Dear Mr 20%
Reference – That project we could never have won
Thank you for allowing us to tender for the above opportunity. As you can imagine, as an SME committed to offering exceptional quality and sensible pricing we were disappointed to find out that we were unsuccessful on this occasion:
Given the fact we scored 100% on the quality element of our submission, there is little benefit in requesting feedback.
I would however, like to give some further background on how we were able to achieve that score which will hopefully go some way to helping you understand our pricing model.
Credentials and accreditations
We think as a company it is vital that we take the worry from you over our quality and abilities. To this end we probably go a little over the top on our requirements. Currently we as company hold:
ISO9001, 14001, 18001 – Well we are working towards this but at significant expense
Our staff are the very core of everything we do. We can develop the best strategies and methodologies in the UK, however, if we have demotivated staff then a project will rarely get delivered in a way you’ll be happy with. It’s important to us that we pay our staff above the going rate so they are really committed to the Ebsford ethos. In addition to this we put them in good quality hotels, we give them all vehicles that are modern and have the comforts you’d expect if you were driving 30,000 miles a year.
For site works they have the best equipment on the market, whether these are knapsacks or dry suits. We need them to be comfortable but most of all safe in what they do.
It’s not just enough to have well paid staff who believe in the company. You have to make sure that they remain competent to do the role they occupy. We have some basic rules for the business:
- All project engineers must have a degree or preferably a masters in Environmental Engineering or sustainability.
- All site supervisors must have SMSTS if they are to be managing any item of works.
- All machine drivers must have SSSTS as they will in essence be supervising their own portions of projects.
We don’t need to do much of this. We understand that your requirement was for CSCS, however we don’t agree that a 45 minute touch screen test is enough to work on a site that could be flooded at any time or is an active construction site with numerous other contractors and machines.
Consultancy and tender preparation
It’s plain to see that you are happy with this with the score you gave us. We don’t achieve that by luck or guesswork. All our sites are pre-visited by not only the project engineer but by a member of the operations team who ensures that not only do we put together a commercially viable solution but also one that is buildable. In our experience this almost totally removes that little knock on your door that you get after the project has started asking for more money in compensation events because something has been missed in the specification.
I’m pretty certain if you don’t know what I mean by that you will do in the next 2-4 weeks.
I know this letter can’t make any difference, and I am also switched on enough to know that this isn’t an issue of your making, but although you may not see it, you do have a choice:
In every tender I see there is a statement “We are not duty bound to accept the lowest priced or highest scoring tender”. Perhaps when you look at quality scores of 50% or below you need to ask yourself if this is a legacy that you want to leave behind? Of being an organisation that is so focused on costs that you are prepared to make that level of sacrifice on quality? Maybe you could be that person to take a stand and say *this isn’t good enough*.
I’m not a clairvoyant but to me the future seems clear, if this continues then higher quality organisations will feel excluded from these exercises and will therefore stop tendering. This will leave the lower quality scores that you receive now actually becoming the cream of the crop with prices being driven so far down that quality actually becomes irrelevant. If you cannot see that ultimately this will lead to unsatisfactory completions and additional costs then I suspect this whole letter was rather pointless.
An exasperated SME owner