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Sustainable procurement

11 December 2015

Winning tenders for work is vital to any business offering contract cleaning services. However, as we all know, price will far too often be the deciding factor for a procurement manager. But a race to the bottom does no-one any favours in the long run, explains Jan-Hein Hemke, managing director, Facilicom UK.

Unrealistically low prices when tendering for contracts lead to poor service, poor morale and retention of team members, and ultimately the loss of contracts and the need to re-tender (costing more time and money for both parties). Businesses can’t sustain themselves in this cycle and go bust. 

Competition is fierce when it comes to winning cleaning contracts. By being realistic and offering a sustainable service (environmentally, economically and socially), the tender process can be rewarding though.  

You can’t win them all, but as long as you are prepared to carry out detailed research, be open and honest about what you can and can’t do, and be meticulous in your attention to detail you can win enough to run a successful, sustainable business.

Tips for tendering

Thoroughly research the client’s history and aims – you should be able to show that you have a good understanding of the client’s objectives, and be able to demonstrate how your company will help achieve them. 

Don’t just cut and paste general information from a ‘tender template’ or previous tender documents – the potential client wants to know that you understand their individual needs and have the capability to deliver them.

Make sure that you answer every single question fully – unanswered questions or incomplete responses may make the difference between your company being shortlisted or not.

Provide evidence of your company’s capabilities – awards, case studies, industry accreditations, or testimonials can all make you stand out from your competitors. Include information about any specialist services that you offer; if you can supply something ‘out of the ordinary’ make sure the client knows.  

Before submitting your tender, double check and proof read it – a missing zero or decimal point can make a huge difference and grammatical or spelling errors suggest poor attention to detail – not something you want to associate with a cleaning company.

All round sustainability

By showing that your company is financially viable you make yourself a more attractive proposition, even if the contract costs are higher. 

Combine this with good environmental credentials which mean you aren’t damaging the planet and you are a step closer to winning a contract with any reputable procurer.

The final piece in the jigsaw is being socially sustainable. As an accredited London Living Wage Service Provider we have found paying a fair wage and treating our team members with respect has not only helped to retain valuable, skilled and experienced colleagues, but also to recruit a better calibre of people to strengthen our workforce and offer an even more professional service to our clients.

We believe this is the key to successful tendering and hope that more companies will take this more considered, longer-term approach to tendering. After all, if you win the race to the bottom, what have you really won?

Facilicom UK