An introduction to the Kenya Tendering Process: Where do we go wrong?

The tendering process started gaining popularity as a business opportunity in 2014 during the Jubilee Government tenure. One of the party’s promise in the manifesto was to create a conducive atmosphere for the Kenyan youths to do business.

A law was passed in parliament that made it mandatory for 30% of government tenders to be allocated to women, youths and persons living with disability.

In addition, the private sector also followed suit by allocating part of their tenders to the special categories of people just as the government had done. However, not all youths have been able to take advantage of the system to enjoy the fruits of the ‘oily’ tendering industry.

But where do we go wrong? Probably you have applied for several tenders but none of them have been successful. In this article and other related articles, you will find in this blog, we will give you an insight on the tendering process, keys to writing a winning proposal as well as keys to have you bid sail through to the end.

First, the tendering process was introduced to encourage competition on the open market, promote innovative solutions as well as reduce risk to the procuring entity. A business owner or entrepreneur who understands the process already has a winning advantage over “newbies” in the industry.

Usually, the procuring entity who may be a government agency or a private organization, identify their needs for a product or service to be delivered during a specific time frame. The organization with then outline their requirements, identify the findings and present their priorities against their business needs.

A finance team from the entity will then declare their intentions to contract out a product or service by giving an Invitation To Tender (ITT).  Potential suppliers then review the ITT. Those who meet the requirements the purchase the Tender Documentation at a cost Kshs.1000- 5000 depending on type of product or service. For construction tenders, the cost may be higher.

After reviewing the Tender Documentation, suppliers prepare their proposals as referred to as the Response to Tender. The proposal has two sections i.e. financial and technical solution. An open session is then held by the procuring entity where potential suppliers are invited and any queries they have are answered at this point.

Suppliers must then submit their bids before the closing date. There is usually a tender box where suppliers can go and drop their proposals and this will not be opened until the closing date. Submit your bid on time. Bids made after the closing date are NOT considered.

A special committee from the procurement entity is now ready to open the tenders. At this stage, sifting takes place and proposals that do not meet the prerequisite qualification, information or expertise are eliminated.

The remaining proposals are the reviewed on merit and they are ranked accordingly. Once the process is completed, there are at least two suppliers who lead the pack to winning the tender.

The tender committee then reviews their technical and financial submissions to determine who will give them a value for their money. Having two qualified suppliers works as a caution so that incase one supplier fails to serve the tender, then the entity goes with the second most qualified supplier.

A recommendation is then made once the committee has a winner. The committee passes the winner’s document to the legal and financial teams to negotiate the deal. Once the deal is sealed, the contact is awarded officially and this is made publicly to increase transparency.

For newcomers and potential tender suppliers, that is the tendering process in Kenya. Prepare a winning proposal and make all necessary disclosures and you will be next tender supplier!

  • A research should be done on why most companies consider the financial proposals to the Technical proposal. I believe the Technical proposal is the major component of a tender process and therefore the tenderer should not be quick to give the lowest bidder the job. In the end its quality that matters, not the amount, because you can always negotiate with the highest bidder if their technical proposal is A game….. just pissed hahahaa. Nice article though.

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