10 years ago when people asked what I did for a living they gave me a blank stare when I said I was a tender consultant. I gave up explaining after a while and described my role being as the persuasive writer in the marketing department.
Tender industry trends
The industry has come a long way since then, with bid management now a strategic discipline in its own right, and very much at a higher level of governance in the organisation.
The tender industry, and indeed pursuit management through business communications generally, is constantly changing. The growth in tendering as a concept arose in the 1990s, when procurement became far more integrated into overall corporate strategy. Bids were marketing-oriented, and mostly showcased company credentials.
In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s we witnessed a large number of corporate collapses, which brought corporate governance to the fore, necessitating a greater alignment of corporate strategy against the legal, moral, industry and political expectations of procuring organisations and their stakeholders.
At the start of the economic downturn (circa 2007) another shift emerged where importance of addressing risk in tender proposals, and communicating the approach to risk management, was of significant value. The large quantity of tenders that hit the market during this time was created from stimulus packages such as the Nation Building Program (2009-14) and the Australia infrastructure fund. Added to this were a spate of natural and man made disasters (drought, followed by flood, cyclones and fires) across Australia.
It was at this time we saw tender consultancy drastically change – from being tactical to strategic. In 2011 ethical and green sourcing emerged a key source of competitive advantage for many procuring organisations, with sustainable procurement placed at the crux of business strategy.
The tender industry today wants far less spin and greater focus on reducing contract risk through sustainable practices, whole of life value for money and corporate synergies. On a business level, tenders provide a great insight into the health of the economy, the strategic intent of organisations (and sectors generally) and the associated supply-chain business opportunities that are likely to flow from it.
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