5 things to know to help you win NHS tenders

As the fifth largest employer in the world with over 1.5 million employees, the NHS is a giant source of public sector business opportunities. As an organisation with entities across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the NHS is in continual need of goods, works and services provided by suppliers from across the UK and further afield. Suppliers are required for projects in a wide range of industries, from construction and infrastructure to computing systems and technology, and the opportunities are limitless if you know how to find them.

If your organisation is looking to win business with the NHS, you will need to be aware of the NHS Long Term Plan. Published on 7th January 2019, the NHS Long Term Plan (formerly known as the 10-year plan) sets out the key ambitions for the service over the next decade, with a focus on how the service can meet the rising demands and maintain standards of care.

Supply2Gov can help your organisation win NHS tenders in your industry. In this blog, we focus on the factors organisations need to be aware of to increase their chances of winning NHS tenders.

Suppliers need to be efficient

With a population that is both growing and ageing, and with more people experiencing multiple health conditions, the demand for NHS services are more in demand now than ever. The NHS needs to provide greater care to an ever-growing and ever-changing population, while meeting budgetary and efficiency challenges. Procurement has a role in squaring this circle, with competition between a large pool of suppliers all of whom offer great quality goods, works and services at a competitive price leading to increased efficiency and value for money. With such a large and diverse market and the pressure to achieve value for money leading to buyers being increasingly open to innovation, there are always opportunities for new potential suppliers.

Both suppliers and buyers need to be more collaborative

A continual theme throughout the NHS Long Term Plan is the integration of care to meet the needs of the changing population. This means NHS organisations and local councils are increasingly going to be working together to form sustainable and transformative partnerships, in order to provide better and more joined-up care for patients. Joined-up care will help on with whole host of other issues, for example, using integrated systems to better understand data about local people’s health, which can then bring about change that can be tailored to individual needs. The same collaboration is required for suppliers looking to win NHS tenders. Your organisation will play be part of a wider NHS supply chain, therefore an ability to be adaptable and open to new ways of working is necessary.

In addition, as a smaller supplier with less experience in the marketplace than the ‘big players’, collaboration with other suppliers could open more contract opportunities to you, whether through joint bidding or through subcontracting in a large project. Networking and forging partnerships with other businesses in your sector and geographical area could help you win work with the NHS and wider public sector.

Collaboration is not only to help suppliers work together better – it’s for buyers across NHS organisations as well. Aggregated procurement helps buyers work together. Instead of every NHS organisation publishing a small contract with the same requirement – for example, all the hospitals in Glasgow need syringes – they will combine the need and publish one huge contract, quite often through a large agency such as Crown Commercial Service, NHS England or the Common Services Agency. Potential suppliers can then bid for certain segments of a large NHS contract, known as ‘lots’, instead of the full tender, or for a place on a framework agreement. All in all, this makes NHS tenders more accessible to smaller organisations, while providing value for money for buyers through reduced administrative costs and potential cost savings through bulk purchase. There is a great deal of potential winning business within the NHS, especially on framework agreements with hundreds of suppliers.

Suppliers need to look at innovative initiatives

Buyers within the NHS are always trying to save money, and there are many ways potential suppliers can help them achieve this through successful and innovative procurement. One of the easiest ways is to offer more than the bare bones goods, works or services that the tender requires. For example, if you want to bid to provide all the lighting within a hospital, offer free maintenance with the installation every month or every year. If you want to bid to provide all the uniforms hospital staff wear, include other clothes items for free with the price, or offer a bespoke laundry service for staff use. By offering buyers more than the basic requirement stated in the tender specification, you are offering better value for money, which could be a valuable incentive for buyers to pick you over other competitors as their supplier. As the NHS relies on tax-payers’ money and is constantly struggling to do more with less, value for money is a huge factor and talking point that potential suppliers need to address.

Suppliers need to actively search for NHS tenders

In order to increase your chances of winning NHS tenders, potential suppliers need to actively keep a look out for the right contract for them. Supply2Gov’s tender alerts tool allows you to receive NHS tender opportunities straight to your inbox, every day. The tender alerts can be based on the geographical location your organisation wants to grow business in, as well as the goods, works or services your business provides. This means that when you receive an email from Supply2Gov, you will know it is relevant to your organisation and can focus your efforts on writing your tender bid. If you don’t do your research or read the contract notice, you could miss out on immense opportunities in the healthcare sector.

Become part of the NHS supply chain

By using Supply2Gov’s tender alerts tool, we filter NHS tender opportunities based on your location and business interests and send the tender opportunities straight to your inbox, every day. Don’t miss the opportunity of winning NHS tenders.

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