Thierry Henry and the Tender

Thiery Henry Goal v Ireland


Remember that feeling after Thierry Henry handled the ball and everyone saw it..

We all knew when we got just 4 days notice for this tender that the whole process was stacked against us..

How in the name of God can you turn around a decent plan in just 4 days? – this request was challenging and it was designed to work against everyone except who was lined up to get it, probably who had the contract already?

This was the third year when this contract was out for “tender”.

Year 1 – we put what we felt was a really good plan together – we put huge effort into the proposal. In any normal pitch situation we will be invited in for a briefing where we can probe the client, get an understanding of the issues and put a decent plan together. In a tender situation you don’t have this opportunity.

We weren’t even invited to present …hmmm, that’s unusual – the plan we submitted was really strong and priced competitively. Maybe the other plans were so much better that we didn’t even deserve the opportunity to present?

Year 2  – let’s dig even deeper. Our plan was really strong, priced competitively and once again we didn’t even get a chance to present. Hmmm.. that’s unusual, were we that far off the pace again? I was surprised so this time I carefully monitored the event and the media coverage to see what “magic” was delivered to the event that we were not able to provide – to be honest it seemed to be more of the same as every other year, no new ideas and more of the same formula repeated.

Ok ….this time, lets request a meeting in advance of the tender process so we can meet the team and have that opportunity to get a proper debrief. This meeting went well and we seemed to actually address all of their key issues in our previous plan – there was no point pointing that out! It was clear from this briefing meeting that the whole project had gone stale and needed a shake-up. We stated clearly that we wanted a fair crack of the whip this year.

Year 3 – We get four days notice, and they are operating to a tight budget …hmmm, that’s unfair and the launch date is nearly here.

Let’s make a choice – do we bow out (making it easy for whoever) and not accept the challenge or do we drop what we are working on, dig deep and ask the team to put everything into turning around a plan within the few days? Let’s go for it..this is a contract for a project we really wanted to work on.

We put everything into this plan, give a great price well within the stated tight budget and sure enough we get the “Dear John” letter and  once again not even the opportunity to present.

Was our plan that inferior?

I’m not bragging but when Fuzion get a fair crack of the whip we win more than our share of accounts – here we weren’t even worthy of a “look-in”. We are really busy, we have grown our business winning lots of great new contracts from Irish and international clients but this is a particular one that we were determined wanted to win.

While we pretend to be following guidelines and giving everyone a “fair” chance a lot of this appears to be window dressing and the usual suspects normally end up getting these contracts, because they always have ..this right must earned fairly.

How was that for a rant !!

Must make a cuppa, forget about Thierry and put my head down .. I have way too much to do!

A late addition to the blog post compliments of Brendan Palmer – this is a great YouTube clip

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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13 Responses to “Thierry Henry and the Tender”

  1. Sam Kidd Says:

    Tendering is such a painful process, and after reading your post it just reminds me how much I don’t miss this type of work. The biggest problem with tendering is that it’s more than often a done deal already. But due to stupid rules and regs a company has they must put the job out there just to get in a number of quotes only to pick the original company they have been speaking to.

    We have all been on both sides of this process, sure I even remember picking the other companies I wanted to pitch against us for some jobs. I wish there was a better and fairer way of handle requests for new work as this whole process is flawed really.

    Wining new work is all about building relationships with clients, something that won’t happen over a few pages, which I guess is the main reason the whole tendering system fecked in my view.

    • Greg Canty Says:

      You are spot on Sam – it definitely seems to be the way it works. It is a huge waste for everyone – the amount of time we have wasted on the project I mentioned is really serious in particular considering we had no real chance of ever getting a look in.

      You would love to ask the question – do you want a real tender or jut something to fulfil your legal obligations?

  2. Susan Says:

    Hi Greg ,Interesting reading and I feel your disappointment the point that resonated with me was that you requested a face to face meeting with the team in advance and in spite of the digital way we all work you cannot beat face to face interaction and people still buy people!I suspect they’re unwilling to change and are stuck in their BOX whereas Fuzion were never in a box in the first place.Keep up the good work and your constant communication for us all,don’t let negetivity get the better of you.
    and whiile I am at it Have a nice Christmas!

    • Greg Canty Says:

      Thanks Sue …I try not to go to the dark side too much but this one got the better if me!! Thanks for the feedback, thanks for reading my ramblings and have a great Christmas, Greg

  3. Brendan Palmer Says:

    Hi Greg,
    We have all been there, unfortunately you have to quote because if you didn’t you might also spend a lot of time wondering “Would we have got it this time, if we had quoted”. In business we have to kiss a lot of frogs before we find the prince and I’m certain Fusion have many Princes on the books. Think of it as their loss

    One question, were you talking to the owners of the business, or the people/person who dictates a three quote scenario? If yes, you are probably wasting your time, if not, why not go over the team’s head and let their superior(s) know what’s happening. Nothing to lose at this stage. Unfortunately, this approach can lead to the messenger being shot, even if the team gets it in the neck. Still revenge served cold and all that………..

    Just to cheer you up and seeing as you headed the article with Thierry Henry, here’s a YouTube clip that should put a smile on your face

  4. Fergal Bell Says:

    What a frustrating process Greg. It seems as if there’s not much more you can do. Brendan’s point about trying to find another route in might be worth following up (if you haven’t been dealing directly with the decision maker). From the history so far it sounds as if it’s not going to leave you worse off.

  5. supplyIE (@supplyIE) Says:

    This is a disgrace Greg and a good example why most SME’s don’t bother tendering. You should consider the free Tender Review Services. The details are as follows;

    What is the Tender Review Service(TRS)?
    The TRS is a component of a cross border research project on procurement. It consists of a free evaluation service that assesses your previously unsuccessful public sector tenders and offers support to improve your tendering strategy.

    How much does the TRS cost?
    Nothing, we are providing this service free of charge.

    How does the TRS work?
    You send us one of your previously unsuccessful public sector tender bids.
    Our tender review specialists will evaluate your failed tender bid and produce a thorough, easy to read and unbiased report.
    We will send you the report highlighting any errors and potentially weak points in your tender bid strategy. The report will give you a guideline to improve your next tender bid.

    What are the advantages of using the TRS?
    It provides honest and constructive feedback, from the procurer’s point of view, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your tender strategy and providing solutions where needed. It will improve your odds of winning public sector tenders and is completely risk and cost free.

    Is my organisation eligible?
    Yes, If you are new to or have failed to win public sector tenders in the past and are an SME or Third Sector organisation, with your head office situated in Dublin, Waterford, Kilkenny, Meath, Kildare, Wexford, Wicklow, Carlow, South Tipperary, Cork or Kerry.

    How do I apply?
    Please email us: or call us on 01-700-6904/6044 for further information.

    Hope this helps,

  6. A Tale of Two Granddads | Fuzion Blog Says:

    […] but that’s why Greg is right to keep writing, good and sometimes griping, as he did in today’s blog post.  I mightn’t always agree with him, but he is a rebel in his own way and he’s […]

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