The tendering process is long and sometimes quite complex. If you’re unsure where to start, the best place is at the beginning, with understanding an Expression Of Interest (EOI).
What is an EOI?
An EOI is one of the initial transactional documents shared by the Buyer and Supplier during the early stages of the procurement process. It is an approach to market allowing the Buyer to gauge interest in tendering. It also provides potential Suppliers with the opportunity to express their genuine interest in providing goods or services. The EOI provides the Buyer with an opportunity to respond to prospective Suppliers and also eliminate those who do not have the capabilities, both technical or financial, to undertake the proposed work. I like to think of it as similar to submitting a covering letter and CV when applying for a job!
Why are EOIs used?
They are widely used in Australia for a variety of purposes, including:
- Leases for property
- To select operators for cafes, restaurants, canteens and other retail outlets
- Used as a method registering contractors or sub-contractors for a subsequent tender
- To form a panel of pre-qualified contractors for subsequent works
- Used for procurement of goods and services of a low value where a formal tender process is not required
- Large scale projects
- To gather information to assist the Buyer in preparation of tender documents
- To create a list of suppliers to invite to tender.
EOI or Request For Tender (RFT)? What’s the difference?
The key difference between an EOI and an RFT, except for lease agreements, is that there is typically no requirement for you to submit a price for the scope works. The Buyer may offer information about their available budget for the goods/services and ask for indicative pricing from the Supplier The general intent in issuing an Expression of Interest is not to immediately enter into a contract with the successful respondent/s but rather enter some form of negotiation or process with the prospect of leading into a tender.
In the case of a tender, your bid can be accepted, and you can then be legally bound to enter a contract for the scope of work defined. This is typically not the case for an EOI. However, do be sure to read the EOI documents carefully, particularly the EOI conditions, to understand your legal obligations when submitting a response.
You will find a range of similar characteristics between EOIs and Tenders which include:
- A written request document, but significantly shorter than that for a tender
- Responses are solicited from more than one organisation
- Pre-defined evaluation criteria and a formal evaluation process
- A fixed time to respond
- Scope of work is often defined but in significantly less detail than a tender
- Contractual conditions defined for participation in the EOI
What do I need to include in an EOI?
- Business registration number
- Company profile
- Capability statement
- Whether you propose to subcontract
- Any conditions affecting the price
- Copyrights/Intellectual Property Rights
- Additional information the client has specifically asked to provide in the EOI
First impressions count
Buyers will typically use EOIs to shortlist Suppliers for a tender that has yet to be released, so this is an excellent time to put your best foot forward. While writing your EOI make sure to include specific examples of how your offering will add value to the Buyer and demonstrate your capacity to produce innovative design solutions to handle the project requirements. The most effective way to do this is by discussing your previous experience working on similar projects within the relevant industry. Keep it clear and to the point
Are you interested in learning more about the different stages of procurement beyond EOIs? Click here to check out our blog explaining all the tendering terms you need to know!
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