Seven Tips on Tenders. And A Free ISO Certification Tenders PDF Download
We’re often contacted by companies wanting to bid for a tender, but faced with the requirement for ISO Certification. To make life easier, we’ve put together an ISO Certification Tenders PDF here that answers the main points.
However, we thought we’d expand this a little, looking at some background, plus wider benefits for your business. (And yes, I’ve struggled with tender responses myself, too.)
ISO Certification for a Tender is Not a “Nice To Have”. Some companies seem to believe that holding a particular standard such as ISO9001 will give the tender issuer a “warm feeling” about their company, rather like charity and community involvement, sponsorship of a donkey sanctuary, brass band etc, etc. It indicates in a vague sense that the company has a “conscience” about quality, a vague intention.
Quite the opposite is true. Tendering bodies now place a huge weight on an organisation holding ISO Certification, for reasons I’ll outline below, so holding the appropriate approval needs to be given serious consideration. This is more than a framed certificate on the reception wall, or a logo on a letterhead. ISO Certification is taken very seriously indeed by those wishing to place, long-term business, and seeking a reliable supplier. Understandably so.
ISO Certification Makes The Tender Process Easier For All. Quite simply, if you hold a specific and current approval, it immediately benchmarks your company in the eyes of the procurement department. There’s not always a need to go into detail about some of your key quality structures and routines – they are already implicit in the the standard, because that’s what the standard is about. And an external verifier has checked that you’re actually telling the truth, too. Approvals can be hard-won, but once in place, are regarded as significant by those wishing to trade with your company.
And conversely, if you don’t hold ISO9001 or similar, it is highly likely that, even if it’s not explicit in the pre-tendering requirements, your bid, (however well-written), will be put to the back of the queue, or worse. Faced with a heap of bid documents to process, staff will look for the easiest excuse to exclude bidders.
You Can’t Do-It-Yourself and Beat The System. In theory, you could try and impress the procurement person with your own framework of quality, and even still be successful. However, the heart of ISO Certification is risk management, and the key control measure is the Quality Management System (QMS). This is the document (and process!) that determines what you do, why you do it, and how this is measured in respect of quality.
Sadly, most organizations would not know where to start in putting a QMS together. Even the ones working within classic ISO guidelines still sometimes struggle! And, in my previous life as an ISO assessor, I could spot a “downloaded from the internet” or D.I.Y. attempt instantly. If you plan to devote some staff management resource at all to the subject of quality within the company, then you might as well do it within the ISO framework, helped by a friendly consultant, and gain a recognised approval at the end of your hard work.
Beyond The Tender, ISO Certification is A Jolly Good Investment! Once installed and working, the approval simply needs revalidating, amending to the changing needs of your business. Furthermore ISO9001, contains elements and frameworks that can be used in other, more specific standards, such as ISO 14001, and ISO 27001. Seeing it as a tool to win a single bid will make certification seem very expensive and risky in terms of potential return. Longer-term, you have all the benefits of an internationally-recognised, independently-verified standard of working.
And It Might Actually Do Your Business Good! I fight a continuing battle to convince managers of all levels that this is more than a “paper exercise”. In the rush to try and compete on a major tender bid, the key fact that ISO Certification is actually highly beneficial to daily business life is often lost. Less waste, more productivity, greater customer satisfaction, all results of working smarter, based on a bespoke Quality Management System.
And Next Time, You’ll be Ready… Sadly, companies often approach me in a bit of a panic in order to comply with a deadline, and have a chance of winning a highly lucrative bid. Sadly, there’s no “Approval Wizard” in the style of a Microsoft Word application that will achieve your certification in five days. Approval takes time. But it then opens up many new opportunities.
And The The Major Point Is…? Start Now. Drop us a line. We’d love to help.