Improving Tenders for Professional Clothing Round Table Completes First Session

PCIAW® would like to thank all the 13 members who registered and attended the Improving Tenders for Professional Clothing Round Table on 30/05/2024.

The discussion featured diverse perspectives from across the supply chain from fabrics and components to managed service uniform suppliers and tender specialists, alongside group of public and private sector end-user procurement teams.

The international group of members shared knowledge and best practices, signposting opportunities to maximise the reach of tenders across Europe and North America to achieve best outcomes.

The focus of this session was to understand the internal strategies of the tender process and discover where the knowledge gaps are for end-user procurement teams – to create a tailored tender workshop based of the needs of the Uniform Buyers’ Network.

Participants across the value chain spoke about the tender process being made more challenging due to fewer companies maintaining specialist textile knowledge internally. End-users and industry recognised the challenge for procurement teams asking for support or guidance on technical details due to risk of perceived bias if speaking to individual companies that may be bidding for the contracts.

It was advised for procurement teams to fully evaluate the needs of end-users when doing their jobs to be able to explain specifications in tender requirements. By honing-in on these details, whether by consulting the Uniform Buyers’ Network or by contracting-in specialist knowledge, the supply chain can pitch for tailored solutions to the needs of end-users and improve the outcomes to meet the objectives of the buying organisation.

Another key area that limits the potential outcomes of tenders is the timeline. Industry stressed that there is not much that the supply chain can do to change the time in which it takes to spin yarns, dye fabrics or manufacture garments. Often professional clothing programs may be demanded by the senior leadership teams of the end-user companies to deliver in restricted timeframes that can be unrealistic.

Restricted timeframes result in less time available for innovation to be pitched in the tender process, limiting the opportunity for comprehensive wearer trials or to consider other aspects such as social value or due diligence. By limiting the capacity to pay an appropriate level attention to the tender process, mistakes could occur and create negative PR for the end-user company, as has been experienced and broadcast on mainstream news outlets in recent years.

Contributing members also discussed the importance of understanding goals prior to going to tender and ensuring the scoring mechanisms are aligned. End-user buyers on the round table discussed how ESG ratings are motivating an increase in priority for social value and sustainability in professional clothing tenders. Industry members raised the need to ensure adequate priority is given to these objectives to avoid the price being the prominent awarding factors. End-users advised that certification such as OKEO-TEX and others are ways in which they determine how responsible or sustainable products are.

The open discussion in the first round table brought to attention a variety of knowledge gaps and advice to specific challenges. PCIAW® will be writing a summary of the first round table in due course, which will become a part of the guide and workshop on best practices in the tender process.

The second round table will take place on 5th September 2024.

PCIAW Uniform Networks Buyer, Trusted member