Can British Businesses Fulfill Domestic Demands? Tender Contracts Can Help

Brexit has dramatically changed the UK’s import and export-dynamic.

Pre-Brexit trade predictions estimated a 15% decline in UK imports and exports. However, several factors skewed this outcome. First, UK goods trade with the EU fell by more than 30% at the start of 2020 (Compared to 2019) and didn’t recover.

The extended transition period caused severe delays, offset further by the pandemic. As a result, by the end of 2021, despite positive growth indicators in the previous quarter, GDP growth slowed to less than 2%.

Yet, the extent of Brexit’s impact was ill-predicted. As we see, the ongoing effects of this change have plummeted the UK into an economic downturn.

British businesses looking to fulfil domestic demands have turned to alternative means to supplement imports and exports.

As we’ll discuss, tender contracts are becoming an increasingly viable option for businesses to attract new suppliers and contracts.

However, many businesses may not know where to turn when it comes to tender contracts. So, we’re exploring some of these issues and potential solutions.

Let’s dive in…

How Much Did We Depend on European Businesses?

Typically, the UK imports more than it exports. So the UK has to offset this trade deficit to keep the economy stable. Pre-Brexit, the UK trade relied on the EU to fulfil 51.4% of this deficit.

However, the beginning of 2021 marked a sharp drop in this trade, falling by over 30%, so these figures are no surprise.

Under EU membership, the UK gained from mutually beneficial trade across the EU Market. For example, under the pinions trade agreement, the UK profited from the EU customs union, single market, and VAT area.

The UK also relied on the EU for supplying labour. As a result, the UK labour shortage has been the subject of significant media attention since Brexit. Most recently, the summer of 2021 saw a supply chain backlog resulting from labour shortages.

The number one factor is attributed to a lack of drivers, with the haulage industry estimating a 100,000 driver shortage.

The UK Road Haulage Association, in part, attributes this shortage to many European drivers based in the UK travelling to their country of origin post-Brexit, and not returning.

In addition, the UK’s current immigration rules include a points-based system to encourage skilled workers, meaning EU citizens no longer have preferred treatment.

As vacancies rose, the haulage driver shortage created tension between the industry and the government. Recent data shows that more than one-third of businesses were short of workers overall. So what has this meant for meeting the UK’s domestic demand?

Has the Situation Changed Drastically?

The EU customs Union offers standardised tariffs on Non-EU territories and no tariffs for internal trade. Under this regulation, there were no custom duties between member states.

Similarly, Inside the EU VAT area, VAT was paid in only one country. This meant VAT was levied on exporters rather than importers. Meaning the UK could extract VAT-Less imports.

At the heart of these trades was membership in the single market. This gave businesses access to over 450 million consumers. Moreover, it allows for leaver unit costs of goods, low unit labour costs and competitive corporate tax rates of only 15%.

The shortage of workers and changes to regulations have caused an 11-month customs backlog. There aren’t enough skilled workers to administer these changes. With small to medium-sized businesses suffering the worst disruptions.

Many have experienced low trade volume or have had to stop exporting altogether.

How’s the Public Sector Coping?

As a result of decreasing exports from the EU, we see UK trade turning to NON-EU countries to manage their trade deficit.

The UK government has been negotiating trade deals with Australia, New Zealand and the US to meet their domestic demands.

The government has begun to diversify its trade services. For example, it became mandatory for all public sector organisations to advertise their procurement opportunities for over £10,000 to public and private businesses.

Likewise, the EU began to offer TED (Tenders electronic daily) to present non-EU companies with public sector procurement options.

Public sector tendering contracts have many benefits. From more transparent supply chains to open and accessible contacts, the future need not look so bleak for businesses.

Is There a Clear Plan For the Future?

According to the Center for Social Justice, the UK government spends more than a third of its total expenditure on procurement contracts. Previously, these contracts were regulated by EU law.

However, post-Brexit, the government released its green paper outline to redesign the contract procurement system.

This opened the door for public businesses to take advantage of public sector contracts. In addition, it significantly speeds up and simplifies the procurement process.

This provides more business opportunities to engage with the domestic and international markets, mainly if firms are currently exporting to Europe and struggling with Brexit impacts.

Are You Ready to Utilise Tender Contracts?

Why not take advantage of these transformations? Every year, Tracker shares thousands of real-time tender contracts on its platform.

Moreover, you can access the latest information on public sector market trends with smart business insights.

In addition, we provide detailed and meaningful intelligence on how to engage with public sector buyers. Tracker is currently offering a free trial of our premium service.

With the free trial, you get alerts on the latest contracts and awards, market and competitor insights, access to our contract archive, expert advice from leading public sector experts, and more.

So, what are you waiting for? Join today to find out what Tracker can do for your business.

