Bidding as part of a consortium can increase the opportunities available to your organisation. There are some important factors though to take into account before embarking on a consortium bid. Making sure you have these covered will increase your win prospects.
- What is a consortium bid? This is where more than one organisation comes together to submit a joint bid.
- Why are you thinking about a consortium bid for this opportunity? Perhaps you are entering a new market, or the size of the opportunity is too large to handle on your own? Nevertheless, you are a good fit with a significant part of the requirements, hence your involvement in the consortium is credible.
- Are there different types of consortium bids? Yes. For example, organisations can come together to form a single legal entity for the purposes of bidding this, and perhaps other, opportunities – they may form a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV); or some other form of Partnership e.g. Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). Alternatively, you can have a consortium bid that comprises a Lead Partner, with nominated, specialist Sub-Contractors.
- What should you be taking into account when establishing consortium arrangements? You will need to make a choice on the type of consortium you are initiating. What will the legal arrangements be? How will the consortium be financed? What will the governance, decision-making, management and control arrangements be? What will the business continuity plan look like? What are the exit arrangements for consortium partners, and will these come with financial liabilities / penalties?
- What concerns may clients have about consortium bidding? Clients will be keen to know that the consortium is properly structured and financed and can deliver the contract requirements. They will also want to know where the control of the consortium sits – they will have a clear preference for a nominated person as Contract Manager and also a single point of escalation. They will certainly not want to be dealing with a number of different organisations every time they need a decision. Bidders will need to articulate and provide assurance on contingency arrangements in the event of a consortium member leaving the consortium (or going out of business).
- Do consortium members have previous experience of working together? A new consortium will have some risks. However, where consortium members have a track record of previous collaborations, this will assist with providing some assurance for future joint projects.
- What are the bid management considerations? Having an effective face-to-face Bid Kick Off that clearly establishes roles, responsibilities and timescales is vital for the bid preparation. There should be a single bid management contact who co-ordinates the communication and inputs across the consortium partners. Regular (e.g. weekly) update teleconferences will help ensure everything is progressing to target; these will also provide opportunities for clarification and stress-testing the solution. Consortium members should read and comment on the draft final submission, so sufficient time needs to be built in for review.
- What are the bid writing considerations? It is important that the bid reads as a cohesive whole. A disjointed bid will convey a message that contract delivery may likely be similarly disjointed. Therefore, although there may be many different people and organisations inputting into the bid, there needs to be one controlling mind who has a very clear view of what the consortium will be delivering. There needs to be total clarity on who is delivering what, when and where. The bid needs to have one voice – as if written by a single author.
- How can an external bid specialist help? Managing multiple contractors in a single consortium in the cauldron of the unforgiving bid process and deadlines requires specialist skills. An experienced Bid Specialist can provide the necessary external challenge to consortium members. Since they will not be permanently employed by any of the consortium members, the Bid Specialist will have the necessary gravitas and professional detachment to focus on what is most important to the client. As a result, their observations and recommendations are likely to be respected and accepted by the consortium members.
Get in touch with the team here at AM Bid Services today for further information and help with consortium bidding.