Discussion about the public sector’s needs for your goods and services
Be active – examine the need in the public sector for your products and services, and how these are purchased. By having a continuous dialogue, you will have an opportunity to present your offer and proposed solutions. But respect the fact that procuring organisations are prohibited from favouring one supplier over another.
The information on this page concerns procurements in accordance with
- the Public Procurement Act (LOU)
- the Act on Procurement in the Water, Energy, Transport and Postal Services Sectors (LUF)
Ascertain the needs in the market
Investigate which municipalities, regions, state agencies or publicly owned companies that may have need for your goods, services or public works and how these are normally procured. A simple way of ascertaining this may be to study previous procurements advertised by procuring organisations and to request to see current agreements. It also makes it easier to understand the purchasing needs within the public sector.
Marketing your products or services
In order to be able to market your goods, services or public works to the public sector, you must act in good time. If a procuring organisation has not yet started to plan a new procurement that will happen far into the future it may be too early. When the procuring organisation has already conducted a needs analysis and determined the requirements for their procurement, it may be too late.
You can contact procuring organisations between procurements to present your business and inform them about completed or ongoing contracts. A continuous dialogue is instructive to both parties. Sometimes it might be the case that the time for contacting a procuring organisation is less appropriate, for example if a procurement process has been initiated. Therefore, you should respect the procuring organisation when they inform you that contacts are not appropriate at the moment.
Respect the fact that procuring organisations are prohibited from favouring one supplier over another, on the basis that all suppliers shall be treated equally. For that reason, procuring organisations are often careful in their contacts with suppliers, particularly during the procurement phase and right before the procurement process.
Initiate a dialogue!
Initiate a dialogue with the procuring organisation before procurement, and contribute with expertise within your field. Help the authority to show what the market has to offer.
Contact with procuring organisations
When you contact procuring organisations you have an opportunity to receive information, including:
- when any current contracts within your field expire
- when the next procurement process will be initiated
- who currently has a contract with the procuring organisation and the requirements placed on the supplier and the provided goods, services or public works
- the going rate for the current contract.
This information can sometimes also be found on the websites of the procuring organisations. The principle of public access to official records applies to state agencies, municipalities and regions.
Remember the principle of public access
In public procurement, there are various rules in place governing the release of documents for procuring organisations that are subject to this principle, as well as for procuring organisations not subject to the principle.
Procuring organisations frequently need to contact companies in the relevant market in order to ascertain what requirements are relevant to include in various procurements. They are also interested in ensuring effective competition in procurements, as each procurement is unique and carried out based on the procuring organisation’s needs and circumstances.
For this reason, it is not unusual for them to send invitations to information meetings where they present planned procurements.
This is normally done in four different ways:
- physical information meetings
- one-on-one meetings
- request for information (RFI)
- external referrals.
Physical information meetings
Procuring organisations can invite potential suppliers to information meetings where they present planned procurements. It may be anything from large gatherings with plenty of attendees to meetings with only a small number of stakeholders. The meetings may be held in the form of traditional information meetings or as webinars or workshops.
In one-on-one meetings, the procuring organisation meets with one supplier at a time before an upcoming procurement. The purpose is to gain a deeper understanding about the conditions and development potential for the product or service in order to be able to draw up an accurate procurement.
- If no information meetings have been scheduled, you can, as a supplier, convey your interest in having the procuring organisation issue an invitation to such a meeting.
- It is the procuring organisation that decides on the format for such a discussion.
Request for Information (RFI)
It is common practice for a procuring organisation to send out an RFI before a procurement. This involves sending written questions to suppliers and industry organisations. By responding to an RFI, a supplier can convey relevant comments about the procurement, present their company’s experience and ability to come up with new, innovative solutions. The RFI shall be structured and the questions linked to information that is required for the upcoming procurement.
An external referral involves the procuring organisation sending the tender documents, or parts thereof, to suppliers and industry organisations before publishing their procurement. This gives suppliers an opportunity to provide feedback on the setup of the procurement and the drafting of the tender documents linked to requirements and conditions.