Mortitian - A Job For Life!
This blog post was to become a posed question – You will be glad to know that the urge to write an analytical or academic review subsided to be displaced by an even bigger urge to write a very short piece about rabid tender applications. Tenders are a wild goose chase, in which case you better buy yourself a pair of robust velcro gloves, grow even thicker skin and maybe grow a beard whilst repeating the cliché that ‘time’ does indeed mean ‘money’. Repeat these steps with the vim, vigour and dead seriousness of a mortician, who has a steady job for life!
Small developing companies will find difficulty in competitively tendering against medium-sized established companies in terms of time, resources and funds. Applying for any tender is a gladiatorial duel to the death and can sap energy, bury morale and burn your money away. Creative folk can become slightly more unhinged therefore ‘tapped’ by the mere thought that tenders can play an active part in creating a companies contractual approach and/or business model.
When a tender deadline passes and when the phone rings, email buzzes or door gets knocked, personnel from many creative design agencies lunge at these objects foaming at the mouth and with a rabid expectation of a positive and objective reply. Usually it is either a PPI salesman, an Amazon update or a frightened postman.
If you are fortunate enough to gain good feedback from recent tenders you should expect to experience an increase in your tender ranking and ‘pitch stage’ offers. This increase will be a result of gaining the correct feedback, assessing the feedback objectively and making the necessary changes ahead of the next appropriate tender.
Tenders are difficult to land but there is huge financial stability provided if you win (dependent on value of the contract), although you have to weigh up the risk against the reward or loss and more often than not there will be the offer to pitch. We are undecided about the legitimacy of pitches and generating ‘free’ work as part of the tender process whereas an online portfolio of recent and/or similar line of work should demonstrate a company’s ability to carry out such tendered projects.
There has got to be a better way and most probably there is a better way, although unfortunately it is easier for a tendering company to ask for a pitch rather than exploring alternative methods of appraisal and evaluation. One system that could replace pitches is carrying out workshop a session(s) with stakeholder(s). This approach would offer the opportunity to observe the creative companies work ethic, approach and processes whilst testing a working relationship between the creative company and the tendering organisation.
One element of tender submission that we are not very keen on, but it happens in equal measure to many design firms – No confirmation of submission and/or final decision confirmation. We understand that a firm whom puts out to tender will get a mountain of applications to sift through and their procurement personnel have other roles and responsibilities to fulfil. Although, communication is key and in future tenders a potential tenderer may not submit to an organisation whom they feel communication may not be their only failing.
To sum up this short blog post and give it some kind of ‘credibility’ we should end with the evaluation that tenders can form a consistent and structured foundation to build on, but do not hold out hope that you will land one anytime soon. Corner your local market, expand out into your region and county then you will have a base to develop nationally then and only then will corporate tenderers take you seriously.