Sheila Graham, LeasePlan International on How to launch a successful tender
Clear goals, detailed preparation and a willingness to work with potential suppliers are vital for an international fleet tender.
Be clear in your objectives, ask the right questions and you’ll get the right answers. Muddle your goals, ask irrelevant questions, and you’ll waste everyone’s time. LeasePlan International’s Sheila Graham is far too polite and professional to characterise a tender process in such blunt terms, but as an international tender associate she is perfectly placed to witness tenders destined for success and those that will prove fruitless.
Establishing a vision of your ideal, fit for purpose multi-national fleet is the first step to take, said Sheila Graham.
“Really focus with your major stakeholders (your drivers, your country organisations, your HR department, your management) on what it is that you want to achieve and then concentrate on this in the tender,” she advised.
For example, if the strategic goal is about saving money, frame the tender document questions around fleet process efficiency and cost savings. If the aim is to recruit and retain the best staff, concentrate your questions on company car choice lists and benchmarking against your industry peers. And if the objective is environmental, ask about support for measuring and reducing emissions. It’s entirely possible, of course, that objectives, and therefore solutions, can be contradictory, especially for an international organisation operating in countries with different levels of fleet maturity and a wide variance in local trading conditions.
Remember too that for responses to your tender documents to be meaningful, it’s vital to have accurate information on your current fleet performance.
“Assembling that data beforehand is one of the most important parts of the process,” said Sheila Graham. “The more information and details the client provides, the more relevant the answers we can give on how we can move their fleet from where it is currently to where they want it to be.”
This also highlights the importance of including open questions in the tender document, which give suppliers the opportunity to show how they might restructure a fleet and its management in order to create a more efficient and appropriate operation.
“The responses from the fleet management companies should provide insight into the benefits they can deliver to your organisation,” said Sheila Graham. She added that the tender process is not simply about questions and answers on paper, but also a chance to explore the compatibility of ideas, culture, goals and resource between client and potential supplier.
“Fleet is not a commodity,” she said. “The performance of an organisation’s fleet has a significant impact on its business effectiveness. It is therefore vital to select the right supplier to support you in managing your fleet needs.”
You can also read the Sheila Graham's analysis 'The key to running an international tender' on LeasePlan's Global Fleet Insights page.