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96 Tools and techniques Multiple appointments to framework agreements are an interesting case — typically they are used by public and private sector clients with a significant on-going programme of capital works in either a sector or a geographic region. The bidder, seeing four appointments from a tender list of twenty, might assume that they have a 20 per cent probability (one in five). Is this a realistic assessment? How many bids should you go for in a year? How many bids should you aim to win in a year? There is probably no definitive answer ~ it depends on the project, service, location, and upon the client. You can win ten appointments in a year accounting for 50 per cent of your turnover, or win five projects for 80 per cent of your turnover, or 5 per cent of your turnover in the first year, but bring in 80 per cent of your turnover for the following year. How much you need to win depends on your strategy and tius on your business model — your targets, as set out in your plan, should not be crude numbers. Annumber of strategic, tactical and practical issues inform the Bid/No-bid decision, with these issues themselves shaped by business plans, and also by consultation with others in the organization. These issues fall broadly into five categories as shown in Figure 8.2 Lowest cost or best value? The trend away from lowest cost was crystallized in the Egan Report, where the expressed desire to modernize cited a number of areas, including: ‘too ‘many clients are undiscriminating and still equate price with cost, selecting designers and constructors almost exclusively on the basis of tendered price .... The industry needs to educate and help its clients to differentiate between best value and lowest price.’ (DETR, 1998). The trend away from lowest cost towards value for money has started, with both broader and more specific issues being taken into consideration at the procurement stage, e.g, safety, quality, environment, but few of these can be easily quantified. And in the USA. they have recognized that not accepting the lowest bid, perhaps because it is ‘discordant’, has public accountability issues associated with it (Crowley and Hancher, 1995). From this comes the need to be clear in defining the best bid in this light. Our own National Audit Office provides one view: ‘Value for Money is about designing and constructing buildings for the best outturn cost likely to meet the operational requirements of users of the building to appropriate standards of quality’ (National Audit Office, 2001). Many Plans Business Geography Client (=~ J decision Service Desire Advisors Figure 8.2 BidiNo-bid: issues for consideration. Bidding and winning strategies public sector clients now seek to arrive at an evaluation framework that will provide them with the best team to deliver this. Bidding requires a variety of skills and experience. Some of these may be strategic, others bring value in implementation, The important issues are having the right skills at the right time, deploying a team with the right blend of skills, and having access to expert and experi- enced advisors. Tied to the following tangible skills and competencies is a softer skills set — less easy to define — such as leadership, empathy, creativity, constructive listening and understanding, team working, persuasive communication, ability to visualize the solution. In short ~ the ability to arrive at and deliver the winning proposition. Marketing Bids and proposals are aimed at communicating to the client that you or your firm are the ideal people to mect their needs at the optimum level of fee and profit for both parties, and doing so efficiently and economically. It involves communicating to the client that you are interested in working for and with them in meeting their needs, and that their work is important to the business you represent. It involves developing and communicating an appreciation of the client and project requirements Itis about giving the client confidence in the people and processes, their skills and attitudes, such that an appointment is the natural result; and seeking to achieve this efficiently and profitably. Marketing provides a focus to encourage and facilitate the gathering and sharing of best practice, to encourage teams to bid more effectively through a focus on the client, on the project requirements, and to champion excellence throughout the bid process. The aim is that this input enables more profitable appointments to be won, Communication In bidding this remains a two-way process, conducted in a variety of environments; — reading. and assimilating the requirement, responding to the brief and/or need, tender presenta- tions, etc. This should also bring the ability to listen constructively, and through listening arriving at a greater understanding. It is about being positive, facilitating communication between others, and being persuasive. Communication also takes place within the bidding team ~ team members are briefed, and specialist advisors are consulted. They take their lead from the bid leader and man- ager, and their contribution is dependent on the quality of communication.