Fixing faulty bid documents
It is hard to find any contractor who choose to work with faulty machinery, poor supervision or weak customer liaison. Yet faulty contract bid documents are the norm. Contractors equipped with very capable site staff can fail to win ideal contracts, due to faulty bid documents.
Iíve seen well-known firms put out bids that vary widely between offices and departments showing they have no standard of excellence. Iíve seen another spend $600,000 a year producing bids that failed to win. Others have hidden their key competitive benefits from view. Many allocate huge budgets for R&D and equipment upgrades, but have a zero budget for tender bid improvement.
For 12 years from 1993, house framing suppliers got away with contract bids for flawed systems. Competitors with faultless systems had put in weaker bids, resulting in the flawed systems being chosen and a multi-billion dollar mess that is still being cleaned up today.
Every defect is a treasure
Looked at objectively, every defect in the bid production process is a treasure waiting to be found. I can often find 10, 20, 30 or even 40 defects in a typical bid. When asked to look for faults I sometimes have trouble finding any section that is done well.
Choosing the right people to lead quality reform in any field is a critical task. Staff involved with bid production must see the reform as helpful, truthful, caring, and considerate Ė otherwise they will yawn and may even oppose it. Looking for faults and finding them might make some managers look foolish. But it is better to look a fool than to be one.
Throwing time and money at bid documents is wasteful unless each step in the process is checked to see that it is working as it should to give the very best chance of success. Experience can be wrong: evidence is what counts.
Bottom line: The weakest links in your bid production system should be found and put right without delay. Otherwise you will end up repeating them. Einstein put it well: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
(c) This Opinion by Tom Evison was first published by Tecads in November 2018