Richard O'Neill speaks about Tender documents
We operate in a world where a single tick in one of a dozen boxes can make the difference between winning and losing a major contract.
Tenders, as I am sure I am not the first person to point out, are often seen as the bane of contractors’ lives. They are, however, the lifeblood of business. We wouldn’t spend hours slaving over them if they did not feed our businesses and allow them to grow.
So, when we spend a fortune in man hours on a tender, it seems only sensible that the work goes on elsewhere that allows the business development people to be able to tick the right boxes, gaining maximum points.
Some of those boxes relate to whether or not organisations have certified management systems in place, and also whether or not the certifications are UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) accredited.
Admittedly having certification of management systems is not a new phenomenon; increasingly it is becoming vital in winning larger contracts, particularly with public sector and national bodies. They want to show that they are hiring with efficiency and consideration in mind.
PQQ questions about certification might just be a line, but the weight placed on this one tick is growing.
Typically, the split between those who can already put a confident tick in the ‘yes’ box and those that can’t is along the lines of big companies and SMEs. However, if an SME is to start picking up larger contracts, punching above its weight and taking the next step towards becoming a bigger business, the extra PQQ points gained with having certification in place, and particularly UKAS accredited certification, will go a long way.
The three key management systems are ISO 14001:2004 – Environmental Management, ISO 9001:2008 – Quality Management and OHSAS 18001:2007 – Occupational Health and Safety Management. When you consider the benefits that these systems can deliver, you can see why those awarding the big contracts, and particularly those in the public sector, are keen to have those boxes ticked.
If an organisation aspires to hold all three management systems then the most efficient approach is to develop an integrated management system (IMS). The operation of an IMS will take into account the synergies between the three independent systems, making it easier to control. Perhaps more importantly, independent third party auditing of an IMS can be undertaken on a harmonised basis, reducing costs significantly.
Companies of all sizes have hit trouble in the last couple of years for a variety of reasons, but the best way to secure a business is to win work, and continue doing so.