Steps for Invitation to tender

1. Preparation Meeting

A tender evaluation committee must be established by the Chief Executive prior to the tender preparation meeting. The committee should consist of an odd number of participants, ideally a minimum of three and a suggested composition of the committee could be as follows;

  1. Logistics Manager or equivalent
  2. Technical Representative (specifically related to the items being procured)
  3. Finance Department Representative

As with Purchase Committees, tender evaluation committee members should be regularly rotated (preferably every two months) and training should be provided to ensure that members are fully aware of their roles and responsibilities.

Also; as with PC’s, when procuring on behalf of partners, a representative from the partner organisation should be invited to participate as a member of the tender committee. Likewise, the participation of beneficiaries on tender committees should also be considered and actively encouraged where appropriate to improve the level of accountability in the process.

The choice of participants in the tender evaluation committee should ensure that impartiality is respected. A Declaration of Impartiality and Confidentiality (See appendix 07) must be signed by every member of the tender evaluation committee during the preparatory meeting.

Once the committee is formed, individual roles and responsibilities should be assigned. A chairperson should be appointed along with a Secretary (Usually the Logistics Manager) who is made responsible for completing all tender forms and documentation.

The core reason for this meeting is to ensure that all participants of the committee are fully aware
of the following issues;

  • The materials or services requested in the tender.
  • The tender process to be followed. (A copy of this document should be made available to all participants prior to the preparation meeting)
  • The process for evaluation of quotations and samples.

The Chairperson should allocate the responsibility of creating the tender advertisement and tender dossier to whomever on the committee is the most appropriate for this piece of work. However this is usually the Logistics Manager.

A means of receipt of tender bids and samples (if applicable) should be agreed at this stage. Secure holding places should be established such as a safe or secure sealed box for the tender bids and a secure room for any samples received. The minutes of the preparation meeting should be recorded and signed by all members of the tender evaluation committee.

2. Preparation of the Tender Advertisement and Tender Dossier

The tender advertisement should be prepared based on the sample provided in Appendix 08. It should be kept as short as possible, although ensuring that no essential information has been omitted.

The tender dossier should firstly comprise of a Letter of Invitation to Tender as per Appendix 09. This document acts as a cover page to the tender dossier and confirms to any interested parties what is included in the dossier and what documents and information they must submit along with their bid.

A template for the main content of the tender dossier is included in the following appendices;

Appendix 10 Instructions to Tenders
Appendix 11 Terms and Conditions
Appendix 12 Tenderers Relevant Experience
Appendix 13 Tenderers Declaration
Appendix 14 Price Schedule

It is vitally important at this stage to have the exact specifications of the required materials. If specifications change during the course of the tender, this may necessitate cancelling the tender and starting over. As tendering can be a lengthy process, it is generally far from ideal to cancel and re-start for both LNGO and any bidders to the original tender. If the tender evaluation committee is unsure what specification of material it requires, it may be worth collecting samples at this stage, agreeing on a minimum specification, and tendering for this minimum standard.

If the tender consists of a number of different commodity types, it may be worth considering splitting the tender into a number of ‘lots’ thereby allowing tenderers to bid for one or more items. Retaining an entire order of different types of materials in a single ‘lot’, may discourage certain bidders from responding to the tender, as they may be unable to offer all items requested.

Bidders may all be asked to submit a Tender / Bid Guarantee with a value of 5% of their bid in shape of a demand draft / call deposit or pay order favouring LNGO. This ensures that the bidder is serious and will not back off from the price and delivery schedule. Splitting material requirements into different contracts in an attempt to go below the required thresholds and therefore simplify the necessary procedures for either a local or international tender is not permitted.

Once the designated person(s) has completed both the tender advertisement and tender dossier, the tender committee should again meet to agree the content of both the advertisement and the tender dossier.

3. Tender Advertising

Once both the tender advertisement and the tender dossier have been completed and their content agreed by the tender evaluation committee, an estimated tender value should be calculated so that the correct process is followed. How the tender is advertised will depend on whether a local or international procedure is being applied. It is important to acknowledge the donor in the tender advertisement.

