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Top Tips for Winning Health Contracts

January 2022

Winning public sector contracts in the healthcare sector can be extremely lucrative for suppliers, but there will be plenty of competition to stay ahead of, and some potentially complex and time-consuming processes to run through to secure health contracts. With this in mind, here are some tips to help you rise above your competitors and win those more health contracts:

Early Engagement with Buyers

You don’t have to wait for a contract notice to be published to make yourself known to buyers. Whether it’s through marketing activities, networking or attendance at trade shows such as P4H, you can develop and build relationships with healthcare sector buyers before they start the tendering process. Doing so could lead to advance notice of contract opportunities and the possibility of influencing buyers before they develop a contract specification, as well as helping you identify which opportunities are worth bidding for and improving the quality of your response by enabling you to tailor it to the organisation’s needs and concerns.

Read the tender documentation carefully

This should of course be obvious, but countless contract bids fail when suppliers have belatedly realised they do not meet all the requirements for the job. After you have seen the initial published contract notice, you generally request more detailed documentation which is likely to include the specification, pricing schedule, and instructions about how the tender is to be completed, and it is up to you to make sure all the information you provide is correct and relevant to the job.

The contract notice will also detail insurance requirements, any requirements of minimum turnover and any memberships of trade or professional registers required. You should also read the evaluation methodology to understand how the tender will be scored.  This will normally be split between pricing and quality but these days is likely also to include social value and environmental considerations. Simply offering a cheaper quote than others will not be enough, as buyers will look for the most economically advantageous tender, meaning that quality and life-cycle costing will be considered alongside price.

Improve your green credentials

Every sector is increasingly looking to improve their sustainability and lower their carbon footprint, and healthcare is no exception. Health Secretary Sajid Javid recently stated that from 2030 the NHS will no longer purchase from suppliers that are not aligned with its net zero ambitions. NHS England has also stated that all NHS suppliers will need to publish a carbon reduction plan. In this context, improving your environmental credentials to align with these goals will make your business much more attractive to buyers.

Ensure your reputation is as clean as possible

For any number of reasons, the NHS and the healthcare sector in general are not going to buy from suppliers who have earned a poor reputation, be that through modern slavery, breaches of environmental issues or health and safety standards, bribery and many other issues ‒ and you have to prove this for your supply chain as well as your own business. Ensuring your business and supply chains meet all relevant standards and regulations will mean you won’t be booted out of the tendering process early on.

At Health Contracts International (HCI) our intelligence platform provides users with live healthcare tenders, actionable insights on emerging opportunities, buyer/supplier/industry award analysis and specialist industry news, enabling users to learn of contract notices as soon as they are published and see the requirements of each bid. Get started by downloading our latest report focusing on the new opportunities in 2022 and beyond in the UK and global healthcare marketplace.

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