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International Development Business “Bid to Win” Partnering for Success, and Creating Winning Proposals IDB Procurement Workshop Washington, DC April 15, 2004 Presentation Objectives International development business project opportunities with & through the IDB

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International Development Business “Bid to Win” Partnering for Success, and Creating Winning Proposals

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international development business bid to win partnering for success and creating winning proposals
International Development Business “Bid to Win”Partnering for Success, andCreating Winning Proposals

IDB Procurement Workshop

Washington, DC

April 15, 2004

presentation objectives
Presentation Objectives
  • International development business project opportunities with & through the IDB
  • Perhaps the 2 most critical success factors:
    • Strategic partnering
    • Effective proposals
  • Develop a better understanding of:
the road to success
The Road to Success

Partnering, Proposals, Persistence


types of opportunities for consultants
Types of Opportunities(for Consultants)
  • Direct-hire with the IDB as client (smaller value; short term; usually ‘sole source’).
  • Competitively-bid projects with IDB borrowing country government as client (larger value, longer term, formal competitive bids).
  • Subcontracts with other firms. (as partner, as a team member).
experts agree
Experts agree…

…Partnering is perhaps the most critical success factor. Most successful firms credit good partnership as the most key success factor; and most firms who fail blame weak partnership as the main failure factor…


Partnering for Succe$$

"The greatest change in corporate culture - and the way business is being conducted - may be the accelerated growth of relationships based on partnership."

- Peter F. Drucker

why partnering
Why Partnering?
  • Common Sense (good business sense)
  • Locals have knowledge of the culture, political situation, business and legal environment
  • Locals have the personal contacts
local firms winning more
Local firms winning more..
  • IFI contract award trends: companies from developing and transition countries winning more and more and more and more of the business
  • Not just local firms; international firms within region (ie., Brazilian firms winning contracts in Colombia, Peru, Mexico, etc
  • So… If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
why partnering10
Why Partnering
  • Having local content is now imperative in order to earn points in most technical/ consulting proposal evaluations

Partners = Points

why partnering11
Why Partnering
  • Partnering now also a financial imperative in most IDB and World Bank funded technical assistance contracts. Why?:


‘Quality Cost Based Selection’

qcbs getting points for partnering
QCBS Getting Points for Partnering
  • Financial Evaluation can now account for as much as 25% of the overall proposal evaluation]
  • Thus, greater price competition in IDB consulting bids than in the past
  • Local content typically economizes on budget for fees (and certain project expenses)
qcbs not all bad
QCBS Not all bad !
  • Can make your bids more competitive against traditionally high-priced tough competition.


QCBS typically means ‘lump sum remuneration’ contracts (greater flexibility in project management)

finding a partner how
Finding a Partner (How?)
  • Step 1: Profiling a partner;
  • Step 2: Searching for and Identifying prospective partners;
  • Step 3: Short listing 2-3 best prospects;
  • Step 4: Contacting and meeting prospects.
how to find a partner step 1 profiling
How to Find a Partner(Step 1:Profiling)
  • Complete a prospective partner profile (matrix… criteria, qualities, skills, qualifications…)
  • Use a checklist approach (evaluate strengths/weaknesses)
profiling partner criteria
Profiling – Partner Criteria
  • Qualities (Skills)
  • Honesty, integrity
  • Communication skills
  • Languages
  • Work Ethic


  • Knowledge and expertise in the sector
  • Project experience (including in projects funded by World Bank, bilateral donors, etc.)
  • Relationships and reputation in the country

Domestic and international experience of firm (export success?)

step 2 searching for them
Step 2:(Searching for them)
  • Recommendations
    • From other firms active in the region/country
    • From IFI project officials (DC, in country)
  • Embassies (and reciprocal)
  • Trade missions
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Industry associations
  • World Bank / IDB contract listings
  • Alumni
  • Other ?
wb iadb asdb contract awards listings
WB / IADB /AsDB Contract Awards Listings

Searchable contract data bases:


Other key sources of info on local consultants:

assessing prospective partners
Assessing Prospective Partners

Check credentials, reputation

Do they have a website?