Open Local Invitation to Tender

A Local Tender is one which is advertised in Pakistan. As a bare minimum the tender advertisement must be published in at least two national daily newspapers (One in English and One in Urdu) Proof of advertising in shape of the original newspaper advertisement must be held in the tender file for future audit purposes.

Open International Invitation to Tender

For all international tenders, the advertisement should, as a minimum, appear on the website, two national dailies (one in English and one in Urdu) and in an international journal / newspaper like for example “The Daily Guardian” in the UK.

The tender advertisement should include a tender reference number and this number should be used on every document and form for the remainder of the process. The tender advert should contain a statement concerning the LNGO’s right to accept or reject any tender bids prior to the award of contract and to annul the bidding process and reject all bids at any time. Where the interest of the organisation so requires, all bids may be rejected and new ones solicited based on the same or revised specifications. Rejection of all bids is justified when an insufficient number of acceptable bids are received, when there is a lack of effective competition, or the costs exceed budget limits. The minimum number of acceptable bids in both a local and international tender is 3. If only 1 or 2 tender bids have been received and reasonable justification exists to proceed with the tender process, a waiver is required from the donor.

4. Receipt of Offers

Tender offers must be submitted in sealed envelopes, marked “not to be opened before <designated closing date/time>” and should bear the tender reference specified in the tender advert and tender dossier on the outside of the envelope for identification purposes. Interested parties should be given a minimum of 2 weeks to respond from the date of posting the tender advertisement.

The closing date and time should be the same as the bid opening date and time; however a delay up to 30 minutes in the bid closing time and that of the bid opening is acceptable. 

All bids received must be signed by the receiver. A Tender Receipt Book should be held at reception (or in the receiving location) in which signatures are recorded. A copy of the receipt should be given to the deliverer with a duplicate remaining in the book.

Once received, the date and time should be written on the outside of the envelope. Each bid should also be numbered sequentially based on the order in which they have been received. All bids should then be placed in a secure ‘Tender Box/Safe’. Any samples received should be placed in a pre-agreed secure place with a person appointed by the Executive Director given sole access.

Samples should be clearly marked with the number corresponding to the number of that particular bid.

Once the tender date and time arrives, the tender box should be closed and any bids delivered after this time should not be accepted. If however bids are delivered by mail or by courier, these should be entered into the receipt book with the date and time of receipt, and sent back to the tenderer with a note stating that the bid has been disqualified as it was revived during or after the tender opening session.  A copy of this letter should also be placed in the tender file. Bids which are submitted in unsealed envelopes must also be disqualified.

Under no circumstances should an offer be opened, reviewed or examined, nor should it be defaced in any way, prior to the official opening session.

5. Tender Opening Session

Tender bidders should be invited to attend the tender opening session. During the tender opening session, all tender bids are removed from the ‘secure tender box/safe’. Any tenders received after the deadline but before the tender opening session can be accepted into the next stage of tender evaluation. The date that each bid was received should be announced during the opening session and any late bids declared as ineligible. Suppliers who provided bids after the deadline/tender opening session should be sent a letter on LNGO headed paper explaining their exclusion from the process and the reason(s) for this exclusion.  Tenders received in unsealed envelopes should be treated in the same way.

As a bare minimum the following information may be loudly announced in the tender opening session;

-    Bidder’s Company / organisation name
-    Quoted rates
-    Delivery time
-    Bid security attached or not

The above information should be shown over a multimedia (if possible) or on a white board. One all the bids have been announced a print out of the quote evaluation sheet (Appendix 3) with the information mentioned above. Also take the signatures of all the bidders present on the occasion on an attendance sheet. A copy of the quote evaluation sheet should also be given to all the bidders present on the occasion. 

6. Tender Evaluation

The purpose of evaluation and comparison of offers is to determine which vendor has the lowest price for acceptable specifications and conditions of supply. In determining whether an offer is acceptable, non-price factors are also taken into account such as delivery time/terms, payment terms and technical compliance to the required specification.

