Tenders set the stage in the new procurement landscape
The importance of tenders is rising. Tendering has become a new, standard method of entry into the procurement game in most European countries, and even across Asia, Middle East and Latin America. This competitive form of procurement procedure by national, regional or local tender authority is often heavily regulated by law.
The most common challenges in the tendering process are awareness and overall tendering intelligence. This post reviews the role these challenges play in participating successfully and how a centralized portal in the European Union (EU) is beginning to address these challenges.
Are you aware of tendering opportunities?
The variety of tendering authorities poses the challenge of being aware of all tenders published in the market. In fact, very few companies are able to measure the entire tender market they could participate in. Many struggle to become aware of tenders in time to form a proper planning, business case and offer package submission. Because of this, awareness is key in any tender management process. It’s the first step to winning contracts awarded by tender. Without awareness, you can’t participate and win.
A recent benchmarking study (results to be released soon) performed by HighPoint Solutions revealed that one-third of the companies are challenged by this awareness phase. Those organizations are becoming aware of tenders so late that they don’t have the time to be prepared before the submission deadline.
Challenged by your tender database?
Tendering intelligence data has two aspects – opportunity screening to become aware of tenders and historical data to be leveraged for analytics. Creating and managing a constantly updated database with reliable data will improve tender intelligence, enabling the awareness and analysis necessary for successful participation.
TED – A centralized tender portal in the European Union (EU)
The European Public Procurement Directive (EU PPD) sets the governing framework for tendering within the EU. This regulation outlines the obligation for public contracting authorities to electronically publish any tenders above a certain monetary value on an open portal, called Tenders Electronic Daily (TED).
In Directive 2014/24/EU, for pharmaceutical supplies, the minimum value threshold for certain authorities is set at 134,000 euros. This means that all major tenders are published on this central portal, which contains all requests for proposal above a value of 134,000 euros. For Life Sciences, this translates to almost all contracts within the public sector.
Public contracting authorities must provide all data linked to both tender notifications and related results for publication through the TED portal. This makes it a perfect source for awareness of tenders and the definition of alert notifications. You can tackle the historical data challenge by mining the portal and also become aware of new tenders published through the portal. In an ideal case, this eliminates issues with preparation time for tenders from public authorities.
Of course, the TED portal is still maturing and there are some shortcomings. The implementation of the directive is not yet fully achieved throughout the EU, meaning some public authorities of the member states may not be publishing their tenders through the platform yet. A second issue is a potential delay between an authority’s tender publication and the data becoming available on TED. Finally, data quality is always dependent on the tendering and contracting authorities. TED itself is not responsible for the data content, and, in the end, is not changing any data, but the EU Commission is working on further harmonizing and improving the data quality (for example, with the eForm initiative).
We now have a reliable source of data and an interesting challenge to tackle. If a manufacturer could receive a data feed from TED, two of the key issues of the tendering process would be solved, unlocking a significant number of additional tender opportunities. Imagine becoming seamlessly aware of the entire public market.