As a public sector supplier, using frameworks to sell your products and services is critical. Frameworks provide an efficient and transparent way for suppliers to bid on public sector contracts. In this blog, we will explore the benefits and challenges of using public sector procurement frameworks and whether seeking external help is beneficial.
What are the benefits of using a procurement framework?
UK Government Frameworks and Dynamic Purchasing Systems are compliant, fair, and faster routes to market. The ICT spend with UK Gov in 2021 reached over £10 billion. Frameworks help unlock that potential revenue and give access to a market that suppliers may not have been able to reach otherwise.
The standardised and streamlined procurement process facilitated by frameworks allows both buyers and suppliers to save time and reduce costs. From the supplier’s perspective, they can submit a single proposal or bid to be considered for multiple contracts, instead of having to go through this process for each individual opportunity.
They are also a great asset in facilitating communication, helping suppliers and buyers understand each other’s requirements. Using frameworks reduces risk, thanks to the pre-negotiated terms and conditions. These are in place to ensure the process is as smooth as possible for all parties involved. This can help to build trust between suppliers and public sector organisations, too, due to the greater transparency and accountability involved.
Since frameworks have already gone through a rigorous selection process, being listed on one can give your business credibility. Furthermore, frameworks often provide opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to compete with larger companies, promoting healthy competition in the market and encouraging innovation. For example, the G-Cloud framework provides an online marketplace for cloud services, pre-approved for the public sector. It is also known for its transparency and fairness for SMEs.
But, whilst frameworks are great, they can come with challenges…
What are the challenges of using a procurement framework?
The extent of work and preparation a framework might require differs depending on the framework itself. However, as an organisation that has helped suppliers to list over 700 services on a multitude of frameworks, we can say that managing your framework strategy is never an easy task!
For instance, with the complexity of framework rules and bidding processes, and multiplying that by how many you’re listed on, frameworks can be incredibly time-consuming. Met with tight timelines, it’s common for organisations to seek external help to stay on top of it all.
Some frameworks may also be complex or difficult to understand. This can sometimes be met with a lack of support and guidance, particularly for smaller suppliers. Suppliers often find it difficult to keep procurement teams and other departments up to speed. Crafting winning bids requires a high level of knowledge and time! It isn’t always viable to be training team members on how the frameworks operate. Another reason why having an external specialist or team on board to help manage your framework listing and strategy can be great!
When is the right time to get help on procurement frameworks?
You have limited experience or resources
Ideally, you should have assessed your capabilities and capacity beforehand. This will help to answer questions surrounding the resources you have available, such as people, time, and the collective knowledge you and your team have. If you have limited experience with public sector procurement frameworks, it may be beneficial to seek help early on in the process. This can help you avoid costly mistakes and ensure that you are following best practices from the get-go.
If you’re a little further on in the process of devising your strategy for a framework, or even if you’ve already started your framework application, you may find that you’re struggling to keep up with the demands. You might be juggling multiple frameworks or bids. A specialist can help you prioritise your efforts and focus on the most fruitful options while bringing the knowledge!
Advice Cloud can help you get started in the public sector market. We will even support you past the application stage, right through to winning the contracts. We’ve helped our clients to win over £1bn on G-Cloud and DOS alone! Read more about our services and get in touch with us here.
You are not seeing the desired results
You may find yourself in this position either as a newer supplier or one that has supplied to the public sector for a little while. Maybe you feel stuck in a rut with your framework listings and they’re not competing well against the other offerings on the framework. It all comes down to your BuyabilityTM. Seeking advice can help you identify areas for improvement and develop a more effective approach to the framework you’re on. Advice Cloud is able to assess your current listings from the buyer’s perspective and give you what we call a BuyabilityTM score with advice on what to do next. Take the 2-minute assessment here.
You are experienced in supplying to the public sector, but you want to expand
External help may be needed even if you are more experienced in frameworks. It might be that you have the knowledge, but not the capacity to extend it to more listings on more frameworks. Alternatively, you might need help in building a long-term framework strategy that you can apply across the public sector market. Identifying these opportunities for growth and developing a plan to achieve your goals may be best done in collaboration with a specialist. Advice Cloud is able to work with you in this scenario to maximise your potential and help you to build those necessary skills. Discover how we can help you here.
So, should you get help? We say yes! UK Government frameworks are important for public sector tech suppliers, but they can come with challenges. In general, if you are feeling overwhelmed or unsure about any aspect of the framework process, it is a good idea to seek help. Advice Cloud can offer support and expertise to not only help you succeed in the public sector market but really give you that advantage. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us via the relevant pathway for you!