Public Procurement: Delivering Value to a Community While Making Profit

Public Procurement: Delivering Value to a Community While Making Profit

Approximately 250,000 public authorities in the European Union spend 2 trillion pounds or 14 percent of the Gross National Product purchasing works, services, and supplies. Oftentimes, public authorities buy services such as energy, transport, social protection, waste management, and health or educational services from private entities. When the government purchases goods and services from private businesses, the process is known as public procurement.

Public procurement matters because it boosts growth, investment, and jobs. It feeds the economy by making it more innovative, resourceful, and socially inclusive.

In short, public procurement allows local businesses to serve their communities and taxpayers well. Such a service requires the government to procure contracts in a well-managed and efficient manner.

Furthermore, when the government improves its public procurement process, it can save significant amounts of money. By the time you’ve finished reading this article, you will have a sound understanding of how public procurement works.

What is Public Procurement?

Public procurement is the process of the local government obtaining goods and services through local businesses. So when government organisations need a particular service, they will advertise for such a service or good. Private businesses then sign business contracts with the government, and the public thus procures a service from their local businesses.

Ultimately, everyone wins in such a situation. The government organisation receives the services or goods they need. The local business receives the business they need, and they serve their local community.

Basic Principles

The success of a public procurement process rests on a framework for a code of conduct. In the UK, this framework consists of eight core principles.

1. Transparency

The government organisation must make the information on the process available to all stakeholders including suppliers, service producers, contractors, and the public.

There is one exception, though. If the organisation needs to keep the contract confidential for legal reasons, it may withhold the information from the public.

All public procurement announcements must include sufficient details for anyone interested in the contract. These details should help contractors, service providers, and suppliers determine if they have the qualifications to compete for the contract. Furthermore, the government organisation must make all solicitation documents available at a reasonable price.

2. Integrity

All tender documents must have clear and dependable information free of bias. The public servants who are working with the public procurement process must demonstrate trustworthiness, responsibility, honesty, and reliability.

Without this integrity, the entire public procurement process would fall apart.

3. Economy

This principle emphasises the government organisation’s need to manage the public’s funds with care. The prices the organisation pays for the services and goods should be of good value and generally acceptable.

4. Openness

For public procurement to truly work, the government organisation seeking goods and services must display openness to the public. All eligible organisations and individuals should have a chance to procure business contracts with the government. If there is confidential information regarding the individuals in the process or the organisations, then the parties involved may keep this information private.

5. Fairness

For fairness to happen in the public procurement process, four ideas must be in place.

  • Unbiased actions and decision making
  • Offers are considered solely based on compliance with the document stipulations
  • Contract signed with the compliant supplier, service provider, or contractor
  • Opportunity for suppliers to challenge the procurement process if they deem it unfair

Contractors who seek procurement contracts will do their best if they use a procurement consultancy service. Such a service will help them land the contracts they want.

6. Accountability

Businesses, contractors, and government organisations should have a way to hold each other accountable for their decisions and actions. A good procurement process will have a system in place that obliges parties to report to or answer to a specific overseeing party as well as the public.

7. Efficiency

A quality procurement process will take place as efficiently as possible. It will happen in an appropriate amount of time and be as cost-effective as possible.

8. Responsiveness

All parties involved should seek to meet the expectations, goals, and needs of the community that the procurement serves.

Finding Public Procurement Opportunities

How does a company find a public procurement opportunity? By law, a public sector organisation that is seeking a contract opportunity over a given value must advertise the opportunity in the Official Journal of the European Union OJEU). The type of contract will determine the threshold since different thresholds exist for specific types of contracts.

A contract that has a value of fewer than 106,000 pounds is considered below OJEU and does not need to be advertised.

The public body will formally announce the contract opportunity through a contract notice. This notice is a business’s first chance to see what the organisation wants. It also gives you a chance to put yourself in the running for the contract.

You can sign up through contract portals or commissioning portals. You can also run a search for such contracts through the UK government website. Your best bet is to use a tracking service that will help you find contracts.

What Is Tendering

When working with public sector contracts, you will hear the terms “tender” or “tendering.” A tender refers o the actual contract. The process of winning the contract is known as tendering.

There are two types of tendering: open and restricted tenders. Open tenders invite any interested business to submit it by a given date. then the organisation will evaluate the bids and award the contracts to the given businesses.

Restricted procedures have two stages. The filtering stage is where the organisation identifies a shortlist of businesses that are qualified for the job. The organisation will use a pre-qualification questionnaire or a PQQ that businesses fill out.

In the second stage, the shortlist of contractors will submit their bids for the project. Then like the open procedure, the organisation will select the winning contractor.

Small Companies and Public Contracts

If you have a small company, you may believe you have no chance of winning a public contract. Public sector contracts vary in scope and size. Some of the smaller contracts work best for small, local providers.

