, a group of leading companies are invited to submit proposals, and after several iterations or rounds, the final proposal with the contractual solution is determined so the technical specifications document may be prepared. The same companies are the ones that submit bids. This option benefits the organization because it is more dynamic. Without having a clear idea of what the best solution is, it obtains the best one on the market.

At Nae, we believe that the following aspects are key in preparing bids, regardless of the tender procedure and taking into consideration the internal vision (of the organization) as well as the external one (of the market and the industry):

Internal vision

  • Definition of the process for transitioning to the new procurement system and for transforming the services.
  • Alignment with strategic objectives.
  • Analysis of the needs, demand, and specific requirements (operational and technological).
  • Definition of a clear pricing structure and mechanisms for controlling expenses.

External vision

  • Analysis and knowledge of similar experiences and of the changes in the demand for services.
  • Knowledge of the technologies, operations, and services offered by the market.
  • Effective management of changes and communication
  • Coordination with other projects and tenders that have potential similarities or synergies

In this process, Nae coordinates, advises, and assesses the bids received during the initial phase, and then validates the viability before the final technical specifications document is prepared. This makes it possible to guarantee that proposals will be submitted for the tender and that what is being requested is viable in terms of the technical solution and the estimated budget.

In our case, an fundamental principle is the independence of providers. We define the functional and technical requirements, but we do not define the required solution because we believe that bidders are responsible for this since they are most familiar with the alternatives available on the market and their own products in particular.

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