Do background check (trust but verify)

Have they worked with other foreign firms?

selecting the right partner
Selecting the right partner
  • Assess COMPATIBILITY of business objectives and “philosophy”
  • Do not fear size differentials (different sizes can compliment)
  • Visit plan or offices, meet key personnel
meet and interview prospective partners
Meet and Interview Prospective Partners
  • Try and schedule meetings to take place in their offices (permits you to assess human resources, technical capabilities, etc.)
  • Cross-cultural sensitivities (be prepared to socialize, get to know each other).
  • Partner relationships a two-way street: always remember they are interviewing you as well.
selecting the right partner22
“Selecting” the right partner
  • Skills compliment and capabilities (includes Human Resources assessment, compatibility of organizational structures, quality of management, technical capability)
  • Knowledge of technology and of local market
  • Domestic and international experience of firm (export success?)
  • Financial strength (consider cash infusions)
  • Personal chemistry (the “social” factor)
structuring the partnership
Structuring the Partnership`
  • Short term (joint bid); Subcontracting agreement
  • Memorandum of Understanding
  • Issue of Exclusivity (I.e,. On bids)
  • Long term (joint venture)
before teaming
Before teaming…

…with another business you should do a through check on its financial and business standing. You can even ask your potential partner for an exchange of financial information—which should not be a problem if you both sign a confidentiality agreement.

- Investigate.. Formal due dilligence


You and a potential teaming partner will work together on a few small projects before going after a large contract. This way you will develop techniques for working together smoothly, while developing a track record to demonstrate compatibility to the contracting officials.

the strategic approach
The Strategic Approach
  • Develop a strategy (Country targets, sector focus; commit time & resources)
  • Knowledge (learn about IFI market, target countries
  • Identify / Research Opportunities
  • Partner, partner, partner
  • Participate in the bidding game (EOIs, proposals)
bid to win types of idb project submissions
Bid to WinTypes of IDB Project ‘Submissions’
  • General Letter of Interest(unsolicited)
  • TheExpression of Interest (EOIs / SOQs)
    • In response to advertised requests for EOIs
  • The Bid: Technical & Financial Proposals
    • In response to Request for Proposals (RFP)
    • ICB Bid (Goods, Equipment, Civil Works)
submissions are in response to

General Procurement Notice (GPN)

Specific Procurement Notice (SPN)

Requests for Proposals (short-list)


Letter of Interest

Expression of Interest

Detailed Technical & Financial Proposal

Submissions are in Response to:
  • Can be in response to direct invitation as well
development business www devbusiness com

Where to Find the Bid Notices

DB Online: US $495 / year

DB Print Only: US $550 / year

DB Print & Online: US $725 / year

DB MOS Only: US $275 / year (don’t bother)


other procurement notice sources
Other Procurement Notice Sources
  • IDB Online: Phased Out
  • Notices now on IDB Web Site free of charge:

development b usiness online version
Development Business - Online Version -

Electronic version of Development Biz now rules.

  • EOI submissions and goods/equipment bids are sometimes due 30 days from theon-line publication date, not from the issue date.
  • FEW DAYS (I.e. Monday, Wednesday, Friday).
general letter of interest in response to gpn
General Letter of Interest( response to “GPN”)
  • Brief one-page letter (a mini EOI)
  • Introduce firm and ‘generally’ express keen interest in project
  • Ask to be put on so-called “mailing list”
  • Enclose minimal material
  • Don’t rely on so-called “mailing list”; Track Dev Biz for Specific Procurement Notices.
  • Copy IDB Project Officer ?
travel to the country
Travel to the Country?
  • .. Expensive, yet critical to the process

The Specific Procurement Notice


(Request for Expressions of Interest: Consulting Services)



