Arup targets continuous improvement in many areas. An examination of bidding performance identified a number of opportunities for achieving improving performance and becoming more client focused, understanding their needs better and promoting solutions that respond to changing procurement patterns.
The specific objectives were to:
- Consolidate existing guidance across the different business units.
- Develop a simple and consistent process for the activities of winning work.
- Broaden the engagement of those who could make a difference to the success of the bid.
- Enhance the focus on client needs during the bid phase.
Researching the Issues
Arup enlisted the help of specialist construction business development consultant MarketingWorks to work alongside one of its business development managers to respond to this challenge.
Working in tandem a number of issues were explored, including:
- The role of bidding in winning work activities
- Varying approaches to selectivity
- Emerging best practice in bidding in the external market
- Simplified bidding processes
- Learning from precious bids
- Knowledge sharing and skills development
A workshop was arranged with a number of senior leaders and experienced bidders, to set out and explore these issues in more detail. This was critical to making the improvement sustainable, providing leadership and practitioner buy-in to the redefined process and the overall programme that followed.
A proactive knowledge transfer programme was developed and implemented, taking key findings and bidding tools into individual business areas. This programme was rolled out across a number of business units and has been delivered further across European businesses, supported by the development of certain tools.
Awareness of the importance of bidding and the quality of the bid document has grown, with attention in-creasingly being placed on selectivity of opportunity, targeting effort in areas that will contribute to the success of the bid.
The community of people whose skills have been enhanced includes bid directors and managers, designers and engineers, business developers and marketers, team secretaries and other team members.
Each individual business unit is encouraged to consider its success rate as a metric, and improvements have been seen in the overall outcome, with one particular team showing a success rate of 2 in 3.