Attention To Detail

This is a tough one all round,  given that we all miss important details from time to time and no doubt regret some of those misses. However, I just wanted to let you see some of the bloopers we see as part of the tender submissions from a whole variety of bidders. Naturally I am not going to give away any names of specific bidders or schools as that would be totally unfair, but you may recognise some of these and hopefully they will give you a bit of a smirk – even if that is down to recognising you have done that yourself…….

Morale or Morals?

When dealing with contracts that involve people, one of the key elements is to ensure that you have a motivated and engaged team – that way you get the high level of service you are really looking for. In the bids we receive, you would be amazed at how many times companies have taken over a contract where “the team were suffering from low morals” or slight variations on that wording. I am sure that there might be some teams in the world where their morals could be called into question, but not with the regularity we see coming through.

An error that spellcheck will never find because it is a correct word, but the meaning is definitely not what you meant!

What is one of those?

One particular company insisted that they conduct a “pregnancy risk assessment” which as it turned out is definitely not a review of potential fertility of the employees. Might have been useful to explain what they meant in the bid rather than leave it to my imagination.

Can you check who you are?

On one bid the submission stated “we see this investment replacing the service equipment that the current caterer will remove”. All sounds logical until you find out that this was written by the current caterer! So you are going to remove equipment in order to replace it?

Which consultant company are you bidding with?

I’m not about to start naming any of our competition, but that doesn’t seem to stop a number of our bidders repeatedly referencing them in bids being conducted through Minerva. I accept that this isn’t a blooper as such, but it doesn’t do much for our corporate ego ☹……

Be careful what you put in the specification

On a cleaning tender, bidders were requested to submit details from other reference sites to show what they have done elsewhere. One particular comment caught my eye “Individual clients have sought our services to clean the dormitories / communal areas of their children”. The mind boggles as to what a communal area might be and I certainly wouldn’t want it cleaning by a contractor.

Nothing wrong with being proud

Some people are justifiably proud of their products and services and there is nothing wrong with getting your point across about how good your product/service is. However to the bidder who managed to cram the phrase “award winning” 6 times into just one answer……… you just might be getting a bit over the top. Could I recommend a thesaurus?

Might want to think about the wording

The bids we receive are obviously there to promote the tendering company and try to place them in the best possible light for shortlisting. All good and positive stuff. However, sometimes a little more care over checking the language might be time well spent

“Every day, her team produces amazing meals, with a sprinkling of magic”

“All of our contract managers are organic”

“The success of our company and the success of our people are inexplicably linked”

The company that will handle TUPE with “Tack and diplomacy”

“Fresh herbs will be available to personalise to the customers pallet” – well you could get a lot of herbs onto a pallet that’s for sure

Copy & Paste Errors

Understandably, bidders will copy/paste details from previous bids as the questions can be very similar, so to an extent there will be some templated answers where all they need to do is adjust the client name or some other small details. However the number of times we receive a reply like those below is quite staggering

“Managing the cleaning at school name to guarantee best results”

“For our contract with school name…..”

“We are very excited to be tendering for the cleaning at school name”

And finally just the downright odd….

The latest cleaning product “more effective cleaning tea” – does that come with milk and sugar?

This is (sort of) reassuring “we do not serve dishes concocted from leftovers” – should I be pleased or worried they need to make that clear?

“No practices which could encourage vermin or pests will be adopted” – I was hoping for a few rat droppings in my dinner to be honest

“We will also recruit a number of cleaning operatives – commonly known as floaters” – now that means something completely different where I was brought up but not sure I will let them know.

“Our company relies on every individual to work as a team” – now that would be clever

Hopefully you have found something to make you smile / giggle / laugh along the way. I’m sure this isn’t the end of these and you never know there might be enough for volume 2 in a few months.


Steve Parker is Procurement Account Manager (Consultant) at Minerva Procurement Consultancy Services Limited. Find out more.

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