Bid ManagementBusiness GrowthKeystone ColumnProcurement Training

Keystone Column 59 – Competing in Procurement

By 24th February 2017 No Comments
Compete Effectively

Welcome to the Keystone Column. This week we look at how businesses can compete effectively in procurement by understanding what the customer wants.  We see a new media business using digital to establish its niche in the market and we conclude with our weekly list of current Irish public tenders.

Business stories

MEPS ratify EU trade deal with Canada

MEPs have ratified CETA, the free trade deal between the European Union and Canada, which promises to eliminate 98% of the tariffs between Canada and the EU. As reported by Public Finance International, the deal is not without its critics who argue that it will erode labour laws and environmental standards and give multinational corporations too much power in public life.

Resistance to CETA has been characterised by observers as another signal of rising anti-establishment feeling and a public frustrated by the form globalisation has taken, generating rising inequality and a system skewed towards the few. Supporters of the deal argue it will boost both growth and jobs, including benefits for European exporters worth over €500m per year once fully implemented.

Another controversial aspect of the is the establishment of an investor court to arbitrate on disputes among investors and governments. Campaigners argue it will allow corporations to sue governments for enacting laws or regulations they deem harmful to their profits, for example environmental restrictions. Critics also say the deal’s chapter on regulatory cooperation hands too big a role to multinational companies in formulating laws and locks in privatisation and deregulation.

CETA will still require ratification by Canada and all of the EU member states: a process that could run for some time yet.


Housing: Rebuilding Ireland – The Procurement Opportunity

InterTradeIreland have announced details of a breakfast briefing designed to focus on the commercial construction opportunities that emerge from ‘Rebuilding Ireland’, the Irish Government’s plan to significantly increase housing supply.

Rebuilding Ireland will see a €5.5 billion investment in social housing and housing infrastructure, including:

  • 47,000 units to be built by 2021 with €5.35b funding
  • €200m Infrastructure Fund to open up large sites where homes are needed

Successful implementation of the plan will rely on construction companies (and companies in the construction supply chain) responding to the opportunity. InterTradeIreland’s briefing will provide an authoritative view of how the plans set out in Rebuilding Ireland will feed into a pipeline of commercial opportunities for builders, the construction professions and building products companies throughout Ireland over the coming years.

Suppliers in the construction industry that want to understand the opportunities and how they can compete effectively for opportunities (e.g. builders, construction companies, construction professions, building products companies, facilities management companies etc.) can find out more details about the March 10th breakfast briefing in the Gibson Hotel, Dublin  here.

Interesting trends

Compete effectively by understanding what the buyer wants

We frequently find ourselves working with Buyers and Suppliers. We often act on behalf of organisations and help them navigate procurement rules by running contests on their behalf. We are concluding a large tender that we have been running for a publicly funded body and identified some lessons that highlight the importance of engaging with contracting organisations where possible prior to tenders being issued. It is difficult for companies to properly address an organisations needs based on the tender details alone. The tender will only outline the organisation’s needs but they have wants that may not be articulated in the tender. Where these additional wants are addressed correctly in a tender, bids become very competitive. In a recent event we worked on some basic, fundamental errors were made in the responses received.

These errors included:

  1. Some tenderers didn’t submit a complete bid for what the tender covered;
  2. Some tenderers didn’t address how the contract would be fulfilled properly;
  3. Some tenderers didn’t put forward relevant case studies (or the requisite number); and
  4. Some tenderers didn’t have complete teams of people let alone people that worked on the case studies.

These are fundamental errors that organisations should not be getting wrong. A bid is an equation. The buyer is procuring people with skills they have already applied successfully. What they often get is case studies, on which the people proposed haven’t worked that may not have been delivered using the same or a similar methodology. People submitting bids in a rush, with limited knowledge of the contracting organisation, with disjointed aspects to their bid will not score highly or compete effectively so it is worth considering whether or not a bid is worthwhile.


Local media thinking globally 

Launched earlier this month, is a new multimedia news service for the Laois community. One of Ireland’s smaller counties, Laois already has a well-regarded traditional print media (and local radio broadcasting from nearby Tullamore). This meant that LaoisToday’s founder, Steven Miller, has had to innovate to carve out a unique local media offering that can compete effectively with traditional channels. is an exclusively digital outlet. It is designed to be an instant service with written, visual, audio and video packages delivered across web and social media, in addition to apps for Android and iOS devices.

Steven has 14 years journalism experience, 10 of those in an editorial role. In addition to experienced editorial staff, he has enlisted a range of dedicated local columnists – local businesses, sports people and community activists all feature.

Steven feels that ‘it is the media’s job to tell stories and on LaoisToday we’ll be telling stories in many different ways – through written pieces, audio, visual and video packages. So far it has been exciting, busy, enjoyable and scary experience all in one. As a county Laois has a lot to be proud of – our people, our history, our festivals, our sports, our scenery, our location, our future. LaoisToday will be reflective of that as the only locally-owned media outlet in the county we’ll be supportive of Laois people wherever they are in the world.’

We wish Steven and his team all the best on their journey.

 Note: we are in the sourcing & procurement business. We highlight things we like or that are novel or innovative. We seek neither compensation nor recognition for doing this. We are fully paid up members of the pay it forward mindset. Innovators should be encouraged.

New public procurement tenders this week 

Visit the Keystone website to view our take on the 500+ active public procurement opportunities with more than five days until their deadline. There are a vast range of services, supplies and construction related to public procurement opportunities in the following sectors (there are many more sectors than the sample list below):

  • Construction and related trades,
  • Professional & Advisory Services,
  • PR, Media, Advertising and related,
  • ICT supplies and services,
  • Training,
  • Property & facilities management,
  • Vehicle & automotive,
  • Catering and related services,
  • Cleaning and related services,
  • Waste Management,
  • Maintenance and related services,
  • Horticultural supplies & services,
  • Research & environmental monitoring,
  • Printing, office supplies and related services,
  • Trades,
  • Medical and scientific research, supplies and services,
  • A vast range of other services and supplies.

Businesses interested in any of these strategic procurement opportunities that are unsure of how they can follow-up on these tenders can contact Keystone at any stage. We would be happy to discuss your needs and where they may fit with your business growth plans. These public procurement opportunities are sources of business growth and innovation for companies across the country.

Please note, e-tenders often has public procurement opportunities incorrectly categorised so people relying on e-tender alerts could easily miss out on opportunities if they are dependent on it. E-tenders is only as reliable as the people inputting tenders and mistakes are made very frequently. The Keystone Column includes all live tenders posted on e-tenders that have five or more days until their deadline as at February 23rd 2017.