Receiving healthcare contracts is an important stepping stone for suppliers seeking to impact the healthcare industry. However, procurement can become complicated for many suppliers to navigate solo. Suppliers struggle to get the contracts they’re hoping for without understanding how to approach procurement in the healthcare industry.
Understanding the ins and outs of public sector procurement can prepare suppliers to navigate the procurement process for the first time. This article will answer all of your questions about procurement in the NHS and healthcare sector to guarantee you’re ready to succeed in this highly regulated sector. Let’s get started!
Procurement Processes, Explained
There are critical steps to a successful procurement process for suppliers seeking healthcare or NHS contracts. Procurement encompasses numerous processes–tender, evaluation, and awarding contracts for selected suppliers. Below is a breakdown of these three processes you’ll need to know before embarking on this journey.
Tendering is essential in the healthcare procurement process–but what is a tender? Tenders are contract opportunities offered in public sector procurement, where organisations create opportunities to receive goods, work, services, and utilities.
When a public sector organisation wants to purchase any of these assets, they publish a contract notice, also known as a tender notice. Government tenders are standard across the UK, with organisations like councils, emergency services, central and local government departments, and the NHS using the tendering process.
After publishing a tender notice, buyers wait to receive a completed pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) to receive additional information used during the selection process. Once the buyer receives a PQQ, they can evaluate different suppliers and their offerings. The PQQ is scored against specific weighted scoring criteria to determine which suppliers will receive an invitation to tender (ITT).
Evaluation criteria differ depending on the buyer, and every buyer will evaluate a supplier’s qualifications and responses differently. Given the importance of the healthcare sector, evaluation criteria might be more complicated and thorough to guarantee that all of a supplier’s offerings are safe for patient use. A careful evaluation is integral to an ethical healthcare contract.
Among the criteria that buyers might consider when looking over your PQQ and offerings include the following:
- Lowest price for quality
- The mean value of the offerings
- The most economically advantageous tender (MEAT)
- Prior experience
- Relevance to the current healthcare market
- Current technical support
- Compliance with industry standards
Awarding of Contracts
Following a thorough evaluation, buyers will select suppliers to award healthcare contracts. If selected, you will receive an award notice, which includes the following information:
- The date that the contract was awarded
- The award criteria
- The number of offers received from bidders
- The name and address of the selected tenderer or tenderers
- The total value of the contract
Suppliers can win various types of contracts with the NHS and within the healthcare sector. Among the contract types available to consider in the future include the following with the NHS:
- Ambulance and emergency services equipment contracts
- Dermatology equipment contracts
- Dentistry equipment contracts
- Medical equipment and uniforms
- Tools for direct patient care
- Pharmaceuticals and medicine
- Patient record systems
- Integrated care records
What Challenges Do Suppliers Face During Procurement?
You will likely face a few obstacles and difficulties as a supplier navigating procurement. Preparing for these challenges ensures you can pick yourself up and get on the right track to winning a contract. Here are some of the primary challenges suppliers face during the procurement process.
Compliance With Stringent Regulations
One of the more complicated aspects of public sector procurement is the stringent regulations suppliers must adhere to remain compliant. Suppliers must comply with regulations outlined in the Public Contract Regulations 2015 Act while complying with regulations specified by individual buyers, making it easy to lose track of the correct rules and policies to follow.
The Need to Demonstrate Value for Money
Government tenders focus on getting the best value for money with suppliers, which can present a challenge for many suppliers required to demonstrate their value for money. Public Contract Regulations 2015 promotes competition to ensure the best value for money, but this competition makes it harder for many suppliers to secure contracts.
A positive value for money combines high-quality and effective products for the lowest outlay during the product or service’s period of use. Therefore, suppliers must have a convincing and compelling argument for why their products are preferable to competitors.
Tips to Win Contracts
Winning healthcare contracts is far from easy without proper knowledge. However, even expert suppliers can struggle to win contracts because of how competitive the tendering process can become. To guarantee you’re as prepared as possible, here are some tips to win healthcare and NHS contracts.
- Develop relationships with stakeholders, including commissioners and procurement managers. You can build the foundation for a future partnership by attending conferences and networking events to build long-lasting industry connections.
- Tailor your proposal to different buyers instead of using the same proposal every time you bid on a tender. Ensure that all your proposals meet a buyer’s specific criteria and detail how your product or service can meet these needs.
- Know and demonstrate the value of your product or service. Explain to buyers why your company is unique and how your solution will offer better value than your competitors. Highlight details, including lower costs, higher quality, and better ultimate outcomes.
- Prove your success rather than just claiming to be successful. Give buyers evidence of your success with similar contracts, or provide performance metrics to show that your product is profitable.
- Stay transparent with buyers at all stages of the procurement process. Clearly explain your pricing, delivery timelines, and potential issues that could arise during the contract delivery process. By staying honest, you can build trust with buyers and show your commitment to an open and productive partnership.
Prepare for Procurement With Supply2Gov
Winning healthcare contracts is a complicated process that can be simplified with solutions like Supply2Gov. Supply2Gov is a service dedicated to helping organisations of all sizes find and win contracts for various industries, from healthcare to construction tenders and everything in between.
With Supply2Gov, you can navigate the procurement process confidently and significantly boost your chance of securing a contract and making a profit. Register for free on Supply2Gov today to find out how you can find and win your next contract.