This event was aimed at the Entrepreneurs, Micro and Small Medium Businesses to enable them as suppliers to get in front of some of the buyers in the Public Sector. The idea was for the suppliers to be able to begin to form a relationship with the buyers and to give them confidence to tender for work in the public sector. There were a number of parallel sessions which the suppliers could and were encouraged to attend. Bob and I made sure that we attended different sessions and both of us found the ones we attended useful and informative.
It was also a chance to go and meet some of the Government Departments, Agencies and companies that we often try to tender to. We were able to talk directly to the descision makers on the stands we visited. We both chose different stands to visit and only overlapped on one.
We had a chance to network between parallel sessions and met several companies that we plan to follow up. The Event Directory is going to be a good source of potential clients for the Synergy Group and it’s clients. It is planned to go through it to produce a list of companies to contact with a view to meeting and discussing our services and what we are able to do for them. The Event Directory is a source of information and is going to be used to make appointments with the standholders we met as a follow up and to seek appointments with those we did not meet. This is aimed at forming a relationship with as many of them as possible.
Tendering News Update
One of the most interesting things to be discovered at the event was that there are some significant changes in the pipeline for the eTenders web site and tendering in general. Next year the EU is producing a number of guidelines which governments have to put in place to enable SME’s to tender more easily. (As they become available we will give a summary to let our web site readers know as soon as possible).
The most common things that have prevented SME’s from tendering are:
- Lack of understanding of how the Public Sector buys
- Administrative Burden
- Size of Contracts
- Disproportionate financial capacity requirements
- Unclear award criteria
- Lack of Accessibility of public procurers
- Absence of feedback
To overcome this, both the EU and Irish Government have been working together with the contractor running the eTenders web site. Some of the items put in place since 2011 are:
- Meet the Buyer Events
- Go-2-Tender events
- Briefing Sessions for SME’s
- Launch of a Standard suite of Documents
- Increased use of standard documents
- Bidders become familiar with one set of documents
- Bring clarity to competitive process
- Clear articulation of all criteria used at all stages
- Eliminate jargon from vendor documentation
- Training programme for Buyers
- Department of Finance Circular 10/10. Download at the end of this article, just above the photo of Adrian.
- Self certification of financial turnovers
- Need for Proportionality (financial, technical etc)
- €25K advertising thresholds (eTenders)
- Sub-divide bigger contracts
- Declaration and evidence at award or short-listing stage
- No charging business to compete
- Promote use of Electronic Tendering
One of the most significant items to come out of the day was that SME’s can go for the larger contracts and should not be afraid to. You ask how? It was mentioned in all of the parallel sessions that I attended. The answer is to form a team of companies or a group of SME’s to come together to bid for the larger contracts. This can be very beneficial on many fronts. As many more of the contracts are being tendered as a series of lots. One company may only be capable of doing say two of six lots so won’t bother tendering. But if you partner (form a team) with say three or more SME’s you can collectively go for the whole project. This is being encouraged by the buyers. It also begins a relationship between the companies bidding and could well lead to further collaboration in the future.
The Synergy Group is willing to partner with companies on projects and will work pro-actively to ensure that this happens. We will also help Entrepreneurs, Micro’s and SME’s find companies to partner with.
For further information on this contact: