Yes, Life Cycle Costing Can Offer A Competitive Advantage to SMEs.

pabloPublic sector procurement has evolved to facilitate SME participation.  In EU legislation this has been driven and backed by the UK government in support its strong SME culture, however this trend is evident across the globe given the close links between EU procurement legislation and the *World Trade Organisation Government Procurement Agreement. (This is also why UK procurement legislation will largely remain in line with EU procurement regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations; the countries that the UK wants to trade with are by and large parties to the WTO GPA) Obvious initiatives that allow SMEs to participate in higher value procurement include turnover caps (when buyers specify a certain turnover level as a requirement in a tender; this is now limited to twice the contract value) and the breaking up of large contracts into smaller lots (Tiered supply chain where Tier 1 suppliers act as a main contractor and take on the role of the buyer).  In this piece I want to talk about a particular concept, lifecycle costing, which whilst not necessarily aimed at SMEs, with some consideration can certainly give an SME the edge when bidding against larger competitors.

Lifecycle Costing

At its origin a management accounting measure, lifecycle costing is an evaluation tool that has been used in private sector bidding for a number of years now.  Rather than looking at the upfront costs of a product or service, it takes into consideration the cost over the whole life of the product, including maintenance, upgrades and end of life/use disposal.  Regulation 68 of the Public Sector Contracts Regulation 2015 now allows Lifecycle costing to be used as a measure by public sector buyers when cost is an evaluation criterion, however the EU Directive has broadened the definition of lifecycle costing to include environmental and socioeconomic factors:

“…the process whereby organisations meet their needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieves ‘value for money on a whole life basis’ in terms of generating benefits not only to the organisation but also to society and the economy, whilst limiting damage to the environment.” Defra UK Sustainable Procurement Task Force.

Why the inclusion and expansion of lifecycle costing?  A simple reason, when public money is being spent, authorities want to ensure that society as a whole is benefitting, not just public sector organisations and the industries they engage.  So, for example, governments may want to ensure that taxpayers money is being spent to support the growth of green business, ensuring a healthier environment for its citizens, both present and future, or may want to focus on areas such as skills development in local economies or providing work life balance for families.

How can SMEs benefit from this when tendering for contracts?

The benefits that SMEs can bring to a contract actually mirror the aims of lifecycle costing as it is defined in public procurement, so it is important that when planning a bid response companies carefully consider the concept of lifecycle costing and what aspects of their offering they should highlight throughout the response. Below are some of the areas that we ask our clients to consider and talk about in their bid responses. It is worth noting that even if lifecycle costing is not stated as a method of evaluation in a requirements document, SMEs can still gain competitive advantage by considering the following:

  1. Flexibility, delivery and expertise.

SMEs can offer a bespoke service and a level of flexibility that main contractors cannot.  They are often specialists in their field, offering best in class point solutions to particular problems that can be rolled out, and scaled up, with a level of speed and flexibility that is not always possible in large enterprises.  These factors can have a positive impact on the overall lifecycle and cost of the project. If you are an SME planning to bid for public sector contracts it is worth carrying out a review of processes and delivery methodology to understand where these exist and identify any further areas where these can be improved.

  1. Innovation

SMEs are often very customer aligned, and attuned to the current and future needs of their clients.  There is less bureaucracy in SMEs than in larger enterprise, and because of this more potential for collaborative working.  Therefore, when employees at the frontline feed-back ideas to management, these can be taken on-board, assessed and acted upon much more quickly than in larger companies. An innovation audit, looking at areas such as leadership and management style, the identification of new opportunities, levels of bureaucracy, communication channels and appetite for change, is a worthwhile exercise to understand the areas where innovation is most apparent, and identify the areas where it can be further encouraged as this can be present a major competitive advantage for SMEs.

