Top ten tips on winning Ministry of Defence tenders

As one of the biggest public procurement organisations in Europe, as well as the single largest customer for UK industry, there are a wide range of Ministry of Defence tenders available.

ministry of defence tendersAccording to the MOD’s Finance & Economics Annual Bulletin for Trade, Industry & Contracts, the value of new contracts placed during 2015/16 was £15bn, which is an increase of £3.3bn (29 per cent) compared to the previous year’s figures. Moreover, the majority of these (£9.9bn) were for competitive contracts.

Each year the MOD places thousands of contracts with UK industry, covering almost every product and service imaginable, which offers you and your organisation the opportunity for substantial growth. However, these contracts are becoming increasingly competitive, and contracts are won – and lost – on the quality of the bids submitted. It is more important than ever to ensure that you put together a bid which gives you the best chance of winning.

But how do you put together a winning Ministry of Defence tender? Here are our top ten tips:

1. Sell yourself

When you’re trying to secure ministry of defence tenders, it’s important not to sell yourself short.

What sets your organisation apart from the competition? Give examples and provide evidence why you are best placed to win the contract, and back this up with evidence which makes your argument for you. Know who your competition is, pointing out their strong and weak points, and know what the unique selling point of your organisation is.

2. Focus on the details

When putting together your bid, small and entirely preventable mistakes can be the difference between winning or losing the tender.

It is paramount to ensure that every t is crossed and i dotted. Small details such as a missing signature or missing the return date can have a significant impact on your business and could be the reason why you lose out. Incomplete and/or late tenders cannot be taken forward to the evaluation stage, so make sure these details are not overlooked.

3. Be innovative

If your organisation can do something differently, compete in a different way or provide a different service to accomplish the same task, then the MOD wants to hear from you. As stated on their own website, they are ‘committed to encouraging innovation in our business’.

Moreover, this will be a key differentiator and will help your organisation be the signal amongst the noise. Demonstrate how you can deliver a service that is faster, more efficient or smarter than competitors, and this will have a potentially huge impact on your business.

4. Know how to speak their language

Do some research on the MOD’s needs, values and principles and align your response in their ‘language’. The value of a powerfully worded application cannot be understated when it comes to winning ministry of defence tenders.

Understanding the terminology is an extremely effective way to demonstrate that you are up to the task. Have a look at the MOD’s glossary of terms and try to include any relevant acronyms and abbreviations in your bid whenever possible. This will show you that you are quite literally ‘speaking their language’ and you have a sound understanding of the contract’s requirements.

5. Make sure your numbers add up

Be clear on your pricing model, and make sure you state any assumptions which have been made in terms of resources required by your organisation and/or the awarding authority.

Familiarise yourself with all pricing and payment models used by the MOD, and how any pricing strategies can have an impact on tenders. Show that you have considered all financial aspects of the contract by anchoring milestones and setting payment profiles which are mutually beneficial to both your organisation and the MOD.

6. Respond to the requirements

One of the principal differences between a winning ministry of defence tenders and losing bid is how well it responds to the requirements of the contract and how successfully it answers the questions. Many bids fail to take the opportunity to express how their organisation can supply exactly what the contract wants.

Go through the tender and address each requirement with a clear, concise response, which demonstrates the knowledge, experience and skills which your organisation can offer. Ultimately, you want to achieve the same outcome, so don’t be afraid to tell them.

7. Form a team

To give yourself the best opportunity to put together a winning tender, consider creating a ‘bid team’ to work on the contract.

Soliciting advice from more members of staff, or advice from experts, will allow you to create a more thorough and comprehensive bid, which will in turn make sure that no detail is overlooked. It’s easy to overlook a signature or mix up a cross-reference, so get as many people to proof your bid as you can!

8. Don’t forget about presentation

Make sure your bid is presented in the correct format, and that any specific requirements have been adhered to (such as number of copies, whether it is to be submitted by mail or electronically, etc).

In almost all cases, a well presented tender will do better than a poorly put together bid. Make sure the document is easy to navigate and all supporting material is clearly labelled. Additionally, follow up to make sure that it has arrived on time, whether it’s by post or submitted electronically.

9. Check, check and check again!

Don’t let any preventable errors get in the way of winning ministry of defence tenders, and look over the bid as many times as you can.

Give yourself time to consider the questions in depth, and make sure you have done the necessary research to make sure that you are demonstrating why you are the right company for the job. Additionally, get as many sets of eyes to look over your draft as you can as another perspective can help clarify and improve your bid.

10. Ask for a debrief

Ultimately, not every bid is successful. However, even if you haven’t won the tender, there are lessons to be learned which can help in the future.

If your bid has not been successful, make sure you ask for a debrief which will help you understand and clarify where you have gone wrong. This can be vital information to improve your next bid.

So, whether your organisation specialises in supplying toilet roll or tanks, there are a wide range of lucrative ministry of defence tenders available to be won within the defence sector. As the world’s leading provider of global defence-related opportunities and intelligence, DCI can provide your organisation with the most effective route to finding and winning defence contracts.

Contact us today to discuss by calling:0845 270 7092


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