  • Country: JamaicaDevelopment Business Print Edition, Issue Number: 542Issue Date:16 September 2000
  • The Government of Jamaica has secured a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to assist in financing its broad-based Health Sector Reform Program, a critical component of which is the articulation of the health services decentralization and the Ministry of Health (MOH)’s reorganization.The MOH requests consulting services, in order to develop a strategic plan maintaining the standards and regulating the health care in Jamaica, and invites eligible consultants to indicate their interest in providing the services. Interested consultants must send sufficient information showing that they are qualified to deliver the above-described services and should have similar work experience.
  • Prequalification process will be based on following criteria:
  • General background of the consultant
  • Past experience of a similar work
  • Work experience in Caribbean or similar countries within the region
  • Language capabilitiesA minimum of three and a maximum of six consultants will be selected and requested to submit proposals according to specific terms of reference. Expressions of interest must be delivered to the address below within 30 calendar days from the date of this notice publication (this notice officially published on
  • 16 September 2000).
  • Contact: Health Reform Unit, Ministry of Health. 4 King St.. Kingston, Jamaica.
  • Tel: (876) 967-1129. Fax: (876) 967-7687 DATE OF NOTICE: SEPTEMBER 6, 2000
t he formal expression of interest
The Formal Expression of Interest
  • Cover letter (ideally one page)
    • Convey interest and awareness of project/issues
    • State why you should be short listed
    • Intent to incorporate local experts (Identify ‘em)
    • Ask to be short listed !
  • Accompanying 3-6 page pre-qual statement
    • Description of Firm and a few key staff (CVs? Depends)
    • Project Experience (Relevant Ones; Brief Snapshots)
    • Language capabilities (Should EOI be translated?)
  • Brochures (Keep to a minimum)
preselection criteria making the short list
Preselection Criteria(Making the Short List)
  • Legal Capacity (eligibility)…….. (Yes/No)
  • Financial Capacity……………… (Yes/No)
  • General Technical Background and Capability…………………… (40%)
  • Experience in Similar Work……. (35%)
  • Experience in the Country,

or Similar Countries………… (10%)

  • Language Capability……………. (10%)
  • Use of Local Consultants……….. (5%)

Goods & Equipment

Procurement Notices

standard bidding documents goods
Standard Bidding Documents (Goods)
  • - Inter-American Development Bank Standard Bidding Documents for the Procurement of Goods
  • - Users Guide for the IDB's Standard Bidding Documents for the Procurement of Goods
you made the shortlist the rfp
You Made the Shortlist! The RFP
  • Letter of Invitation
    • Other short-listed firms
    • QCBS (Quality Cost-Based Selection) or QBS
  • Data Sheet
    • Estimated person-months
    • Evaluation criteria
  • Prescribed Proposal Format(Standard Forms)
  • Terms of Reference
  • Draft Contract

Key Proposal Evaluation Criteria

Actual criteria vary depending on nature of work, country, etc.


Qualifications/experience of team members (CVs) ….. 40 pts

Approach, Methodology & Work Plan .……….…… 40 pts

Language Proficiency ………………………………... 10 pts

Local Content (use of local consultants)……………… 10 pts

100 pts

other evaluation criteria
Other Evaluation Criteria
  • Demonstrating understanding of difficulties of assignment: 10-15 pts. (Response: i.e., proposing Results-based management principles, and by including ‘Logical Framework’
  • Local Participation
    • (Ranges from 10-20 points out of 100)
  • Hence, having locals on team is essential to winning the contract
  • Financial Capability of firm (or consortia)
evaluation grids
Evaluation Grids
  • A model can be found on World Bank website:

the proposal process
The Proposal Process
  • Timing (you’ve got just 3-4 weeks!)
  • Strategy – go or no go.
  • Budget? Get more info / intelligence
  • Request an extension?
  • Assemble a Project Team
  • Assign tasks
the proposal process55
Assign tasks (i.e., Production, graphics, packaging, cover, logistics)

CVs (start early)

Get cracking, crank out a draft

Drafter(s) … proposal should have one voice

Be compliant… but be innovative

The Proposal Process
key sources of info for your proposal i e project background objectives budget
Key Sources of Info for Your Proposal (i.e., Project Background, Objectives, Budget)
  • IDB Project Report (now available for free on line!).
  • In-depth info on the project.. as a guide for preparing technical (and financial) proposal
  • Example follows:
total compliance is imperative
Total Compliance is Imperative
  • Follow bidding instructions and terms of reference to the letter.
  • Be Compliant.. But you can still strive for originality and innovation in the work plan and methodology
technical proposal a standard format
Technical Proposal A Standard Format
  • Section A – Submission Letter
  • Section B – The Firm’s References
  • Section C – Comments and Suggestions on TOR
  • Section D – Methodology and Work Plan
  • Section E – The Team and Tasks Assigned
  • Section F – Curricula Vitae of Team Members
  • Section G – Time Schedule: Team Members
  • Section H – Project (Work) Schedule (GANT)
  • The Cover

