Have you been waiting for a solicitation to be released because you believe it will be a perfect fit for your company? When that RFP is issued, don’t jump full-force into proposal preparations before you know what you’re getting into. You shouldn’t assume you know what that solicitation will look like or that the project is actually a perfect fit. A lot of time and resources are invested into putting together a proposal so it’s crucial to make sure you analyze the solicitation and fully understand the requirements, evaluation and scope of work before diving in head first.
The first step for all proposal teams should be analyzing the solicitation and making a bid/no-bid decision. This process aims at factoring risks and benefits of submitting a proposal and the performance of the work, if awarded. The process of analyzing the solicitation also provides assurance that your company can meet all the requirements to bid.
Get your proposal team members involved early at this stage in the process. This ensures everyone on the proposal team understands the requirements and can make a fair assessment of qualifications. Have a technical member of your team analyze performance scope, requirements and specifications to ensure capabilities. A Program Manager should focus on terms and conditions and all contractual requirements. An estimator should review pricing instructions and associated requirements. Finally, a Proposal Manager should focus on proposal development instructions and evaluation criteria and methodology. Once the team has reviewed their portions, they should meet to consolidate findings and determine their ability to be a successful offeror.
A few things to consider during and once done with your solicitation analysis.
Profitability – Be sure to consider all cost aspects of the project including labor, materials, mobilization, etc., to determine if the job will be profitable.
Capability – With regards to performance and financial. Additionally, review your current, on-going projects and your backlog of upcoming workload to ensure you can provide the manpower, equipment and other resources to successfully complete the project.
Long-Term Strategy – Consider whether the project fits within your companies’ long-term goals and only bid projects that align with those goals.
Risk Assessment – Analyzing the solicitation and taking these other items into consideration will help you understand all the risks associated with bidding. Once you’ve identified and prioritized risks, you’ll be able to decide if the risks are to high impact or not enough to walk away.
Although your proposal team will continually analyze the proposal throughout the preparation process, the initial analysis should be conducted within the first 24 – 36 hours after release of the RFP. This is important for a few reasons including providing ample time for proposal preparation after a bid decision is made. The timing is also important because it allows your team of reviewers to gather questions for further clarification of the requirements or evaluation.
Instruct your team to document all questions or comments about areas of the solicitation that are not clear, appear incorrect, or conflict with another portion of the RFP. Once all the questions are discussed and gathered you can create a plan of action for submitting questions. Typically, an RFP will provide a question submittal deadline, however, submitting questions quickly, as they arise, provides a better chance that your questions will be answered earlier on in the preparation phase.
Contact Meridian West Consultants to help you with a bid/no-bid decision! We can gather the team to analyze the solicitation, or fill the spot of Proposal Manager focusing on proposal development instruction, or provide further data about the history or future of the project, or all of the above. We can help ensure you are bidding on projects that fit within your capabilities and align with your long-term company goals.