The Bid Manager

The role of the Bid Manager requires someone with a wide-ranging set of skills and broad experience although both the expectations and background of a Bid Manager can vary. Reader, writer, psychologist, strategist, and presenter are all words that can be used to describe what is expected from a Bid Manager at times. This article sets out to try and describe this in a bit more detail but is not intended to be exhaustive.

In some industries, the Role of Bid Manager is often someone that is a process Bid Manager, but typically a construction Bid Manager will have a strong technical background as well and this may be from a design, operational, commercial, or engineering discipline.

A Bid Manager’s prime objective is to lead and manage the bid process (ranging from pre-qualification to final submission) and maximise the chances of winning the work by producing a persuasive and appealing offer.

A Bid Manager may also be responsible for engaging a design team for the bid or for ensuring that an allocated Design Manager does. The specific role of a Design Manager including during the bid/tender stage is covered by a separate article.

Depending on the size of the Contractor, the complexity of the opportunities being pursued and the Seniority, the Bid Manager may actually do some/all of the tasks as set out below or co-ordinate a bid team that will carry them out.

Read bid documents

This is really the first action for a Bid Manager for any bid. They need to be able to read potentially large amounts of information in a short space of time with a view understanding the following…

  • Scope of the project
  • Procurement route
  • Deliverables to be submitted
  • Key risks and opportunities
  • Proposed form of contract and any legal requirements
  • Client team decision-makers and influencers
  • Client drivers and priorities
  • Potential win themes / USP’s for the bid submission
  • Bid programme and submission date(s)
  • Information that is inadequate, incorrect or needs further clarification

Bid or not

Decide/advise/be part of the decision process on whether or not to proceed with the bid, based on if the opportunity aligns with the business plan and objectives, creates a realistic opportunity and does not pose unacceptable risks.

Deliverables

  • Establish what is expected with the bid submission
  • Allocate owners and contributors for each deliverable which may include
    • Quality questions on a range of topics (increasingly including sustainability and social value agendas)
    • Programme
    • Cost
    • Legal/Contract review
    • Design (review, design team appointment and/or obtaining design fees)
  • Share with the bid team in a format that can be monitored and managed

Bid Programme

Set out the bid programme identifying dates for any mid-bid client team meetings, internal bid team meetings, dates for drafts and final issue of deliverables etc

Other activities

  • Bid Launch: Present the bid to the bid team and potentially business leaders to assist in decision making
  • Bid/Tender Queries identified, communicated and managed
  • Bid/Tender Clarifications collated and prepared for inclusion within submission if appropriate
  • Establish/manage relationships (internal and external)
  • Bid Meetings to monitor progress, discuss strategy etc
  • Research to inform bid submission
  • Proofing reading/editing/writing  
  • Value Engineering
  • Compliance with corporate governance and processes
  • Bid settlement: Bid team presents to leaders, submission reviewed at a high level and often the final decision on financial elements of submission
  • Post tender query review, management and response
  • Handover of successful bids to the delivery team

A good Bid Manager

  • Good communicator (oral and written) and confident presenter
  • Able to work to and manage strict deadlines
  • Analytical, logical and at least in part be process-driven
  • Attentive to detail
  • Problem solver and lateral thinker at times
  • Commercial thinker

Conclusion

You can see that a construction Bid Manager will need to have a varied skillset and potentially wear a number of different hats during the bid process to deliver the best submission possible. The success of a bid will depend equally on the quality of the bid team and the leadership of the Bid Manager (as well as prevailing market conditions and the appetite of your competitors).

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