Give it to Me Straight: How to Write Effective Tender Evaluations

For procurement officers, the job is never done. You may have gone to market and found the right tender, but now it’s time to convince the decision-makers. Tender evaluations are powerful documents, with the ability to greenlight a project and get the contract underway quickly, or act as a roadblock, stalling progress, frustrating suppliers and potentially leading to cost blow-outs.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the most important aspect of a tender evaluation report is that it recommends the most suitable bidder for the project. Equally important, however, is the report’s persuasiveness. There’s no point in finding the right supplier if you can’t convince the higher-ups.

Let’s take a look at how to write an effective tender evaluation.

What to consider in tender evaluations

Tender evaluations are a balancing act between price and quality. Obviously, you don’t want to pay more than necessary, but you also don’t want the contract that sacrifices performance to achieve the lowest bid. To find that elusive Goldilocks tender, you have to apply the right judging criteria. One of the biggest decisions is deciding on the weighting between price and quality.

The selection criteria must also be relevant to the project. Here are some standard considerations:

  • Experience relevant to the project.
  • Relevant past performance.
  • Technical skills.
  • Management skills and systems.
  • Resources.
  • Methodology.
  • Price.

Determining the criteria is obviously a crucial aspect of an appropriate and accurate tender evaluation. What’s evaluated must reflect the system or structure of the product or service to be procured. It must also be kept in mind that each additional category or component to be considered dilutes the importance of all other criteria; how you weight your considerations is as important as choosing what to consider. 

You’ve selected the tender, now it’s time to communicate your choice

There’s nothing more frustrating than knowing the answer but failing to articulate the knock-out argument. While deciding on the best tender is more science than art, writing a convincing tender evaluation leans a little further to the latter. It takes experience, training and knowledge of what the decision-makers are looking for.

Here are three tips on how to write a convincing tender evaluation:

Lay the groundwork

One of the most important aspects of tender evaluations starts before they’ve even been written. Stakeholders and managers must be continually engaged throughout the tender process. You must learn how to influence them and learn their preferences. This is one of the best ways of anticipating concerns that may be raised by decision makers about the tender evaluation process and addressing them before they become obstacles.  

Tailor the tender evaluation report appropriately

Most organisations have a tender evaluation template, which is a good thing; it provides uniformity, understanding and basically saves time. Adhering to the template, however, has to be balanced with addressing the unique concerns of the project at hand. Each project is unique, and the category it falls under also plays a hand in determining the risks at play.

Make yourself understood

The written style of the tender evaluation is a crucial element and – to its detriment – often overlooked. Knowing what to include and the language used to describe it is an important skill. A lot of this comes down to how well you know the decision makers. How much detail do they want? Remember, these guys are time poor, so we have to think about how we can communicate information – both quantitative and qualitative – in a manner that’s easily understood.

Writing effective tender evaluations is a learned skill

Tender evaluations encompass a lot of what makes a procurement officer good at their job. Not only are there technical aspects to consider, but there’s also a lot that comes down to people management and communication. At Academy of Procurement, we’ve long understood the massive influence these documents have over a project’s success. Our Writing Tender Evaluation Reports is a tailored course aimed at skilling-up procurement officers in this crucial area. Learn how to communicate effectively so that the right decisions are made in a timely manner.