The defence industry is an innovative, evolving and substantial industry with a range of opportunities for companies large and small to secure contracts. Bids and tenders are an inherent part of winning defence contracts. The Department of Defence is the Australian Government’s single largest procurer of products and services with a substantial spend proportional to Australia’s GDP.
With the Department of Defence being a substantial and wide-ranging organisation in its own right, defence tenders generally cover a broader scope than your traditional military good such as tanks and fighter jets.
Our team has extensive experience in helping businesses submit and secure defence contracts. Whether you are an international submarine manufacturer bidding for a billion-dollar government contract, or a local property maintenance company based in Canberra trying to secure a maintenance contract on a defence facility, our team is ready to assist you with your defence tenders including complex ASDEFCON tenders.
With a presence in Australia, USA, Germany, Japan, as well as in Singapore and England, we have the resources and capacity to help you submit an exemplary response.
Our Defence Industry Experience
Our team has been involved in securing contracts with the following government departments:
- Australian Department of Defence
- The Australian Defence Force
- The Royal Australian Air Force
- The Royal Australian Army
- Australian Signals Directorate
- Defence Housing Australia
- Ministry of Defence (NZ)
- Ministry of Defence (UK)
- New Zealand Defence Force
Our experience includes working on and securing bids, proposals and tenders for a range of services including:
- Collection, sale and disposal of military spared
- Counter explosive ordnance equipment and services
- Provision of diving equipment
- Training and simulation services and systems
- Vehicle consumables
- Weapons, ammunition and associated parts
- Healthcare, mental health and PTSD services
- Telecommunications services
- Parachute Services
Tips to win defence contracts
Detail Quality Assurance
If your quality assurance systems and processes are independently certified it is critical that you detail this. Not only do you need to detail what industry bodies you are accredited with – you also need to talk about:
- How you monitor and quality control your service / supply to ensure you consistently deliver an exemplary service.
- Detail the systems and processes to ensure your service is timely.
- How you deal with and manage any delays and issues if and when they arise.
- Your complaints management system and dispute resolution procedures.
- Your ability and track record of acting on previous quality audits and implementing relevant recommendations.
Focus on Health and Safety
It’s no secret that the Australian Government as a whole is big on health and safety. They are generally risk-averse in their approach to procurement and your bid will need to reassure them your businesses will work to the highest health and safety standards with respect to your staff and other stakeholders.
Provide evidence of your staff training and health and safety-related qualifications in your bid. If you have a comprehensive WHS management system, append it and explain how it has been tailored to the requirements of the bid. For example, a standard WHS management system will not suffice for a company undertaking work at heights and will not put your bid in a winning position.
Ensure your Transition In Plan in comprehensive
You will need to develop and put forward a comprehensive transition in and mobilisation plan for your service or product. These are also called implementation plans. Remember to ensure it is tailored, and details the resources you will be allocated to the project as well as how you have identified potential risks.
Put forward mobilisation risk assessments and talk about previous projects which you have successfully implemented. Detail what challenges were overcome during the implementation process and how you overcame them.
Your transition in or mobilisation plan needs to clearly demonstrate that you have thought through the entirety of the mobilisation including any pilot schemes, kick-off, data transfer and privacy, resourcing and transition out (if required).
Defence tenders often focus on the fundamental principles of the Defence Force and departments. Proposals and bids need to be drafted in industry focused language and in a way that sells your services by addressing key issues. For example, if the Australian Defence Force is selling off a fleet of old trucks, this would usually go through a direct sales process as opposed to a tender process. On the other hand, if the ADF or Department of Defence was purchasing new equipment, then a tender process is what to expect. In this case, they will have subject matter experts reviewing the documentation to gain an understanding of the benefits of the equipment. Post sales service and quality are critical, and often outweigh pricing depending on the type of tender.
It’s important to write with confidence and to write to win. You need to clearly articulate your key points of difference, and position your organisation as a credible supplier to the defence industry. For example, if you have a track record of supplying other government departments, focus on this, and emphasis your capability to adhere to the additional security and other requirements of the defence industry.
It’s equally important to write in the active voice, and present a convincing argument as to why you should be the winning tender. This is where you want to combine your technical information and supporting documentation with your story, and how you will deliver. Remember, with most defence contracts, there is a strong focus on security, credibility, after-sales support and of course quality. Politics comes into it also, however, that is a topic in itself.
