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Bid timesheets exceeding entire project budgets up to 10X: audit

August 8, 2021

Burning the midnight oil


*  names have been changed

A public company audit has revealed that up to 10 percent its company’s resources is being diverted from business as usual as it scrambles ”all hands on deck” to respond to multi-million dollar bids in as little as 24 days.

Barbara* from accounts described the “unacceptable” levels of bidding by company staffers had led to poor bid ROI, with the cost of the bid team’s time responding to each opportunity exceeding the project budget sometimes upwards of ‘’10 times’’, leaving no profit on the table for company bonuses.

“I’ve seen the requirements that those poor bid team members have to respond to and it’s an artform to decipher four batches of 30 page documents and respond to 10 paragraph questions with 100 bullet points in a 200 word response that addresses part a, b and c. That takes time,” she said.

“Cluster of high cortisol levels detected”

Asked how long her bid teams spend per bid Barbara from accounts estimated it was ”give or take 200 hours” per person for the core team, and about ”give or take 10 hours” for subject matter experts over and above their day jobs.

“Bidding is about time and money, but it is also a game of steely strategy and ultra endurance. Like any elite sport, we have no choice but to invest in building a high performance team to manage the stress-induced cortisol levels that are beginning to show”.

Barbara forecasts that with increasing competition in her sector her company will need to look for new and more novel ways to work smarter to get ahead, and outwit procurement’s dogged determination to send them into foetal position.

“We’re thinking of introducing flexible hours like night shift so we can double down on our productivity, and linguistics has made a resurgence in core skills so we have translators on hand to break those procurement documents down into plain English. We’ve developed a baton relay system,” she said.

“So according to my calculator if the average bid is costing companies up to 1,000 hours in labor plus time forgone on other opportunities, plus equipment and any other ancillary costs we shouldn’t be sharpening our pencils – or getting out of bed – to respond to an RFT, RFI, ITT, RFQ, EOI or any other RFx for less than a million dollars.”

“Did I just give our pricing strategy away? Can you take that off record”‘?

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