  1. Socio- economic factors.

Smaller businesses are usually more closely linked to the local economy, which directly benefits from any increase in major contract wins via the creation of new jobs, upskilling and retraining staff; this will in turn create demand for other local businesses, putting money back into the local economy, triggering the host of social benefits that come with a thriving local economy.  Some of this is also true of larger business, however it is more likely that a local SME winning a major contract will have a direct and immediate impact on local employment.   Take some time to think about the positive impact your business has on the local economy, include employees in this conversation and make sure you plan this into your bid submission.

  1. Legacy

Legacy is now an important aspect of public procurement and also large scale public realm projects, and looks at the ongoing impact a project can have, once the service has been completed or the products have been disposed of.  Most of us will be familiar with ‘Legacy’ on a larger scale with the London 2012 Olympics, but smaller contracts can leave a positive legacy also, so it is important to think of this when planning a bid response.  For example, if employees require further training or upskilling to deliver a contract, what could their future career path be, might they be inspired to start their own business at some point in the future?  Will you take on apprentices and give them their first start on the career ladder?  Will the increase in business allow you to sponsor a local cause, perhaps a children’s football team allowing young people to be active and learn valuable skills such as teamwork? All of these seemingly small benefits all add up to a positive local legacy.

 

  1. Environmental

There are a number of ways in which SMEs are environmentally conscious, some of these by nature some by design.  Examples of the former include having a lower carbon footprint due to sourcing from other local companies and employing local people and reducing wastage and also waste to reduce overall costs.  With regards to the latter, as mentioned previously SMEs are closer to their customer base, a customer base that has become increasingly environmentally aware, increasingly more connected with the advent of social media, and increasingly more willing to vote with their feet alongside their social peers.  Whilst Costa, Starbucks et al will feel some impact of the recent revelations on the recycling of coffee cups, it will be but a drop in the ocean, however the unearthing of such eco-destructive practices could have a major impact on an SME.  The point here is that SMEs have become greener, it doesn’t matter whether it is by choice or as a survival tool, it is all valid and should all be included in any bid submission.

 

Here at Tender Ready we are long time advocates of SME growth strategies that involve bidding for public sector business, as we have seen first-hand the positive impact this has had on both our own, and our client businesses.  The traditional procurement landscape that excluded SMEs has changed drastically, and in our opinion is weighted towards SME success.  There has never been a better time to plan a bid management strategy.  If you would like to have a (free and no obligation) chat about what we have discussed here and how we help our clients frame these areas in their bid responses, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  If you like what you have read today, please follow us on linkedin, we have some interesting events and content planned for the autumn months.

Until then, keep on tendering!

The team at Tender Ready

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As Tender Ready accepts an invitation to “Stadia and Arena Asia Pacific 2016,” we ask “What does Tokyo 2020 mean for UK & Irish business.”

The 1964 Olympics was a major catalyst for the Japanese economy, and with Rio 2016 now well underway, we once again look with great anticipation to Tokyo and the opportunities that the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games can bring to UK and Irish businesses.

With a population of 13.5 million Tokyo brings massive opportunity to any entrepreneurial business and we at Tender Ready are actively engaging with trade and export partners and monitoring official procurement channels to ensure we can keep our customers up to date on relevant opportunities. Many businesses will initially express reservations about doing business in Japan given the cultural differences and geographic distance, (relevant concerns, as exporting to international markets can be difficult without the right preparation), however the opportunity that the upcoming major events in Tokyo represent will bring great rewards for anyone willing to accept the challenge. The Japanese government have themselves have admitted that in the past Japan has been slow to change, but the 2014 signing of the Host2Host agreement between Japan and the UK, a recognition of the exemplary delivery of the 2012 Olympic Games, indicated a real push towards building international relations and signifies a major opportunity for UK and Irish business to work with Japanese companies on the Olympic build up and delivery,  and also on the other growth areas that will benefit from these exciting times.

