When tendering for a contract, you will have to show the buyer that you can be relied upon to deliver the project to the required standard, on time. But how? This is where a quality statement comes in - a document that explains the skills, experience and expertise that you can bring to the job. Here's how to write one
When a buyer puts a project out to tender, the buyer looks at a whole range of different factors to help choose the right supplier. Key factors might include:
- Cost - the initial costs (ie the price paid to the supplier) and the lifetime costs. For example, initially more expensive but energy-efficient equipment might work out cheaper in the long run.
- Technical performance - for example, the materials used, how suitable the finished product is for its purpose, durability.
- Project management - including delivering the completed project on time and minimising any risks.
- Sustainability - the broader impact of the project on the environment, local community, and so on.
When you submit your bid, some of these elements can be included in a direct way: for example, you can quote a price and provide a specification of what you plan to deliver. But others are less straightforward: how do you show that you will finish the project on time, to the required standard?
What is a quality statement?
The quality statement deals with this problem. You may already have a quality statement for general use in your business or you can create one as part of your response to a tender. It should help to convince the buyer that you are the right supplier for their needs. A quality statement lays out your firm's working practices and commitment to providing a good service. It should explain how effective and efficient your methods of carrying out the project will be.
Quality statements and tenders
When creating your quality statement, bear in mind that you will need to customise it extensively for every tender. The Office of Government Commerce advises businesses: "There are no hard and fast rules about what type of quality statement might be asked for, as it very much depends on the type of procurement, the requirements, whether or not quality standards are an important issue, and part of the evaluation criteria. These are matters which departments need to consider on a case-by-case basis, taking account of value for money and EU regulations."
What does a quality statement include?
Typically, a quality statement covers issues such as:
- how you would approach and manage the project
- your quality management system, and whether you are accredited to any standards (eg ISO 9001 or any specific standards for your type of product)
- compliance with legal requirements, and your policies in areas such as health and safety, equality and sustainability
- the qualifications and experience of key personnel
- previous experience of similar projects, including references
Often, the buyer will tell you what information you need to include in your quality statement - for example, asking you to include a copy of your health and safety policy - and explain how your quality statement will be assessed.
Bear in mind that quality management systems are not the same as quality statements. A quality management system is a way of measuring your firm's internal processes, often with external accreditation from organisations such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). If you have systems or standards like this in place, you should include details as part of your quality statement, but you must also provide the other information you are asked for.
Supplying complete information is essential: if you do not, your bid will probably be ruled out, no matter how good it is in other areas.