For low value and low risk purchases, procurement officers will usually ask for quotes from a minimum of three suppliers who have the experience and expertise needed. This process is typically used for requirements with an estimated contract value of less than £50,000 for goods and services excluding VAT. Quotations tend to be a simpler process than a regulated procurement exercise.
Public Contracts Scotland includes a “Quick Quote” functionality which can be used by procurement officers to undertake a quotation.
When undertaking a quotation procurement officers must decide which firms to ask for quotes. Procurement officers may use the Public Contracts Scotland Supplier Finder - a 'yellow pages' type feature which allows them to search by commodity category, keywords, organisation name, region and postcode. It is therefore very important that your organisation is registered on PCS and that your Supplier FInder Profile is up-to-date, including as much information as possible.
More information on the supplier profile can be found at by using the PCS Supplier Finder User Guide which includes screen shots on how to set up or amend your supplier profile.
How are Quotes Requested?
The Quick Quote facility allows procurement officers to ask for competitive quotes for low value/low risk procurement exercises from suppliers who are registered on Public Contracts Scotland. There is no need for suppliers to register for Quick Quotes separately.
A Quick Quote request is created online and sent to a selected list of suppliers. Only those suppliers selected to quote can access the details of the quote and submit a bid.
Public sector procurement officers should use the invitation to quote for goods/services template when asking for quotes. The invitation will also include the terms and conditions for the contract, the evaluation criteria and any other information that you will need in order to prepare a quote.
Interested suppliers then complete the required details and submit their quote using the secure electronic post-box. There is a full electronic audit trail.
The PCS Quick Quote user guide for suppliers provides further information, including screen shots on how to review , respond to, and decline Quick Quote invitations.
Alternatively if the buying organisation does not use the Quick Quote facility in PCS they can seek quotes in writing, by e-mail or post.
The procurement officer should clearly set out the timescales for quotes. The deadline for responses will depend on how complex the job is, but should allow you to make a considered response. In exceptional circumstances the procurement officer may choose to extend the deadline. If this happens the procurement officer will communicate this to all suppliers invited to quote.
It is your responsibility to ensure that your bid is submitted on time.
What are Procurement Officer's Looking For?
Your bid will be assessed against a number of set criteria. These criteria will be given to you in the invitation to quote or the quick quote documents, so that you can see clearly what the procurement officer is looking for. Procurement officers will always be looking for the most economically advantageous (MEAT) bid which is a combination of price and quality/technical and sutainability criteria.
During an evaluation, procurement officers are looking to ensure that you:
- have the skills required;
- have adequate resources;
- are reliable;
- offer a competitive price;
- can meet the quality standards required.
You should therefore make sure that your quote demonstrates this as clearly as possible.
Can I Ask the Procurement Officer Questions?
Yes! You may ask the procurement officer questions about their invitation to quote. If the answers include any further information or clarification not contained within the original document the procurement officer will send this within in the Quick Quote (you will receive a notification to your email) or by email to all bidders. Commercially sensitive information will not be included in this process.
Can the Procurement Officer Ask Me Questions?
Yes. Once you have submitted your bid, f there is anything in your bid that the procurement officer is unsure about then they can ask you a question (also known as a Tender Clarification in writing asking for confirmation. The procurement officer will include timescales by which you must respond to the clarification(s) sent. You must ensure that you respond in writing by the deadline provided.
You cannot change your original bid details, you can only clarify the question being asked. If you have made an error in your pricing, it cannot be changed: you must either agree to stand by your original price quotation or withdraw your bid.
Can I Meet the Procurement Officer?
Occasionally, a procurement officer will interview you or invite you to give a presentation to help evaluate your quote. The procurement officer should include such requirements in the original Invitation to Quote or Quick Quote documents, including whether and how this part of the process will be scored. All suppliers will be treated equally and records of the interviews/presentations will be kept by the procurement officer for audit purposes.
- A breakdown of the requirements as you understand them - this is to ensure that any misunderstanding is identified and clarified as soon as possible;
- A description of how you have the skills and experience to deliver the requirements;
- Practical details of how you will meet the requirements;
- Any guarantees, after sales service, or warranty period;
The procurement officer will want to ensure that the contract is working well and meeting all expectations. As a result they may put in place regular meetings with you and/or some other reporting method to track performance over the life of the contract.