You can also form a partnership with other like-minded organisations and then make a bid together to deliver a joint service.

Everyone Wins With Public Procurement

Public procurement serves the local economy well. Small, local businesses can grow because they win government contracts. They then turn around and serve the taxpaying community with their goods and services while still making a profit.

Are you looking for a procurement opportunity? If so, contact us. Our tracking services will help you find the perfect opportunity for your business.

6 Things To Know About the Post Pandemic Work Environment

The post-pandemic work environment may have changed the way businesses think about hiring and managing employees. Learn more about it here.

Most remote workers don’t want to return to the office, so it’s essential to consider the work environment changes that businesses must adapt to. The post-pandemic work environment is an obstacle with various challenges to overcome.

Post-pandemic work is almost synonymous, at this point, with a standard or ordinary day job. It’s become the new norm, and employees seem to love it.

It’s a situation that makes an employee’s life easier. However, businesses need to change how they organise many things. Including their infrastructure and the strategies they’ve used for engaging various markets. Keep reading to learn six key things to remember when engaging in the post-pandemic work environment.

Analysing Post Pandemic Work

Careers that involve some form of manual labour, for the most part, are impossible to do from home. For example, repairing a sewage line is hard to do from one’s living room.

However, most careers that almost exclusively require technology are usually doable from home. Translators, writers, artists, designers, and coders are some of the most common examples.

Since they’re no longer commuting to the office, businesses have to alter many variables. This includes how they hire, organise, and manage their teams. They also have to change private and public tender, spend analysis coordination, and how to approach market leads.

Hiring for Remote Work

There’s a lot of pressure on HR leaders to fill positions with individuals with the right skills. However, the lack of an in-person interview can make this much more difficult.

Body language is still readable, but video calls aren’t comparable to face-to-face conversation. Additionally, the metrics for how capable an individual is have changed. Where, previously, degrees and certificates were reliable, they’ve all but gone out the window.

Given that most were required to study from home, a wide variety of careers were moved online. This, in turn, resulted in far fewer individuals seeking certification from recognised institutions. So, HR has to do a lot of guesswork, increasing the popularity of internships.

Remote Work Post Pandemic

It’s worth reiterating that remote work is akin to a dream for many. It was hard to imagine a world where accountants and project managers would work in their pyjamas from the comfort of their home offices. It’s now the reality we live in, though.

The comfort that remote work provides employees and freelancers is great. But it adds difficulties for employers and businesses. This comes in many forms, and enthusiasm and human connections are harder to communicate via video calls.

Planning meetings is even more of a chore when a company has employees worldwide. Project managers now have to reinvent how they engage their teams. Along with the strategies they use when communicating with clients.

Changes with Private Tender

It’s safe to say that private tender hasn’t seen many changes. Given its nature, where any kind of tendering isn’t obligatory, it maintains a similar modus operandi post-pandemic.

However, potential contracts that go out to tender are seeing slower processing. There’s a slight delay, a delay that almost mimics the latency of an online connection.

However, it is more complicated than ever to determine whether an opportunity is real or if a buyer is using the process to pressure suppliers. Again, much of this leans on the fact that many conversations and agreement forms have moved online. But, this was somewhat the case before the pandemic.

Public Tender Changes

The public procurement process is faster post-pandemic. Suppliers and buyers have more platforms than ever to find or post contracts. This, of course, does result in more competitive rates. But, a free market usually adjusts over time.

The public tender has also seen the addition of complicated steps and changes in how invitations to tender are structured. This is resulting, ever so slightly, in a more lengthy process. However, competitive rates are allowing for more efficient public projects.

Coordination of Spend Analysis

Data aside, communication sits at the heart of spending analysis. Multiple teams have to provide input on the following:

  • Identifying spend data
  • Gathering spend data
  • Analysing and categorising spend data
  • Grouping spend data

While it’s just one part of spending management, it’s essential to consider that visualising data is now more complex in some ways. Since it can take longer, there’s a delay in improving contract compliance and cycle times.

Sure, spend visibility and data are easy to quantify. But the post-pandemic work environment makes it harder to stay fast and versatile with multiple outlets.

Needless to say, this has a substantial and direct impact on all company sectors. It’s tough to manage savings. And businesses are seeing more management expenditures. Revenue opportunities are not meeting expected results.

New Approach to Market Leads

It’s natural for the approach to market leads to change over time. There’s no one-fits-all solution to turning an interest into a purchase or investment.

Guiding prospects down a sales funnel is a tricky process now. Remote work means most stay at home and spends even more time on the web. Many more companies have to invest in SEO and certain online ad placements to generate leads, nowadays.

