Tendering? Be careful what you ask for

Tendering for new produTenderingcts or services can be an exciting time for any organisation. Obtaining the approval to go out to the market and invite responses from suppliers can be like a shopping trip on a grand scale. Developing your tender document therefore can sometimes feel like it’s getting in the way, something to get done quickly so there is no delay in getting those responses back, we just need a few requirements from users right? However a rushed tender can cause issues later on from earliest indications that the responses were not as expected or worse, the new product is chosen, purchased and in place before your realise the supplier didn’t quite read the tender as you had envisioned. Here are our top three favourite oversights in tendering;

Three misakes of tendering

Asking the price

Don’t try to second guess the solution. i.e. don’t ask, ‘how much is the computer?’, ‘how much is the software?’, ‘how much is the maintenance?’ etc etc because that’s the answer you will get. There will be many other things you couldn’t even guess, i.e. the solution may need a third party supplied part in order to work or there may be licencing costs of various kinds for items you didn’t even know needed licences. Once you narrow your questions the suppliers will narrow their answers. Keep it broad, ask for a complete solution cost and get them to itemise the detail!

Not exploring the five year cost

This is where the devil in the difference can be found in purchased as opposed to rented solutions. Email and telephone systems are prime examples. Although much cheaper in the short term some of them can be quite expensive in the long run you could end up paying double for a phone system over the course of five years and yet still have no physical asset on your company’s books.

Leaving gaps for interpretation

Does your software do A? Supplier ticks yes! Does your software do B? Supplier ticks yes! Then on the day of installation the engineer tells you “well yes it can do A and it can do B but it can only do one or the other, which way would you like me to configure it?”.


There are many more examples. The team at MarlynScott have seen many many tenders over the years. If you are looking to tender for a new product or service, talk to us now it could save you more than just money.


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