 The Opportunity

The Rugby World Cup and Olympics bring obvious high profile opportunities, some of which we have discussed in a previous blog, (companies who bid for contracts at London 2012 and who didn’t win on that occasion should most definitely be considering bidding for Tokyo 2020) however the opportunity does not end there.   With this new focus on internationalisation there are many other sectors that provide lucrative exports markets for UK and Irish companies:

  • Japan had an impressive 19 million tourists in 2015, an increase of over 150%, and we are seeing opportunities for infrastructure companies, transport, planning, hospitality, accommodation and logistics, not just in the major cities but in other areas such as Hokkaido, Niigato and Fukuoka, so let’s not just focus on the Olympics;
  • There is opportunity for innovative companies in the sustainable energy sectors, particularly in zero-emission forms of energy;
  • English Language education, again outside of the major cities, is another growth area for UK & Irish companies to get involved in.

Our commitment to supporting our customers to take opportunity of these opportunities has led Tender Ready to accept an invitation to attend the Stadia & Arena ‘Asia Pacific 2016’ conference this coming September where we will liaise with local government and export officials to find out about and assess the most lucrative opportunities open to UK and Irish businesses.  Follow us on linkedin or twitter (@TenderReady) for updates.

For further details on how we can work with you to help you do business with Japan please contact us for a chat.

A Medal Winning Strategy for Major Events

Olympic stadiumRio 2016 is upon us! It has been a somewhat subdued build up, given that the last games were right on our doorstep, and we were all thus fully participant in and aware of the fanfare, the advertising campaigns, the supermarket offers and all of the build-up activities leading us into the games. But the day has arrived, and from Saturday onward I will very much look forward to watching world class athletes perform in the stunning backdrop of Rio de Janeiro, and I’ll be very envious of my colleagues and peers who are out there.

I will also look forward to seeing Dame Judy Dench in the opening ceremony! A fantastic ambassador for the UK, that magnificent voice is instantly recognisable, and will captivate audiences across the globe.  However, Dame Judy and Team GB are not the only UK representatives in Rio this week.  UK companies have bid for, and won, over £100 million worth of contracts at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Source CITY AM 18 November 2016), contracts that are essential to delivering the oldest and most famous sporting event in the world.

UK SMEs should consider major events as a target market.

As we here at Tender Ready keep preaching, the successes of London 2012 and Glasgow 2014 put UK companies firmly on the major events map in terms of innovation, expertise and delivery.  Even before these events British design, style and (at the other end of the scale) security had been very much sought after.  There has never been a better time for UK companies to explore this market.  So why should you consider bidding for major events contracts as part of your business growth strategy?  Well, there are a number of excellent reasons:

  • The Department for International Trade and Scottish Enterprise estimate the Global Sports Event market to be worth £229 billion over the next ten years.
  • On average 30% of contracts at each major event are awarded to international companies (this is potentially higher in countries that are staging their first major sports event, such as Peru).
  • 30% equals a potential £69 billion worth of business for UK companies to bid for
  • Major events, both national and global, offer access to higher profile, higher value contracts which will facilitate growth for your business.
  • The prestige of winning a contract with a major event will assist in competing in other market sectors, both nationally and internationally.
  • Contracts with major events are very accessible for SMEs, with contracts being broken down into smaller lots on a subcontracting basis to Tier 1 suppliers.
  • The learning, skills and expertise developed by companies and staff who deliver major events contracts are second to none.
  • Key and strategic partnerships and relationships will be built that will facilitate further opportunities in the host country and with other major events.
  • London 2012 and Glasgow 2014 built a legacy of skills and expertise, which is available as support from trade bodies such as UKTI and Scottish Enterprise, as well as from other private sector organisations who have experience in winning and delivering major events contracts.

Scottish Enterprise produced a very comprehensive overview on the major global sports events market, it is aimed at Scottish companies but applies UK wide and is very much worth a read if you are considering entering the major events market. It can be downloaded from the knowledge hub. The Global Opportunity website can also be a good source of information on opportunities.

So what should be the plan of action for breaking into major global sports events?

If you are sold on the opportunity that the major events market offers your business, what do you need to consider?

