Thursday, July 19, 2012

Selling to the Public Sector: LIMITED AND OPEN TENDERS

Before I proceed, I want to say that I do not advocate winning tenders by paying bribes. In in my career, I have indeed gifted bottles of scotch and a book on one occasion (a copy of Pirsig's Zen and …. Maintenance”), but not as a bribe. Any person can win an order by paying a bribe. The challenge lies in getting the order and keeping the process within ethical boundaries. This blog does not condone or advocate bribery or canvassing in any form.With that out of the way, let us now come back to our subject. If you want to do business with the Public Sector, the  first thing you should know that is the chain from the requirement identification stage to the tender stage and then the Purchase Order stage.

ublic Sector Tenders are of two types-Open or Limited. What are these? Open is the tender as we know it. Limited tenders are actually quotation requests. They are  sent to specific OEM’s/Traders who are registered with the Materials Department and are asked to quote for items within a particular date. There is no earnest money involved, as the Materials Department knows you are in earnest. A limited tender may be sent to your competitor and not to you.   There are two main differences between Limited and Open Tenders.
1.   1.      You are not allowed to be present when the offers are opened, and ...
2.  The tenders may not be opened at a particular date specified, but postponed by a day, 2-3 days even a week (depending upon the convenience of the officers who are required to be present).

 Once everything is alright, the offers are opened and the prices, commercial terms are listed, and the file is sent to the indentor. The indentor goes through the offers, rejects offers which he does not have technical confidence in and returns it back to Materials, who then sends it to Finance for clearance. Finance checks out the proposal and vetts it and sends it back to Materials. The Materials head then signs the file and deputes his assistant to release the PO, who gets it made, checks and signs it, gets it countersigned and releases the PO.
Why are some tenders limited and some public? It depends on the value (landed) of the offer.  Limited tenders can be floated only when the total cost estimate does not exceed a fixed sum which may differ from organization to organization.

Although the process looks complex, it is actually simple. Read it again and you will get the drift of sense coming out of that allegedly complex mumbo-jumbo.

Till next time then? 
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