The Cover

  • Nice packaging convey’s professionalism, creativity, innovation
  • Use quality paper, binding, lots of color, and creative graphics
section b firm s references
Section B: Firm’s References
  • One-two page project quals / profiles (formalrequirement)
  • Can be also useful to include:
    • Narrative section describing firm and introducing team via 2-3 sentence bios. (sell, sell, sell your team members)
  • This section is where you sell your qualifications.. With particular focus on individual team members.
section c comments suggestions on tor
Section C: Comments/Suggestions on TOR
  • Here’s where you demonstrate “understanding of the assignment”
  • Make suggestions as to other objectives, results, deliverables
  • Largely narrative section basically reiterating the TOR.. But perhaps more clearly than they were written.
section d approach methodology and workplan
Section D: Approach, Methodology and Workplan
  • Guts of the proposal
  • Use graphics/models to illustrate your strategy and approach
  • Use lots of tables (logical framework style) to lay out methodology and workplan.
  • Divide project into Activities and Tasks (i.e., ‘Work Breakdown Structure’, WBS).
  • Summary tables, frameworks, bullet points make it easy for them to read, understand, and evaluate.
logical framework
Logical Framework
  • ‘LogFrame’ is now the global project planning tool of choice
  • Facilitates work plan and methodology
  • IDB offers an on-line training session on learning how to build a logical framework
  • Go to:
section e composition of team
Section E: Composition of Team
  • Lists team members, their titles, and responsibilities in 3-column table
  • Include a team/project Organization Chart (often not requested, but its effective so you should include one)
section f cvs of team members
Section F: CVs of Team Members
  • CV’s of Team Members
  • Follow prescribed format for all CVs.
  • Try to keep reasonably short (i.e., not more than 3-5 pages max.)
  • Make sure CVs signed, even if by proxy
  • Photos on CVs ? (Pros and cons)
section g project time table
Section G: Project Time Table
  • Level of Effort of individual team members
  • Bar Chart showing person days for each team member for each activity
  • What they’re looking for is to make sure sufficient days to the key people (and locals.
  • You’ll have a chance to reallocate days during negotiations, inception and implementation
section h activity work schedule
Section H: Activity (Work) Schedule
  • Project time-table (Activity by activity)
  • GANT/Bar Chart showing timeline of project, activity by activity, dates of key deliverables
  • Section H.2 a table/listing of deliverables and due dates.
the financial proposal
The Financial Proposal
  • Separate Envelope.. Will be opened in public and only after Technical Proposals are evaluated
  • Costing proposal tricky. Often you have idea of the budget or, at least, expected total person months.
  • Pricing will depend much on analysis of the competition & knowledge of their rate standards
  • Research applicable taxes.
producing and submitting the proposal
Producing and Submitting the Proposal
  • Print, Sign, Signature
  • Copy, mark original and copies
  • Packaging
  • Delivery

- Fedex?

- Fly someone over?

- If its late, its doomed!

- Get a ‘receipt’.

after the submission the waiting game
After the Submission The Waiting Game
  • Wait (1-3 months on average; Bid validity)
  • How do you know when they’ve decided?
  • Letter re public opening of financial proposals
  • Technical and Financial Scores read out
  • Composite Score calculated (in QCBS)
  • Invitation to Negotiate to the winning firm
  • $ $ $ $ $ CONTRACT AWARD $ $ $ $ $
  • Project Implementation
  • Not happy with outcome?
  • Think the evaluation was conducted unfairly? (ie. as in a recent case where financial proposals were opened and prices announced, but technical scores were not.)
  • Can protest.. Directly with borrower/client
  • At best, protest would result in a re-bid.
  • Without strong case, protest will likely fail.
  • Our usual advice: “fuggedaboutit”.
  • Rather: Analyze lessons-learned.
negotiating the contract
Negotiating the Contract
  • Invitation to negotiate
  • Negotiation Strategy (Target Outcome)
  • Negotiation Issues
    • Duration (Start-Finish dates)
    • Scope of Services (Add-ons? More budget?)
    • Deliverables & Timetable (Maintain control !, avoid linking them to factors not in your control)
    • Terms of Payment
    • Reporting Requirements
    • Follow-on work
    • Contingencies
project implementation
Project Implementation
  • Do good work
  • Keep IDB officer(s) informed of progress
  • Keep eyes open for related opportunities
  • Leverage presence and experience
  • Document project (I.e. photos, videos) for future bids



International Development Projects

Consulting and Advisory Services

Questions and Comments

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Burlington, VT 05401


t: 802.658.1688

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