Understand the Market
In conjunction with Analysing Your Business you need to Understand the Market(s) you intend to bid in.
Public Contracts Scotland
You can browse the following notices on Public Contracts Scotland (PCS) to identify how such products have been bought in the past and what current and future opportunities exist:
You may also attend Supplier Events e.g.:
- supplier days for a particular tender;
- networking events such as Meet the Buyer;
- training courses.
These Supplier Events are often run in collaboration with other business organisations, sector-specific trade bodies and/or business support groups. As a starting point we recommend that you look up the Events page on Public Contracts Scotland. These events may also be advertised in local or national press, sector-specific trade bodies, business groups and public sector organisation websites in your local area.
Other Sources of Information
You can also refer to:
- Contract Registers advertised on PCS or other procurement websites;
- trade journals/specialist magazines;
- market reports and surveys that have been undertaken.
What Information Should I Source?
Gathering information from different sources will increase your knowledge of procurement officers and national, sectoral and geographic markets.
Information that will enable you to better identify and target your bids includes:
- Identifying who the main procurement officers are of your commodity or service and where they are based;
- Understanding how procurement officers procure e.g. do they do buy their own goods or services or do they buy jointly with other bodies?
- Understanding whether these tenders are split into lots to allow the grouping of familiar products and/or services?
- Becoming familiar with the information that procurement officers ask for in their tender for the market you are interested in (allowing you to prepare better);
- Determining whether you have the resources to deliver a large contract to the whole public sector or if you are better suited to a local or niche market. Could you be a main contractor or are smaller sub-contracting consortium based opportunities better suited for your business?
- Identifying who the current suppliers are and how long they have been supplying the product/service. This will help increase your market knowledge, including when contract will be renewed in the future;
- Understanding the level of competition you will experience. Which other companies are likely to pitch for this business?
- Information on previous contract awards (which include details of the successful supplier);
- Investigating what training and other support is available to your organisation e.g. register with the Supplier Development Programme if you are an SME and/or with Scottish Enterprise/Business Gateway, Social Firms Scotland if you are a supported business, etc. Training and networking will improve the skills and knowledge of your staff to aid bidding for new opportunities.
Procurement Exercises Outside Scotland
Contracts worth more than the European Thresholds are advertised by Scottish public bodies via PCS. However for the rest of the UK opportunities can be found via a number of means:
- for regulated procurements the Crown Commercial Service puts in place Framework Agreements that can be used to procure goods and services primarily in England but can be utilised throughout the UK.
- Contracts Finder lets you search for contracts greater than £10,000 in value;
- the National Procurement Service for Wales puts in place Framework Agreements that can be used to procure goods and services primarily in Wales but can be utilised throughout the UK;
- Sell2Wales for opportunities with public sector bodies in Wales;
- eSourcing NI and eTendersNI for opportunities with public sector bodies in Northern Ireland;
- TED publishes Europe-wide contract opportunities.
Some procurement officers will also advertise their procurement exercises, future plans etc. on their own website.