The tender evaluation committee must start from the bidder who has quoted the lowest price and gradually work their way up. The best way to accomplish this is to evaluate the 3 lowest bids in the first lot. The committee should check the samples, credentials, references, previous experience, and financial strength of the bidders and then come up with a written evaluation report. Should the committee be unable to find a suitable bidder, they should move on to the next lot of 3 best bids based on their quoted price. When rejecting any bid, the reasons must be documented in the evaluation report. 

Once the committee has reached to conclusion, it should endeavour to make the physical verification of the existence and capacity of the bidder. The committee should visit the premises / office of the bidder and evaluate the bidder using the Supplier Assessment Sheet (See Appendix 17). 

The committee while making the recommendation must keep in mind that only fully technically compliant bids are to be considered. For example if an iron buckets of 20 litres capacity and weight of 2 kgs was required and advertised then only bids which are compliant with this requirement are to be considered and at no point can the committee decide to change the specifications of commodities required and advertised and make the decision based on price alone.

All information pertaining to offers must be treated as highly confidential and must not under any circumstances be disclosed to other bidders or to any persons outside of the tender evaluation committee. The evaluation committee recommends rather than approves the process and the evaluation report must therefore be approved by the person who gave final approval for the Supplies Request, before progressing to contract stage.

Clarification of information in tender bids

If clarification is required in relation to any of the bids received, this can be sought in writing from the tenderer. All correspondence either from or to LNGO in this regard should be kept in the tender file. Tenderers should be allowed 5 days to respond to any request for clarification and responses not received within this timeframe should be disqualified from the process. The committee may however deem that an extension to this period be appropriate in certain circumstances however the same time period must be allowed to all bidders. No one tender committee member should at any point make direct contact with a tenderer. All contact should be agreed by the tender evaluation committee, made in writing and copies kept in the tender file.

7. Finalise Tender Process

Once the tender winner has been selected through the evaluation process as outlined above, all participants in the tender should be advised as to whether their bid has been either successful or unsuccessful.

The successful tenderer should be awarded the contract as per the sample draft supplies contract provided in appendix 05. The relevant information to the tender such as supply/service specifications and prices should be included in the contract before signing. Three copies of the contract should be printed. The tenderer receives one signed copy; the LNGO Finance department should receive a further copy so that the payment schedule outlined can be adhered to and the LNGO Logistics department should receive the final copy, to be filed in the tender file.

All unsuccessful tenderers should receive a letter thanking them for their participation in the tender process and confirming that they have been unsuccessful on this occasion (See Appendix
15). In addition, all samples should at this stage of the process be returned to the unsuccessful bidders. The sample provided by the successful bidder can later be used to ensure that materials provided during the course of the contract comply with materials offered.

Post Tender Notice

For all international tenders, once a tender has been awarded to a supplier or service provider, the successful company will be listed on the website as the tender winner.  It is important to acknowledge the donor in the tender notice.

Post Tender Review

A post tender review should be carried out by the tender evaluation committee once the process is completed. The purpose of such an action is to provide learning for any further tenders which may take place. Each member of the committee should be asked to provide their thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of the process and offer any suggested recommendations for future tenders. Lessons learned should be documented, held centrally by the Logistics Department and filed accordingly.

Tender Files

All documentation in relation to the tender process should be filed together. The following list of documents should form the basis of the file for the tender process;

•    Supplies Request
•    Derogation / Waiver request if applicable
•    Tender Advertisement and Proof of Display
•    Minutes of Preparation Meeting
•    Declarations of Impartiality and Confidentiality
•    Invitation to Tender Letter and Tender Dossier
•    All Tender Bids
•    Tender Opening Report
•    Copies of any Direct Contact made with Suppliers by the Evaluation Committee
•    Clarification received from tenderers
•    Final Evaluation Report
•    Copies of Letters to Unsuccessful Tenderers
•    Contract
•    Goods Received Note
•    Invoice
•    Payment Request Form

Additional Requirements

If after the completion of a tender process, an additional requirement for supplies or services identical to those previously tendered for is identified, a repeat order could be given on the same terms and conditions as agreed in the original contract; however it must be kept in mind that the value of the re-peat orders should not exceed 15% of the original order. Donor guidelines must however be respected in this regard. See Appendix 16 – Tender Guidelines and Procedures Checklist