3 Tips to Win PCS Tenders

25th August 2021

What is PCS-Tenders?

If you’re tendering for contracts in Scotland, you may have come across PCS-Tenders and wondered what it is. There’s a whole lot of confusing procurement terminology to wrap your head around if you’re new to tendering. There’s a never-ending stream of acronyms, so keeping track of what’s what can be hard.

Luckily for you, we’re here to help. This blog will explain everything there is to know about PCS-Tenders, what they are, and how to win.

So, what exactly is PCS-Tenders?

PCS stands for Public Contracts Scotland. PCS-Tenders is the national eTendering system centrally funded by the Scottish Government. The system is used by both buyers and suppliers to manage their tender exercises online.

What’s the benefit of the PCS-Tenders system?

One of the main advantages of the eTendering system is that there are standard SPD (Single Procurement Document) templates used. Buyers can use standardised ITT (invitation to tender) templates that enable buyers to easily create consistent tender documentation.

What can you do as a supplier?

Once you have registered in the system as a supplier, you will be sent a password via email. You will then be able to gain secure access to the site. You’ll then be able to express interest in any advertised PCS tenders that take your fancy.

You’re able to complete your supplier profile and apply for PCS tenders. If a buyer is using the standard questions, your responses will be automatically completed with the responses you have provided.

Why is this eTendering system better?

Many suppliers, and particularly SMEs, communicated to the Scottish government that the process of bidding was confusing. Particularly for public sector contracts, being time-consuming, expensive, and unnecessarily complicated.

In response to this, the Scottish government decided to standardise and simplify the tendering process for suppliers.

How can the PCS-Tenders system help SMEs?

PCS-Tenders has an inbuilt standard PQQ (pre-qualification questionnaire). It’s a simple system made up of mostly yes/no tick-boxes. Once you’ve completed it, you don’t have to do it again, streamlining the process and saving you time. It includes things like:

3 tips to win your next PCS tenders

So, now you know what PCS tenders are and how they can benefit you as an SME supplier. Bidding for Scottish government public sector contracts can have its advantages. Securing contracts can help your business grow and tendering should be seen as a viable way to grow your business.

Here are our three tips to help you see success when writing your response for PCS tenders.

  1. Promote social value

The Scottish government are looking for bids that promote sustainability, community benefits and working with and supporting small suppliers. Buyers will be looking to how you will do this while delivering the contract at hand. Here are some examples of the type of things you could include in this aspect of your PCS tenders:

  • Job creation
  • Work experience opportunities
  • Money going back into the local economy
  • Supporting COVID-19 recovery
  • Reducing carbon emissions
  • Tackling climate change
  • Encouraging sustainability
  • Reducing waste.

Remember that what you include in a bid is contractually binding. Therefore, you should be making promises that you can actually keep. If this is what gives you an edge over your competitors and you don’t deliver, buyer’s will not be happy. You can easily avoid this by making reasonable and realistic promises surrounding social value that you can keep.

  1. Keep to the formatting requirements

Buyers are very pernickety when it comes to the formatting of their bids. If you blatantly ignore instructions, it will reflect poorly on you and your business. Make sure before you submit that the font and font size is what is stated in the specification.

Moreover, you should stick to the word/character counts. It’s worth noting that most responses on PCS Tenders have a character limit of 2,000 for responses. This equates to roughly 350 words. If a buyer is wanting a longer response, they will include an additional text box.

So, it’s best if you’re writing your response in Word, for example, to check your character count with spaces. You don’t want to be writing a detailed 1000-word response to then have to cut it down.

  1. Address what’s in the specification

One of the reasons businesses lose out on a bid is that they don’t address what buyers are asking for. Some only skim the specification. However, you should take the time to read every aspect of it (even if it’s 80-pages). This seems counter-intuitive, as it will detail exactly what the buyer is looking for.

