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Should every company be able to participate in public procurement?

Should every company be able to participate in public procurement?

Glimstedt’s panel at the Tallinn Entrepreneurship Day focused on the topic “The possibility of every company participating in public procurement”. The aim of the panelists with diverse backgrounds was to encourage companies to participate in public procurement and to advise on ways to bring your best solution to the supplier.

Panelists Birgit Vilippus (Enterprise Estonia, Procurement Unit Sectoral Manager), Neeme Kass (Conmeo OÜ), Estella Põllu (Ministry of Finance, Department of Public Procurement and State Aid) ja Glimstedt public procurement team represented by Ringo Heidmets and Maria Veermäe, sought an answer to the question whether every company should be able to participate in public procurement. Here are the main points from discussion.

What to keep in mind when participating in public procurement?

There are procurements of very different sizes and conditions, so a company of any size and experience can find a suitable procurement. The purpose of the Public Procurement Act is to favor competition and also consider new entrants to the market.

Prior to participation at the public procurement:

  • Take the time to familiarise yourself with the content, terms, duration and schedule of the public procurement’
  • Assess the risks and your options
  • If the conditions are not reasonable or understandable, ask the supplier for reasons and additional questions
  • Do not believe the myths of public procurement, but take the time to familiarise yourself with the list of procurements and the terms and conditions

Large procurements and risks:

  • If necessary, find cooperation partners to participate in the procurement, but consider that they must also actually participate and cooperate
  • If you represent a larger company, you can also participate as a manufacturer’s representative, especially if the volume and responsibility is greater

Participation in a tender with a new product or service:

  • Start-up companies are invited to participate in tenders
  • If you are the provider of a new product or service, take the time to introduce it
  • The procurer conducts market research, organises information days and participates in the events of industry associations – be active and present your news value and special features to the procurer

Procurement is a long-term process, therefore the latest information does not always reach the procurement conditions.

If you have decided to participate:

  • Participation in public procurement is made convenient and fast with the help of technical solutions, Public procurement register (Riigihangete register) is a necessary aid and source of information for the provider. There are instructions and a helpline for using the register. NB! In addition to the procurement register, familiarise yourself with the procurement plans on the suppliers’ websites – small procurements are not in the register, as they are small purchases.
  • Register as a provider in the register and select the areas of interest using CPV codes. The CPV code is a public procurement classifier, i.e. a unified classification system applied to public procurement to harmonize the references used by procurers to describe contract objects. When choosing CPV codes (i.e. the procurements of the field you are interested in), it is worth marking a wider and more codes rather than fewer, so that the right procurements reach you (https://hanked.ee/cpv-koodid).
  • When working through the documentation, start with the technical description to find the tenders that are right for you
  • Perform a thorough analysis of the qualification conditions, analyze the interaction of the conditions (procurement procedure, evaluation criteria, qualification conditions and contract execution) to avoid surprises. If necessary, ask for free advice from the Ministry of Finance or legal services from lawyers in the field.
  • When deciding to participate in the tender, do everything in time, ask for clarifications with sufficient time, not a few days before the deadline for submission of tenders. Please take the time to verify the accuracy of the information you have provided rather than taking into account that the information cannot be corrected.
  • Don’t take too many risks.

In summary – should every company be able to participate in public procurement?

Every entrepreneur has the right and the opportunity to participate in public procurement, but the contractor’s task is to ensure that the result is high-quality and balanced.

By setting well-thought-out requirements for the products and services to be procured and excluding underbids (essentially making sure that the contract can be successfully fulfilled even at the offered price), the basis for a successful outcome can be created.

Glimstedt experts Ringo Heidmets and Maria Veermäe provide advice on issues related to public procurement.

Photo: Mats Õun / Tallinna Ettevõtluspäev

Authors: Maria Veermäe, Ringo Heidmets