Frameworks are the most effective way of going out to tender – here’s why.

Going out to tender is a time consuming and complex process. Use of existing framework agreements can be an effective, efficient route to procurement, saving both time and money.

Many organisations use framework agreements to engage with suppliers for services and products. While this is a fantastic option for sourcing what you need, it’s extremely important to get it right.

The tender process will heavily impact on the quality of what you eventually buy – while mistakes made due to a lack of knowledge can be costly.

In this article, we’ll cover how the use of established framework agreements can make going out to tender a simple and effective experience.

What is a framework agreement?

A framework agreement sets out the terms – particularly relating to price, quality and quantity – under which all individual contracts can be awarded from pre-approved suppliers.

These individual contracts (also known as call-offs) give you the flexibility to procure what you need, under pre-negotiated conditions, but with minor adjustments tailored to you.

 The framework also gives you the benefit of greater efficiency between identifying a need and fulfilling it, and greater savings where suppliers may offer more competitive prices. They offer governance and structure throughout the procurement process.

And most of all it saves a lot of time, as you can engage with suppliers multiple times without going through the full tender process more than once.

Which framework is right for your industry?

Choosing the right framework is important – and there are a lot to choose from. You need to find one that meets your needs while being secure and reliable. Access to these frameworks may also be controlled by your procurement department or mandated by your higher controlling authority – ensure that you check your approved frameworks with your procurement department.  

Ensure that the goods and services involved, the locations where goods can be procured, financial limitations and time period are what you require. Once a framework is tendered and awarded, there is little that can be done to change these specifications.

As mentioned, there are a number of frameworks available which will offer the services you require. However, only a few are credible, and access may be controlled by your procurement department – or mandated by a higher controlling authority. Involve your procurement department as part of your process.

What frameworks are Ricoh members of?

When Ricoh joins a framework, the focus is on developing a strong relationship with Framework Managers. This ensures that a level of trust is built up between everyone involved – as well as a sense of loyalty.

Here’s a list of the frameworks which Ricoh are currently members of. You can find more detail here:

  •  Birmingham City Council
  •  Buy for Good
  •  Central Buying Consortium (CBC)
  •  Crown Commercial Service (CCS)
  •  Crescent Purchasing Consortium (CPC)
  •  London Procurement Partnership (LPP)
  •  Northern Ireland Education Authority
  •  National Procurement Service – Welsh Government
  •  Procurement for Housing (PfH)
  •  Procurement Scotland
  •  YPO

What do you need to consider before going to tender?

There are several things that you should consider before going out to tender. The following guidance may help you to ensure you achieve the best value of money, known as MEAT (Most Economically Advantageous Tender):

Lay the groundwork.

Research is king. Allow time before you draft your tender to check up on new legislation, the latest technology and innovations, and the status of the market.

Your current contract term may preclude you from being exposed to the latest technology and innovations. It’s important to arm yourself with the appropriate information so you can make the right decisions moving forward.

Taking this stage of the process seriously will save you time and money. Reach out to your current suppliers, see what other market leaders are doing or bring in the expertise of a consultancy firm.

Host a supplier-engagement event.

Hosting an event gives you an ideal opportunity to share information with your supplier base about your upcoming procurement process.

Get their feedback, gain insights and learn about the latest innovations, all while connecting and reconnecting with new and old contacts. Collating this information is vital to correctly determining the scope of your tender.

It also allows your suppliers to align closer to your goals as they attempt to win contracts – making sure you receive tenders that hit the mark.

Plan your route to market.

There are a few options you have when going to market. But hopefully reading this blog has persuaded you that an established framework agreement is the way to go.

If you do choose this route, there are multiple benefits to your organisation, including:

  •   More competitive prices as suppliers vie for your contracts
  •   Reduced transaction costs
  •   EU procurement compliance agreed by suppliers in advance
  •   Suppliers guaranteed to hold the right certifications and insurance levels you require
  •   Framework owners will hold regular reviews with suppliers to ensure they are meeting and maintaining standards and obligations
  •   Long-term relationships allow for continuous improvements
  •   Build a strategic relationship with your supplier to deliver excellence within your business

Need more guidance? Bring in the experts.

Ricoh’s Consultancy Services team are focused on working alongside organisations to unlock the potential of their teams and workplaces.

Our experts are truly passionate about what they do. We offer bespoke services to create processes that inspire your people and improve your business – and that includes helping you find the right solution specification for your individual business needs. You can then use this as a baseline design to call for competitive offerings under a framework.

Contact us today

If you would like to find out more about how we improve workplaces, using innovative technologies and services that enable people to work harder, please check out this guide

If you would like to carry on the conversation, drop me a line on LinkedIn. Alternatively, click here to read more insights on outsourcing different business functions.

Keith Stevenson

Government National Accounts Director at Ricoh UK

Read all articles by Keith Stevenson