Business Development

Answering Contract Management Questions

By Hudson Procurement Group
June 2020

What is Contract Management?

During the Procurement process, you will often have to answer quality questions that concern contract management. Put simply, contract management encompasses the following key elements:

Preparation.
Staff management.
Communication.
Contract reviews.
Business continuity.

What does this have to do with procurement?

It is common practice for buyers to include questions concerning contract management at both SQ/PQQ and ITT stage. In these questions, the buyer is trying to ascertain how you will approach contract management and, most importantly, how this will add value for them. Depending on the nature of the work you are tendering for, you will have to tailor your responses on contract management to the nature of the service. For instance, contract management on a building site will entail a greater emphasis on Health and Safety than the contract management of a web development service.

In order to write a strong contract management response, focus on the following areas and break your answer down to cover off as many of the subsections as possible:

Preparation

Implementation and Mobilisation. You should be able to demonstrate in your contract management response that you have an implementation and mobilisation plan in place that can be applied to the contract. Within that try to demonstrate that you have place timebound milestones and achievable goals that will ensure the contract is managed smoothly from the outset. Examples of project planning timetables, or a sample Gantt chart (a chart that illustrates a project schedule), will help to show the buyer your level of preparedness.

Risk Assessments/Site Surveys. If the tender you are applying for will require ‘on-site delivery’ then you must be able to demonstrate your approach to risk assessments and site surveys. The buyer will be looking for evidence that you are meticulous and compliant with industry-specific regulations/legislation; be sure to emphatically state any accreditations you hold (such as Occupational H&S Management ISO 45001) which evidence your experience in this regard.

Staff Management

If the contract will necessitate the hiring of staff, then detail how you will do this. Do you have ongoing recruitment drives? Do you use a third-party agency? What are your methods for ensuring that the staff you recruit have the right to work and are suitably qualified/experienced for the work at hand?

Some contracts include TUPE (Transfer Under Protection of Employment), if this is the case, demonstrate in your contract management response any experience you have in facilitating this. Will you use a legal consultant to ensure the process is done correctly? If so, name them and their experience. The more specificity you can bring to any response, the higher the mark you will receive. Telling the buyer you will do something is only half the battle, you must show evidence of how you will do it, too.

Staff Structure/Organogram. If the question allows attachments or has a generous word limit, then attaching/inserting an organogram is a useful way to demonstrate to the buyer your staffing structure in an easily digestible way. A breakdown of your staffing structure will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your staffing resource capabilities to the buyer.

Training and Development. As part of your approach to contract management, you must be able to demonstrate how you will train and develop staff throughout the duration of the contract. This shows the buyer your competence and will reassure them that the staff you provide are going to be able to do carry out the services to the best of their ability and are ready and capable of delivering said services.

Communication

Relationship Management. How will you manage your relationship with the client? Communicating with the client is a big part of the contract management process and buyers will be looking for evidence that you have well-developed methodologies and processes in place to facilitate this. This is a good place to talk about dedicated contact points and reactive methods of working for ad-hoc arrangements.

Complaints Management. It can be tempting to avoid the topic of complaints as you only want to paint your company in the best possible way to the buyer. However, acknowledging that complaints do happen and that you have appropriate processes in place to handle this will strengthen your tender significantly.

Contract Reviews

As a minimum, clients will expect ongoing reports on contract progress and all the facets which fall within it. Remember to continuously relate your points back to contract management; how will you manage the reporting process? What value will this bring to the client?

Continuous Improvement. Buyers want to see evidence that, if awarded the contract, you will not be complacent. Describing the ways in which you will ensure a culture of continuous improvement will tell the client a lot about your contract management style. Remember, they are looking for a provider who will not just meet the minimum requirements of the contract, but will offer added value across the board.

Business Continuity.

Contingency Planning. This is an incredibly important part of contract management. The buyer needs to be certain that you have sufficient processes in place to prevent disruptions to service delivery, whether those disruptions be adverse weather conditions, staffing shortages or problems with the site. Have a meticulous Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place which you can attach, refer to or draw directly from when answering a contract management question.

Managing Change. Demonstrate to the buyer that your company is capable of adapting to changes in the contract requirements by including details about how you will do this. If possible, describe how you have adapted to changing contract needs for other clients.

Conclusion

As shown, contract management covers a lot of different elements. Depending on the constraints of the tender itself (e.g. word limits) you may not be able to cover off all of the contract management points. However, read through the entirety of the quality questions carefully and see if any of these points are covered in other questions (for instance, there may be a whole question dedicated to Recruitment or Business Continuity).

Ultimately, your responses to contract management questions must showcase your level of preparedness, your attention to detail and your ability to meet all contractual requirements. A strong contract management response will not just tell the buyer what you will do, but how and why this adds value to the tender.

Need Further Assistance?

Remember, you can always visit Tender VLE for free, video-led masterclasses surrounding various aspects of tendering and procurement. Alternatively, contact our Bid Writing Consultants for a free phone consultation.

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