May 17, 2020

Top Tendering Tips

Supply Chain Digital
Procurement Tips
Top Tendering Tips
Freddie Pierce
5 min
Nick Mercurio and Jacob Donnelly of ThomasNet break down the Top 5 Tendering Tips to winning bids in today’s purchasing world
Written by Nick Mercurio and Jacob Donnelly of For many companies, doing business in the public sector is not simply a choice, but a nece...

Written by Nick Mercurio and Jacob Donnelly of

For many companies, doing business in the public sector is not simply a choice, but a necessity. Of course, like anything else, working in the public sector comes with its own inherent challenges. Chief among them is the process of bidding on contracts.

For those new to the concept, bidding takes place when an agency puts out a contract detailing a job it needs done – such as building an addition to its office by the coming summer – and other companies submit a bid detailing how much money they can complete the project for. The company with the lowest bid wins. Simple as that.

While there are clear differences, plenty of helpful comparisons can be made between bidding and applying for a job. With this in mind, let's get to some tips for bidding.

1 – Research!

If you had a marketing degree, would you apply for a job as a computer programmer? Sure, you could buy every book on computer programming and try to get yourself up to speed, but at the end of the day it's not your skill set and the people you'll be up against will probably have more experience.

Likewise, don't bid on a contract that requires proficiency beyond your company's skill set. If your company does renovations, bidding on a contract to build from scratch probably isn't in your best interest. Although you could probably reconfigure your resources to handle the job, it would be a lot of labor on your part before even beginning the actual contract work, and the companies you're up against can probably do the job better and quicker.

2 – Can you DO what you SAY you can do?

Let's stick with our marketing professional. Now that you've decided to apply for marketing jobs and forgo the computer programming positions, can you do the job you're applying for? For example, let's say that you've only had experience doing internet marketing for a local business. You could stretch your credentials a bit on paper and apply for a position heading up an international marketing campaign, but what are you going to say if the employer calls you in for an interview? What if you somehow manage to land the job? If you can't do the work, all you've done is waste that company's time and your own, tarnishing your reputation in the process.


Put simply: if you can't do the job, don't pretend you can.

3 – Consider the indirect benefits.

We all received the same advice when we first started applying for jobs: It doesn't matter if you don't like the job, just get your foot in the door. If you want to work as a big-time editor, don't hold out for that prestigious assistant editor position. Get a job in the mailroom and work your way up from there.

The same thing is true for bidding on contracts. Maybe there isn’t a lot of profit to be had on a particular job, but if it will build your reputation for the kind of work you want to be doing, it may be worth your while. For instance, if your goal is to work on big contracts for the Department of Defense, a small government contract isn't a bad place to start.

Taking a smaller contract, even if the profit isn’t much, can be a great stepping stone for future, bigger projects.

4 – What's it worth to you?

Put yourself once again in the shoes of our job-seeking marketing professional. How much money are you looking to make? What's your ideal amount? How about your minimum?

All of that depends on the job, of course. For one of the world's top marketing agencies, it might be a worthwhile investment to take a lower paying job, the idea being that the career opportunity makes up for the slimmer pay. That isn’t always the case, however.

When putting together a bid, the first step is to calculate your costs. Obviously, your bid will be higher than the estimate costs because you want to make some profit. The question then becomes how much. For that foot-in-the-door government job, maybe you submit a bid with a 5 percent profit. But for a more laborious job that's really going to tax your patience and the patience of your workers, the bid might have a 20 percent profit tacked on, or even a 50 percent profit.


One thing to be careful of is not to sell yourself short – you don't want to be the lowest bidder by an inordinate amount. As in the case of the job application, you do your research. When the recruiter asks how much you're looking to make for a job you've learned generally pays $50,000, you don't want to say you're looking to make $25,000-$30,000.

While bidding too high will cause you to lose the contract, bidding too low could mean your company loses out on potential profits.

5 – Follow the guidelines!

Did you submit your bid after the deadline? You're out. Did you forget to hand in all the forms? Too bad.

When it comes to guidelines for a bid, there is zero wiggle room. Sorry to all you rebellious bidders, but these rules are not meant to be broken. You wouldn't send in a job application without your résumé, so don't submit a bid without all of the necessary forms. And because it bears repeating – don't miss the deadline.

That's it. Now you're ready to start bidding on contracts (or launch your career in marketing)!

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Jun 16, 2021

EU and US agree end to Airbus-Boeing supply chain tariffs

3 min
Supply chains embroiled in Airbus-Boeing dispute will no longer be impacted by $11.5bn tariffs imposed on food and beverage, aircraft and tobacco

The EU and US have agreed to resolve a 17-year dispute over aircraft subsidies, suspending tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods that have plagued procurement leaders on both sides of the Atlantic. 

Under an agreement reached by European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Tuesday, the tariffs will be halted for a period of at least five years. 

It will bring an end to punitive and disruptive levies on supply chains that have little to do with the argument, which became embroiled in the trade battle. Businesses on both sides of the dispute have been hit with more than $3.3bn in duties since they were first imposed by the US in October 2019, according the EC. 

The US imposed charges on goods upto $7.5bn in response to a World Trade Organisation ruling that judged the EU’s support of Airbus, its biggest aircraft manufacturer, unlawful. A year later in November 2020, the EU hit back. The WTO found the US had violated trade rules in its favourable treatment of Boeing, and was hit with EU duties worth $4bn. 

In all the tariffs affected $11.5bn worth of goods, including French cheese, Scotch whisky, aircraft and machinery in Europe, and sugarcane products, handbags and tobacco in America. Procurement leaders on both sides of the fence were forced to wrestle with tariffs of 15% on aircraft and components, and 25% on non-aircraft related products. 

Boeing-Airbus dispute by the numbers  

  • The dispute began in 2004
  • Tariffs suspended for 5 years 
  • $11.5bn worth of goods affected by tariffs
  • $3.3bn in duties paid by businesses to date 
  • 15% levy on aircraft and 25% on non-aircraft goods suspended

Both sides welcome end to tariffs 

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen branded the truce a “major step” in ending what is the longest running dispute in WTO history. It began in 2004.

“I am happy to see that after intensive work between the European Commission and the US administration, our transatlantic partnership is on its way to reaching cruising speed. This shows the new spirit of cooperation between the EU and the US and that we can solve the other issues to our mutual benefit,” she added.

Both aircraft manufacturers have welcomed the news. Airbus said in a statement that it will hopefully bring to an end the “lose-lose tariffs” that are affecting industries already facing “many challenges”. Boeing added that it will “fully support the U.S. Government’s efforts to ensure that the principles in this understanding are respected”. 

The US aerospace firm added: "The understanding reached today commits the EU to addressing launch aid, and leaves in place the necessary rules to ensure that the EU and United States live up to that commitment, without requiring further WTO action."

This week’s decision expands upon a short-term tariff truce announced in March this year. The EC says it will work closely with the US to try and further resolve the dispute, establishing a Working Group on Large Civil Aircraft led by each side’s trade minister.

Airbus last month signalled to suppliers that post-pandemic recovery was on the horizon, telling them to scale up to meet a return to pre-COVID manufacturing levels. “The aviation sector is beginning to recover from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury, adding that suppliers should prepare for a period of intensive production “when market conditions call for it.”

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