Write confidently, include evidence, and convince the review panel that you are the right supplier for the contract.
Clarify and answer comprehensively
Another key point in developing a response is compliance. Answer every question, and if you are not sure, ask. Asking questions of the procurement panel throughout the tender process is widely accepted and considered the norm. They often give you the opportunity to show your product or service knowledge, by asking insightful questions and developing engagement with the procurement personnel. Whichever way you consider tender responses, it is critical to comply with all regulatory requirements. If there are any compliance issues in the response, your bid or proposal will generally be dismissed. It’s important to note and consider that for transparency reasons, nearly all of the questions your post will also be posted to your competitors with the responses. Therefore, don’t include unnecessary information in your tenders.
Once you understand the competitive landscape, comply with the tender requirements, and have a good grasp of their needs, it’s time to make your tender response shine! Write in a compelling writing style and build and use informative graphics. Quotes, testimonials and ‘action captions’ are also critical to make your proposal standout. Finally, be client centric and keep your response client focused. Defence bids are generally prescriptive, however, there is often scope to add graphics and ensure that your bids reflect graphics and infographics best practice. Where you are providing solutions to complex problems, make sure you take the time to work with your graphic designers and create images that are compelling and informative.
Tick the boxes
There are lots of them. Consider compliance with security clearances, verifying suppliers and other issues such as insurance and more. Take note of the requirements of the tender and ensure that your business or organisation complies with the correct regulations and policies. Security clearance is often required and you need to ensure that you are prepared to provide the relevant documentation and certificates.
Manage the process
In all our experience completing bids, contracts and tenders for defence industry organisations large and small, one of the key challenges is project managing the response itself. In addition to the bid team (writer, coordinators and illustrators, there are generally a range of internal stakeholders and external consultants who are critical to bringing the bid together. For larger contracts, the bid process can go on for over two years with hundreds of personnel involved in the bid.
It’s critical to actively project manage the process. You need to have key responsibilities and accountabilities outlined, as well as ensure draft deadlines are in place. It’s critical to have everything organised from the start, to ensure a seamless bid development process.
Using the Department of Defence / AUSDEFCON Language
Although the DOD terminology, acronyms and abbreviations can be hard to get your head around – it is important to get them absolutely correct. There is a glossary of acronyms that can provide assistance and we generally recommend a ctrl-f for all the relevant acronyms prior to submission. One of the reasons this is so important is that the procurement team live and breathe this terminology. Making errors often frustrates them and puts them in a bad frame of mind when reviewing your bid or proposal.
Leverage on your personnel
If you have former defence personnel that are part of your organisation, put them forward. Talk about your experience to deliver, project manage and implement. If you are supplying weapons systems, your ability to provide technical training will be critical and highly regarded. It is important to take not of your personnel’s skills and experience and leverage them to your advantage.
Why engage us?
Our Director, Jason Cooney, brings over fourteen years bid and tender writing experience to the role. He leads our team off four in-house consultants who are supported by over 20 contractors, who will deliver tender excellence. Our team have helped companies from all industries win Australian defence force tenders and submit department of defence tenders and bids. Our experience extends to include defence IT tenders as well as traditional military hardware.
We’re tender writing specialists. Where you have in-house bid writing teams, we bring a fresh set of ours to the process as well as insights into industry best practice. We’re passionate about graphics and using infographics to clearly convey complex solutions.
Our in-house project management processes have been refined to ensure we can manage tenders and bids spanning over many years.
Contacts with Government
We specialise in writing winning bids and proposals. That’s why we can’t help our clients lobby government or communicate on a direct to government level. However, we love to help our clients.
We work with consultants who specialise in that field who help our clients lobby government for different contracts. It’s another world, not our world, but we’re happy to point you and your business in the right direction.
Call our team today
We have the expertise, skillset and experience to assist with the full range of Defence tenders.
To employ the services of a consultant with extensive experience in writing defence tenders, contact Jason Cooney on +61 (0) 410 448 770 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Our team are based in Sydney, Australia and have helped companies across the globe including in the United States, Saudi Arabia, USSR, Japan and Germany. We assist clients across Australia including in Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin, Perth and Western Australia, South Australia (including Adelaide and all regional areas) and Hobart.