How do you decide whether to bid for a healthcare contract? Sometimes, as soon as you see a new tender you know immediately whether or not your organisation should submit a bid.
More often, the decision is not so clear cut – “It’s interesting, but…”. Perhaps you have direct experience but it’s not really an area you were planning to grow. Or you anticipate issues with adding more capacity. Or there are question marks around resources if successful.
This triggers several weeks of back and forth discussions. To bid or not to bid? An attempt to “pull some material together pending a decision” never really gathers momentum and ultimately is shelved with the dawning realisation that there is neither the time nor the resource to create a strong submission. Staff stand down and the deliberations subside till the next opportunity comes along.
Sound familiar? Here are a few reasons why you might want to change this behaviour. Firstly, here’s why it’s important to champion a process which enables you to make bid / no bid decisions quickly;
And here are some pointers on how to go about making your decision and what factors to consider;
- Establish a clear strategy and follow a defined process that everyone involved understands. This should cover both the steps to follow to make a decision, the decision criteria, the ultimate decision makers and (often forgotten), the circumstances in which a decision may be reviewed. This latter case will usually involve a material change either in the contract itself or the circumstance of the organisation.
Key decision criteria will usually include;
- Strategic fit. How does this contract align with services you already provide? Do you have specific expertise? Is it an area of existing specialism or one you want to develop?
- Operational fit. Do you have the capacity to fulfil the contract and if not, how will you increase capacity? Is the geography suitable? If you are going to provide services out-of-county, which staff will provide the services and who will manage those staff?
- Bid resources. Do you have sufficient resource available to develop a coherent and persuasive tender?