  1. Develop a strategy.

Successfully bidding for contracts costs time and money, there are whole departments devoted to it in some companies, so it is important to spend some time at the outset to decide your vision for your business, and then carry out an honest review of your resources, operational capacity and ability to upscale and up-skill where necessary.  This will help determine what type of events and contracts you should bid for, whether, for example you should focus on the high profile overseas global events such as Tokyo 2020, start with UK based events such as the first European Sports Championships 2018 or The 2020 UEFA Championship Finals and work your way up to international events, or indeed aim somewhere in between with Western European events such as the 2019 Ryder Cup.

  1. Identify the right opportunities.

The next thing to consider is how to identify the opportunities that will help realise your vision for your business.  There is no centralised procurement portal for major global events, but as many events are at least part funded by public monies, there is usually a requirement to advertise contracts on the event website.  Tier 1 suppliers are also usually required to advertise subcontracting opportunities in the same way, so it is important to register your interest. If there is an opportunity to fill out a company profile it is worth spending time on this, potential partners seeking international expertise may have access to this information. You should also register for updates with trade organisations such as Department for International Trade, Scottish Enterprise. Invest Northern Ireland and Business Wales, and attend any events organised by these bodies.  We have always found these excellent sources of information.

  1. Develop the right partnerships.

Partnerships can be a key factor in winning contracts with major global events.  Many contracts stipulate that international businesses bid with a local company in the first instance, and the right strategic partnerships can help identify local businesses that can complement your offering. The trade organisations mentioned above are a very good starting point for this, as they have representatives in each market and will be working closely with the organising bodies and tier 1 suppliers.

It is useful to develop partnerships with organisations who have experience of winning major events contracts and delivering these contracts on the ground, a particular set of expertise that usually extends beyond the realm of trade bodies.  Such partners should be able to offer advice and guidance on bidding for contracts across cultural and language barriers and developing overseas capacity and resources, and provide operational insight into the most successful high profile major events, assisting you in developing and presenting your unique proposition for the major events market (disclaimer: Tender Ready has a wealth of experience in winning and delivering contracts across the top tier major events and offer this service).

  1. Plan your attack

Use all of the insight gained from your research and the strategic partnerships and relationships you have built to plan your bid submission.  Again it is worth investing time in a partnership that can offer insight into the operational reality of delivering a major events contract on the ground (again see disclaimer above), as this insight can be extremely beneficial in identifying the appropriate methodology, areas where there is room for innovation, and also in developing appropriate contingency plans to deal with the real life situations that can occur.

  1. Write and submit your bid.

At this point you have already done a lot of work, and it is tempting to want to get the bid written and submitted.  But it is important to spend time on writing the bid, and even more important to have multiple people sense check and quality assure your submission.  Once again utilise the expertise of your partners and have them review your submission.  Tender Ready CEO Eoghan Gill, our major events specialist, has produced an excellent guide to planning and preparing bid submissions which can be downloaded from the Tender Ready Website.

 The opportunities in the major events market span a variety of sectors and cover all stages of the delivery of events, from planning and design to operations and event delivery.  The majority of opportunities lie in areas such as Stadia and Venue Design and Planning, Construction, Hospitality, Food and Drink, Security and Safety, Technology, Energy, Transportation and Logistics. Here at Tender Ready we have helped clients win contracts at top tier events in the past five consecutive years, and we know that with some ambition, hard work and determination it is possible for UK SMEs to win business with any major global event.

Think about it.  Until next time, keep tendering.

The Tender Ready Team.

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The Ecosystem Of A Skilled Bid Team

A successful tender/bid management team is required to be multi-skilled with input from all areas of the business.  That’s the blue sky approach, but the reality is that in many companies, particularly SMEs, the bid team is made up of one or two people, usually those whose input should be at a higher level and who shouldn’t be getting involved in the detail, such as owners, managing directors, commercial heads.

Partnering with Tender Ready will provide you with all the skills required in a winning bid team.  We will bring your business over 20 years of tender winning know how, and help you plan and manage your strategic tendering strategy for future growth and success.