It’s not uncommon for businesses to go off on a tangent about why they are the best company. Although you should be persuasive in your response, stay focused. This is of course unless the question is specifying you to state this. It can result in a lot of wasted words. If you are saying why, back it up with hard evidence, statistics, and facts.

Break the question down and address each point. Using subheadings and bullet points can help ensure you’re covering all bases. For PCS tenders, buyers are wanting you to demonstrate in your response that you:

  • Understand what they’re asking for
  • Have a qualified and professional team to deliver the contract
  • Hold evidence of a good track record in delivering similar goods/services to a similar standard.

Following these three tips can really help strengthen your bid response. They may sound simple, but you would be surprised at how often businesses ignore this advice. If you follow these, you will be well on your way to securing yourself your next Scottish government business contract.

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what PCS tenders are, why they’re used and some of the benefits. If you’re a Scottish business, the PCS-Tenders system can simplify the procurement process when bidding for public sector contracts.

However, tender writing isn’t for everyone. This shouldn’t mean you miss out on business growth opportunities or securing government contracts up for bid. If you’re struggling with your application – we can help.

Need assistance when writing your next PCS tenders?

Although you’re a bit more familiar with what’s required, you might still be looking for some bid writing support. Writing isn’t everyone’s strong suit and that’s ok. Outsourcing a bid you’ve found to bid writing specialists can help you secure that next contract.

Here at Hudson Succeed, we pride ourselves on being bid writing experts. We hold an 87% success rate and have over 60 years of collective bid writing experience. We offer four levels of bid writing support to suit every business need. You may not need the whole bid written for you; you may simply need it proofread before you submit. We can help with that. Our services include:

Tender Writing

Once you’ve found the perfect bid for your business, send it our way. Our Bid Writers can take care of the whole thing for you they’ll even submit it on your behalf. They’ll let you know what they need from you, providing you with a full Tender Writing breakdown.

Tender Ready

Our Tender Ready 4-week programme is perfect for businesses that have never tendered before. A Bid Writer will work with you to ensure you have everything in place to tender successfully. They can also help you better understand the tendering process. Tender Ready offers your business:

  • A 12-month subscription to one Hudson Discover.
  • Access to Global Bid Directors and Senior Bidding Professionals.
  • An Organisation-wide Bid library, including 3 case studies, 5 CVs and policies.
  • Additional flexible benefits.

Tender Improvement

If you’ve been tendering but aren’t seeing success from your current efforts, our Tender Improvement package can help. Our Bid Team will assess your previous responses and tender documents. They will work with you to improve for future submissions. This package includes a 12-month subscription to a Hudson Discover portal and additional tendering development services.

Tender Mentor

If you’ve written your own tender response and need it double-checked for errors, Tender Mentor can help. A Bid Writer will proofread your work for any inconsistencies, grammar or spelling mistakes. They will also ensure it’s in line with the specification before you submit.

Discover Elite

Upgrading to Discover Elite can help optimise your tendering efforts – even when you’re busy. Our two new time-saving tools can improve your competitor awareness and success rate when bidding for a contract.

The Ultimate Time Saver package offers your business:

  • A maximum of five tender breakdowns per month.
  • An annual subscription to a maximum of two Hudson Discover sector-specific portals. This option can help businesses that overlap two industries such as Healthcare and Technology, for example.
  • Pre-market and award engagement notices monitored on your behalf.
  • Buyer portal management, including registration, password management, downloading documents and assessing viability based on your bid or no-bid strategy.
  • Weekly phone calls with your dedicated Account Manager to discuss viable tendering opportunities.

The Become a Pre-Bid Master package also includes:

  • All of the above.
  • Up to seven tender breakdowns per month.
  • Bid Strategy delivered by a Senior Bid Manager with a minimum of 5 years of experience. It will also be managed by our Global Bid Director.

Contact us to find out how we can help your business grow.

Find more helpful tips and advice in our blogs. We cover topics including:

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