What was procurement thinking when it wrote that tender?

Buyers are finally listening to bidders, Sandy Pullinger, MD of proposal consultancy nFold, tells SmartProcurement.  At the 3rd annual conference of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP SA), held in Johannesburg last week, a panel representing the procurement community concluded that there are problems with their tenders that bidders can help them identify.

Problems Galore

Delegates at the conference were vocal about problems that bidders face. Poorly drafted requirements and tight deadlines to submit tender responses seemed to be common problems. Bidders are reluctant to challenge buyers for fear of losing business or souring relationships.

The discussion was titled: “What was procurement thinking when it wrote that tender?” Panellists were:
Ashney Chetty, Director of Leading Minds
Francois Naudé, Founder of MarketSqr Supply Network
Kamogelo Mampane, Executive of the State Owned Enterprise Procurement Forum (SOEPF)
Silma Koekemoer, Senior Manager at Accenture Health & Public Sector Practice

Panellists pointed out that most government departments and state-owned enterprises have a whistle blower telephone number where bidders can report problems anonymously. Bidders can also approach Treasury to investigate allegations of fraud or foul play.

Buyers do face problems of their own, including skills shortages and onerous regulations or processes to which they must comply. There has been a movement towards getting procurement professionals trained and accredited by CIPS to improve matters.

Leap Forward

Kamogelo Mampane from SOEPF invited APMP SA to join the forum in tackling issues. He suggested a joint workshop to list issues and plan solutions.

“This is a great leap forward. We’re keen to work with buyers to solve problems,” said Neil Philipson, chairperson for APMP SA

APMP is the worldwide authority for professionals dedicated to the process of winning business through proposals, bids, tenders and presentations. Since 2009, the local community of bidders has been growing in South Africa. From day one, bidders have been interested in working with buyers to solve problems that affect both communities.

APMP SA already has affiliations with both Smart Procurement and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS Africa). Their next event will be on 12 September about Government Procurement. To attend, contact events@apmp.org.za.

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