You can see this in changes to the following variables:

  • Promotional efforts
  • Types of content
  • Subscriptions
  • Promotional tools

Post-Pandemic Work Environment

There are two sides to the new post-pandemic work environment. This includes changes in how an employee experiences their day-to-day work. Also, the adjustments that businesses have to make.

For employees, remote work post-pandemic is most often a boon. It’s more comfortable, saves time, and allows more flexible work hours. However, communication can become difficult, and there’s more opportunity for making mistakes.

Businesses seem to have taken the biggest hit, and have seen few benefits overall. They have to readjust and adapt to a plethora of factors. This includes how they hire workers. They also change how they deal with private and public tender, coordinate spending, and approach market leads.

Contact us if you’re interested in winning more public or private sector tenders. You can also ask questions you might have about Tracker Intelligence. You can fill out the form, or try out our free demo!

How Diversity Drives Sustainability in Business

How Diversity Drives Sustainability in Business

Almost a full third of UK businesses do not have an inclusivity and diversity strategy. There are gains that you can make here, both for the sake of ethics and to make strides in sustainability in business.

At first glance, diversity and sustainability might not seem connected – this is not the case. This article will run through how they are linked and why you should not separate them.

What Do We Mean by Sustainability?

Before getting into the comparison of diversity and sustainability, we need to define what these two terms mean. They have several different definitions, and for this article, they have the following meanings:

Diversity. A wide range of different backgrounds for the people involved in the project. This would include different:

  • races
  • genders or status in gender reassignment
  • sexes
  • ethnicities
  • sexualities
  • languages
  • education levels
  • ages

This list is not exhaustive, and there may be other areas where you can find diversity within your organization. Corporate diversity means ensuring that you have a wide range of people hired across your business.

Sustainability. The 1987 UN Brundtland Commission, a group that reviewed environmental issues, defined this as:

“Development which meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

In the current era of imminent global climate catastrophe, this is more prescient and relevant than ever.

Sustainability Relates to the Globe

When we debate how sustainable business works moving forward, we should be considering not only how things affect us in the local area. We come from a diverse range of countries around this world, and having a low impact in your local area does not always mean the same worldwide. Examples of this failing include shipping large amounts of waste to other countries, who then pollute in excess.

Global sustainability means ensuring that every work unit that you create offsets itself on a global stage. While this might give you short-term local problems, over the long life of your company it will pay back severalfold.

A sustainable business should consider such things to be its responsibility. This way, they can take action to solve problems that they cause or at least are aware of.

Environmental Justice Affects Everyone

It is not only the global stage that you should be aware of. Including diverse talent will allow you to hear voices from close to where you work too, and see where you are failing to be sustainable.

In the UK, for example, the people who live and work in the most polluted locations tend to be people of colour more than anyone else. If not, they are otherwise disadvantaged minorities. Those whose opinions would be worth paying attention to if sustainability is an aim.

Your organization has the capability and responsibility to redistribute resources that you control. Ethical work suggests that you should do this to ensure the most impoverished are the most uplifted. This will ensure that future generations of workers will be from a wider and more diverse range of healthy individuals.

Diverse Voices Help Find New Solutions

The facts are staring us in the face. Diversity and inclusion in business are useful as it means that we do not only hear the same opinions based on the same backgrounds again and again. Instead, we can drive an organization to have better ideas that are either based on more experience, or you can put aside bad ideas faster.

The data confirms this in almost every study, but not enough people are listening to them. The Harvard Business Review even confirms it, as they say that companies with more diverse leadership teams are 45% more likely to grow year on year. On top of that, they are 70% more likely to state that their company expanded into a new market.

Such diversity and inclusion drives also benefit sustainability. When trying to solve problems in this area, you can get feedback from many different backgrounds. This ensures that you engage with a wider cross-section of society.

Then, when attempting to put in place any changes, you are also more likely to have buy-in from other areas. This is because you can get people from the same background who can discuss the situation with those who live here and relate to their problems.

Being Industry Leaders in Sustainability

To be an industry leader in sustainability, you must do so with an ethical mindset. With this in mind, it is impossible to drive a business forward and ignore large swathes of the population and still call yourself ethical. Diversity in business is essential for people to perceive you as an organization to follow.

If you are wondering how to build a sustainable business, then you should look to other examples around you in your industry. It is unlikely that you are not the only one, and with that in mind, you would be best off listening to the minorities that you surround yourself with. Diverse minds can give you the best idea of where to look for leadership and who to follow.

More About Sustainability in Business

Now you should know how diversity and sustainability in business are not only linked but affect one another. Hopefully, you can move forward with your public sector bids knowing a little more about how these might affect you.

If you want to know more about such bids, though, remember that we can help you engage with the world of public and private sector contracts. All you need to do is send us a message to learn what we can do for you. So get in contact today and find out why we are Europe’s #1 in tendering and business intelligence solutions.