Download our document “Winning Business: 52 Tips For Tender Success” to find out more, then contact us for a free consultation on tender opportunities that will help you reach your vision for your business.

Infographic The Ecosystem of a Skilled Bid Team

Can your business ‘Go for Gold’ to win business with a major global sporting event?

The answer is yes.  UK companies have supplied to every major sporting event since the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. The UK has a global reputation for delivery, innovation and reliability, which has been further compounded by the success of three major events in quick succession; London 2012 Olympics, Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and The Rugby World Cup 2015.  And with the world’s top 50 global sporting events taking place between now and 2025 (Source: UKTI Global Sports Export Opportunities), UK companies are well placed to win a slice of the estimated £229bn spend.

Tender Ready founder and Sword Security Chief Commercial Officer Eoghan Gill led the only team to win major events contracts five years in a row in the event security, risk management and crowd management sectors (London 2012 Olympics (also London Prepares 2011), Confederations Cup Brasil 2013, Glasgow 2014, Baku European Games 2015, Toronto Pan American Games 2015)

“In my experience local contractors require international expertise and best practice on delivery and innovation, and UK companies are highly sought after for this.  I’ve also seen UK SMEs do very well on Consortia bids both with local companies and other UK businesses.  Major sports events really do offer a fantastic opportunity for UK SMEs as well as larger enterprises, and, given the benefits that Major Events business has brought to Sword, I would advise any company within the relevant sectors to consider this as target market.”  This is echoed by UKTI figures, 70% of major events contracts do go to local companies, but 30% of these are supplied internationally.

Tender Ready recently attended the UKTI Going for Gold Conference (Opportunities in Major Global Sporting events) and the Round Table briefing with the President of the organising Committee for the 2019 Pan American Games.  Our big takeaway from these events was the scope of the opportunity, and the requirement for UK skills and expertise.  Some examples:

Jakarta 2018 Asian Games

Indonesian President Joko Widodo signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UK Government to promote co-operation in the sports industries.  Some venues need to be built, others require extensive renovation.  The contract for the construction of the Velodrome has already been awarded to a UK company.  UKTI have identified the main areas of opportunity as:

  • Project management services for infrastructure development
  • Workforce management
  • Transport planning
  • Crowd management
  • Security
  • Marketing and branding
  • Legacy planning
  • Creative consultancy on opening and closing ceremonies

2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In May 2014, following the successful delivery of London 2012, the UK and Japanese Governments signed a ‘Host2Host’ agreement to exchange knowledge and promote business between both countries ahead of the upcoming events, a clear indication that UK companies should bid for contracts.  UKTI have identified the following as areas of opportunity for UK companies:

  • Sports advisory services
  • Event management
  • Legacy planning
  • Sustainability
  • Infrastructures security
  • Cyber security
  • Counter terrorism
  • Emergency handling
  • Business continuity
  • Branding – architecture, landscaping, commercial
  • International marketing and branding
  • Sponsor activation and management

Lima 2019 Pan American and ParaPan American Games

Peru has not delivered a major sporting event to date and at the recent round table event it was made clear that Lima are looking for support from companies with experience and skills in delivering major events, from the advisory and planning stages through to construction, development and event delivery.  The areas of opportunity that stood out for us:

  • Procurement advisory
  • Strategic planning
  • Venue design and construction
  • Financial structuring
  • Overlay consultancy and provision
  • Infrastructure
  • Athletes village
  • Operation consultancy
  • Parallel events
  • Security, advisory and equipment
  • Catering and hospitality.

The UKTI Sports Economy Team ran a fantastic event outlining the scope of the opportunity for UK business in the Major Events market, and if you are interested in exploring this, it is worth signing up for their alerts https://www.events.ukti.gov.uk/portal/page/alerts/

Of course here at Tender Ready we have expertise in successful bid management in major events across all the service sectors, and we would be delighted to talk to you if you are thinking about bidding for major events contracts in the future, no obligation of course.  We would be happy to find out a bit more about your business and help you work out what benefits doing business in the major events sector would bring. Contact us if you are interested in hearing more.

