Transparency In Tendering: How It Works At Sintek

As with any type of construction project, heavy-industrial plants come in all shapes and sizes. For that reason, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to preparing a proposal in response to a request for tender.

However, with over a decade’s experience, the Sintek Group has established tried and tested processes for handling complex tender documents. So when a 500-page tender document does arrive at our office, we know how to handle it in the most efficient way.

In this blog post, we provide an overview of a typical proposal process, and demonstrate how our team collaborates to ensure that we take account of the most detailed specifications and customer requirements. 

Fıve Key Areas

When it comes to preparing a proposal for a large and complex industrial build, such as a cement factory, we ensure we address five essential areas:

  1. Soil Improvement
  2. Civil Engineering
  3. Structural Engineering
  4. Electrical Engineering
  5. Permissions And Licencing

To avoid instability, safety concerns, negative environmental impacts, and costly repairs or alterations further down the line, we are well aware that any site for a new industrial plant requires suitable preparation and documentation.

Where the ground does not meet the required engineering performance standards, soil improvement works take place to mitigate factors such as permeability and compressibility. Getting this right is crucial to the success of a build. We’ve been involved in projects where before the work began, millions of dollars were spent on soil improvement.

Whilst the engineering phases speak for themselves, ensuring the correct local permissions and licencing are in place is also essential for getting the project off the ground. In general, around 90% of these requirements are our customer’s responsibility, with the onus on us to check everything is in order before construction begins.

Detailed Requirements

When we’re handed a 500-page tender document, it goes without saying that any response worth its while is going to thoroughly address detailed technical requirements. So how do we tackle it? Well for starters, as a global company, we drill down to procurement costs, for things such as raw materials, based on local prices. Through our network of local consultants, we negotiate the best prices on labour and make checks regarding legal and regulatory compliance. We also factor-in our own supervisory leaders who can oversee international projects and ensure that every build conforms to our high internal standards. After all, every project carries our signature, and our long-standing reputation. That’s why we’re also committed to meeting applicable standards in environmental and social governance (ESG).

Working at this level of detail in order to prepare a winning proposal requires a team of up to 40 people specializing in different areas, from engineering to legal and finance. Unsurprisingly, it also takes time, and only after our engineers have studied the tender can we begin to estimate the cost. However, the strength of our network means we can leverage existing, local relationships to bring our customers the best deal.

But let’s not forget that we’re dealing with huge quantities here. In a recent project, a 50,000 cubic metre plant required around 10,000 metres of steel – making it bigger than a small town. For that reason, a typical tender for an industrial plant takes around 3 weeks to prepare. However, with our global network, we’re able to bring that down to around 2 weeks.   

As soon as a bill of quantities (BOQ) is prepared, we’re able to calculate the estimated costs of a project. Making use of our logistics arm, we can also accurately estimate delivery costs, using the most up-to-date information on the availability of products and materials. This means we can fine tune our pricing and scheduling right across the project, covering off multiple areas including logistics, and erection – upfront costs which typically run into millions of dollars.

Commercial and Technical Offers

Clearly, preparing a proposal in response to the tender documents for a heavy industrial plant is a huge and complex task. We also produce two offers: a technical proposal and commercial proposal containing detailed financial details.

In order to produce a commercial offer, we have to not only plan but also provide foresight into the price fluctuations of material within a given time period. There’s a lot to consider, and much of the pricing depends on multiple variables which are outside our control. However, in the long run, this careful preparation takes the pain out of the process for the customer and investors because everything is transparent from the get-go. With 30 to 40 people having an input on a proposal, including lawyers, engineers, and scientists, it is most definitely a collaborative effort on our part.

It’s also worth remembering that at this stage, there’s still no guarantee that we’re going to win the contract. Typically, there are between 3 and 6 companies competing for the same tender. That’s why, at Sintek, we aim to prepare the most transparent and detailed offers. Sintek has over a decade of experience in preparing offers, so in newer markets, we can leverage experience from within the group to help with quality assurance, quality control, meeting design criteria, and oversight of engineering processes.

Rounds of Tendering

In a world where we’re used to having everything on-demand, it can be hard to appreciate the length of time it takes to prepare an offer, especially when there are three rounds of tendering and a tight timeline. There’s no question that putting together proposals for a project, such as a cement factory, is a long and involved process which requires inputs from people across a range of disciplines.

For a company like Sintek, putting together three rounds of proposals on this scale is a high-risk but high-reward activity. It’s fair to say that most companies probably win around 10% of their tenders, and often times projects shrink due to budgetary constraints. However, for Sintek it’s part of our DNA to take pride in our construction projects. We care about giving our customers the best value and seeing a project through to completion and in line with customer specification and expectations.

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