As purchasers we often see Christmas as an ideal time to publish tenders.
Moving part of the category plan from your to-do list to the market and incumbent suppliers can be tempting, so you will be well prepared to demonstrate your savings opportunities with your stakeholders in the new year...
Rather like my blog this summer suggested however, before hitting the publish button think about how you would feel if you had to work over the Christmas period. That is exactly what you may be asking of potential suppliers.
Think about the quality of response. Are the bid writers really on form? Or just like millions of workers around the globe, will they be taking the foot off the pedal, fuzzy from the effects of Christmas drinks. Will they and their teams really be prepared to deliver a well-polished tender response?
Aside from the above, who really wants to work during Christmas? It encroaches on family time and in my view can impact the brand. I know my wife wouldn't be best pleased if I said "I have to work over Christmas otherwise we may lose a current customer". Would she feel warm towards the company you needed to submit a tender to, to have a chance of retaining the business? She’s more likely to tell her friends and family about how her husband's horrible client destroyed Christmas.
Who really wants to work with a company that insists existing and new suppliers prepare bids over Christmas or potentially lose the business? Where's the compassion? In reality, I doubt the bidder will even have the full team on hand to submit on time anyway.
It is best to ensure the market is warmed up to the prospect of receiving the tender in the first week of January, giving suppliers the opportunity to get prepared and come back raring to go and win new business for the new year.
But if you do have to publish a tender in the weeks before Christmas, make sure you give them the first couple of weeks in January to respond too!
☛ Phil Machin is director at Bridge Procurement