Until next time, keep tendering!

Public procurement kept some of us in a job during the last period of uncertainty…

 

Eight years on from the start of the financial crisis and UK businesses are facing another period of uncertainty, at a time when we’ve only just started to feel like we’ve gotten through the last period of uncertainty.  Whilst it’s certainly not the same situation, the speed and spread of the fallout from the financial crisis was incomparable, it is a worrying time for those companies who do business with the EU, and it looks like we won’t have a clear path forward for a while.  The similarities lie in the fact that UK SMEs are again concerned that the sales channels, relationships and orders they rely on will be invalid in two years.

Now you probably know where this is going, given the title of this blog, I will advocate public sector procurement as a good solid source of revenue.  But this is actually more about the actions that businesses can take to find alternative sources of revenue in case the current uncertainty becomes a reality.  I will use my own experience to illustrate.

Building A New Strategy When All Around Is Falling Down.

In 2008 I had just joined a great start up with an innovative new product, offices in the City, partner requests from across the globe and big, big plans. The company had a focus on the banking sector, had spent time and money developing this market, and had made very good inroads with the top tier global banks. Then all of a sudden no-one would take our calls.  The sales and marketing budget was justifiably slashed and no-one knew where the customers would come from.

Just like every other SME, the company strategy very quickly became ‘All hands to the pump.’  All hands to the pump to get business yes, but also all hands to the pump to develop a new medium term strategy that would sustain the business through the downturn, however long that would be. No mean feat.  I’ll give you the spoiler now though, the company survived and actually grew in size and market dominance through that time, and the decision to tender for public sector contracts was a big contributing factor in this.  But I think the approach taken by the company’s management team to get to that strategy was a very simple but astute one, and worthy of sharing.

This is an exercise worth doing at any time. but particularly during economic uncertainty.  The answer may well be different for your company however bidding for public sector contracts is certainly an avenue worth exploring.

Two, Three, Four Heads are Better than One.

All staff were involved in the process from the beginning, it was made very clear to us that it was our responsibility as much as anyone else’s to help come up with an alternative strategy.  That was scary, but quite empowering. We were encouraged to research possible new sectors, we were asked to work our contact lists and utilise the relationships we had built with customers, partners, influencers to have conversations that might lead to ideas, information or contacts that could help us build a new plan.

The key questions we looked at over and over again:

  • Which other sectors might experience the kind of problems our product could solve?
  • Was there any upcoming legislative changes or mandates that might have a bearing on where our product could be sold?
  • Did we have any contacts in those sectors where we could test the theory
  • What was the market size in each of these sectors and was it enough to sustain our business through a long period of uncertainty?
  • How short or long was the sales process likely to be in each sector?
  • And probably most importantly, how likely was it that the alternative sectors would be affected by the fallout from the financial crisis i.e. would they be able to pay us.

This approach identified a couple of alternative sectors, and importantly some upcoming legislation that could help our business case in the public sector market.  With the impending changes to public procurement aimed at assisting SMEs, namely the Prompt Payment Policy 2010, and the discussions around simplifying the procurement process and setting targets for dealing with SMEs, the company decided to focus on the public sector, with great success, becoming the market leader in 4 short years.  And my passion for strategic tendering was born.

This is just one example, there are many more companies out there who survived the downturn by bidding for and winning public sector contracts.  And the compelling reasons for bidding for public contracts still remain:

  • 27% of public contracts are currently fulfilled by SMEs, upwards on £11 billion annually, and the government aims to increase this to ensure that by 2020 £1 in every £3 is spent with small business (250 employees or less)
  • The public sector will always pay its bills, and the Prompt Payment Policy 2010 was decided to increase the speed of payment to help SMEs with cashflow
  • Despite austerity, the public sector has a responsibility to deliver services to clients (you and I), and thus will always need to procure.
  • Public procurement processes won’t change that much, if at all, on leaving the EU (read more on this)

So if you haven’t considered bidding for public contracts, or have made attempts but not made it part of your long term strategy, perhaps now is the time to dip your toe into the water again.

