BASICS OF THE TENDER PROCESS
Head-quartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, Coinvest
Procurement is a regional online platform designed and
launched by a team of regional business executives. What we
have built, is a reliable, user-friendly platform that
connects your team to the latest information on Government,
NGO and Private Sector tenders.
Our dedicated team takes the hard work out of searching for tenders. Our team searches through all major publications and websites, to ensure that we provide you with all the latest tenders. We categorise the tenders and then email the relevant tenders direct to you for your convenience according to your field of expertise.
“Every organisation needs to buy goods and services from other entities to actually function effectively. In any country, the biggest employer is the government. In my mind, it therefore follows that, in any country, the single biggest customer for any products or services you may offer, is also the government. Maybe it’s about time we all take an interest in how the government actually buys” – Coinvest Procurement
At Coinvest Procurement, we believe that the next level of African development, shall be a direct result of empowering African businesses and promoting regional trade. We believe that the most sustainable investment into any company’s growth is by giving them business. As such, we are of the mindset that any conversation regarding the distribution of wealth and business opportunities starts with the ease of access to actual information regarding real opportunities surrounding us every day, and the education relating to how our African businesses can actually get involved in these opportunities.
The tender process starts from the budget and procurement
planning process at the Procuring Entity stage. However, our
brief narrative shall only describe the process from the
public advertising of the tender to suppliers through to the
actual conclusion and payment to the supplier.
AIn simple business terms, a Tender, is an open invitation from a buyer who requires particular goods or services to suppliers of those products to place negotiable price bids. The buyer will usually provide precise specifications of the required products or services and will make the final decision about which supplier’s bid to accept on the basis of price competitiveness and better match between the suppliers bid to the stated requirements.
Tenders are posted by public sector entities, non-governmental organisations, and occasionally private sector entities. Depending on the various internal policies or state regulations, most tenders can be found in any of the following sources:
Alternatively, the most economic route will be to register and subscribe to Coinvest Procurement at a ‘next to nothing’ and get access to an up to date database for tenders and tender awards, as well as receive ‘Daily Tender Notifications’ that are relevant to your business, directly via email for tenders across Southern Africa.
An invitation to tender is published carrying just enough information about the goods or services the procuring entity is seeking to buy. After seeing the notification, interested suppliers are advised to obtain a copy of the Detailed Tender Document, which carry the finer details of the goods or services required, the procedure to be followed, format of the bid to be submitted and broadly speaking, the terms of reference of the tender. Most invitation to tender have clearly laid out instructions on how to obtain the Detailed Tender Documents, including a contact person and contact details.
In most cases, obtaining a detailed tender document is mandatory for further participation. In our quest for excellence, at AfriContinental Procurement, we make every effort to ensure that we have obtained copies of these documents and uploaded them on our database to allow easy purchase or download. Whether a document is downloaded for free, or sold is a decision made strictly by the procuring entity.
Most tenders tend to request for standard documents with very few variations. However, the process of bidding will require some time and effort as some of the goods and services might not be standard products coming straight off your organisations shelf, e.g. construction contracts or consulting services. If your organisation does not get the contract, the time and resources spent putting together a bid is lost. As such, it is strongly recommended that your team makes a smart decision on whether it is worth while participating in a particular tender or not.
In coming up with this decision, some key steps to follow include the following:
Most invitation to tender notifications are very clear as to whom queries relating to an advertised tender should be directed. Some tenders also specify timelines for which queries shall be attended to. However, should an invitation not carry adequate information in this regard, you can feel free to visit our Procuring Entities database to obtain contact details for the specific entity.
Site visits and pre-bid meetings are a very important source for clarifying queries, and visualising the environment in, or items on which the work is to be performed. For example, it is important to see the actual site to determine and motivate whether you quote for patching the roof or complete replacement, or knowing that there are trees along a route for a road construction project will make a difference in the development of your bid. For most tenders, attendance of site visits or pre-bid meetings are mandatory as a condition for bid submission. Information regarding whether a specific tender requires a site visit is normally clearly stated on the invitation to tender. However for some tenders, this information is only availed in the Detailed Tender Documents, as such we recommend suppliers to obtain these documents in a timely manner.
This is not an exhaustive list, but highlights some key points when preparing your bid.
Once your team has put together all the documentation requested in the Detailed Tender Document, deliver your submission using the any of the channels allowed, and to the place specified before the closing time. Most procuring entities require that you place your documents in a sealed envelope and submit. Some organisations are now allowing electronic submissions. However, each tender will have its specific instructions.
On the specified date, tenders are opened and respondents are allowed to join the tender opening process. Tenders are normally opened on the closing date, in public where the name of the company is announced with the tender prices and associated costs.
After the adjudication process, the procuring entity will award the project to either a single company or a consortium of enterprises or may even not award the tender. If you are awarded the tender, you need to respond to the client by confirming your letter of appointment. Part of this process will entail setting up a kick-off meeting with the client.
If you are not awarded the project, you can query the reasons why you were not selected. This always helps for future tenders. It is important to remember that you will not win every tender that you respond to. However, should you have genuine reasons that your bid was better suited with respect to value for money than the winning bid, or that provable irregularities existed in the tender process that provided the winner an unfair advantage, you are permitted to contest the award. Such matters are raised with both the procuring entity and the regulatory procurement authority of the specific country. Be sure to be specific and very clear in your objection, and submit your objection within the stipulated timeframe as guided by the regulations of the specific country.
After the tender has been awarded, a formal binding contract will be drawn up. Among other provisions discussed in this contract, is the payment terms of the tender. Each tender will have different payment arrangements which both parties should agree upon. Pending any issues regarding supplier performance or delivery of goods or services as per the contract, there should be no reason that payment should be delayed or postponed. Should this happen, the supplier has a right to report the procuring entity to the regulatory authority to seek recourse. The ultimate action, will be to seek recourse from a court of law.
As a private sector participant in the tender process, Coinvest Procurement's key roles are limited to the timely capture and didtribution of the tender nitifications & efficient facilitation of acces to or purchase of detailed tender documents.
“A big disadvantage for small enterprises in their participation in the tender process is their limited capacity to get information relating to tenders published. Further to this, the geographic spread of the Procuring Entities where the detailed tender documents can be obtained tends to limit participation. Our intention is to even the playing field for all players by enabling timely notifications and allowing online access to detailed tender documents” – Coinvest Procurement