Tender Ready founder Eoghan Gill has produced a document outlining best practice for every stage of the tender submission process, which is an excellent road-map for any company thinking about tendering or wanting to improve their tender management processes.  You can download the document here.

If you want to hear more from Tender Ready you can register your interest for our upcoming webinar ‘Opportunities for SMEs in Global Major Events’ by emailing the major events team info@tender-ready.com).  And of course if you want to find out more about how we help companies to build tendering into their long term strategy visit our website www.tender-ready.com

When the dust settles….the procurement landscape may just remain the same

EU_CLOCK_643p_643Like every other business, and indeed voting age person in the UK, we’ve been following, reading about, discussing, debating, arguing about even shouting at the TV about Brexit, both in the leadup to and now after, the referendum.  We decided not to blog about it as a company, for a couple of reasons, the first and most important being that we didn’t think much would change in the procurement landscape, in the short term at least, but probably not in the long term either.  So we didn’t have anything funny, outrageous, strange or startling (i.e. new) to add to the noise and general melee.

But, as senior members of our team are briefing President of COPAL (Pan Am Games 2019 Organising Committee) Luis Salazar today on global procurement processes, and we attend the UKTI Going for Gold Event in Liverpool tomorrow (outlining opportunities for UK companies in major sports events), it struck me that it might be worth laying out, in brief, why things won’t change on the procurement landscape, particularly not for SMEs.

Procurement rules are bigger than the EU, they are WTO sized.

The EU is a signatory to the WTO (World Trade Organisation) Government Procurement Agreement(GPA), and EU procurement directives (and subsequently UK procurement law) must be compliant with these regulations if they wish to do business with WTO members.  Therefore, the rules will not change, even in the unlikely event that the UK finds itself in the position of operating outside of the single market completely.

Tendering for smaller value contracts over £25,000 is a UK led initiative.

The aim of which was to open up more contracts to the SME sector, which is hugely important to the UK economy.  This initiative will not be effected by the relationship with the EU, no matter what form it takes.

UK government will be prohibited from giving advantage or incentives to UK business

The most likely scenario going forward is that the UK will become a member of EEA, and thus will still have to respect the single market, and its rules on fair competition.  Within this there are strict rules which will stop the UK government from offering advantage or incentives to UK companies with the purpose of weighting competition in their favour.

There is an appetite for fair play and open competition in the UK

Many SMEs have benefited from the procurement rules that have been developed during EU membership, these rules have levelled the playing field for business, with contracts being won on best value, capabilities and innovation rather than on old boys networks, size and the weight of money. The transparent and fair processes that we have all become accustomed to allows business to challenge procurement decisions when we feel that they haven’t been fair or transparent, and we want this to continue.  And did I mention WTO GPA?

‘EU bureaucracy’ is in this case UK bureaucracy.

The UK was heavily involved in negotiating EU procurement rules, and each member state had the power to implement these rules as they see fit, providing they met the basic requirements. Interestingly, UK procurement rules are more complex and bureaucratic than those in any other member state.

EU Procurement rules have been enshrined in UK law.

Yes, Westminster can change the law, but they would have to put something similar in place in order to do business with economies outside the EU (WTO GPA anyone?) and given the cost and complexity of this, why would they?

Once the dust settles, EU countries will still want to do business with the UK; Europe would not be the same without some of the nation’s most sought after exports, world class architecture and design being one example, and security expertise another.

Meanwhile, the world turns, and other economies outside the EU still require products and services (one last time, WTO GPA). Our Winning Business: 52 Tips for Tender Success is an essential resource for SMEs who are thinking about bidding for national and global contracts, or who have been involved in tendering, and want to improve their contract win rates.  And watch this space for an update on the UKTI Going For Gold: Opportunities in Major Sports Events conference.

Have a good week, and may the business gods be with you.  Until next time…

The Tender Ready team.