An Invitation to Tender (ITT) is an invitation from a business or organisation to tender, or offer, a specified product or service in a competitive situation against competing suppliers. This process is conducted in a formal fashion, with predetermined timescales. If a tender is not received by the submission deadline it will probably not be accepted. The invitation to tender will involve the submission of certain information about the company tendering – annual accounts, insurances, certification, business methodology and so on.
Tenders will be requested for submission by a strict deadline in a prescribed format. Queries regarding the tender will be permitted in a designated way, with all parties being advised of questions and responses.There will be a number of questions in the Invitation to Tender that are described as mandatory and marked on a pass or fail basis. These may require supporting evidence, such as copies of annual accounts. Any tenderer failing any of these questions will be prohibited from proceeding further. There will also be a number of questions that require a narrative response. These responses will be marked against scoring criteria disclosed in advance. Finally there will be a requirement to submit proposed prices, or for a financial proposition. This will also be scored. Once all responses have been marked the scores will be totaled, with certain questions being given greater weighting. Price and quality of response will be factored into the total score for each tender submission.
Only companies scoring above a certain level will proceed, and a short list may be drawn up comprising the top scoring companies. These companies may be invited to present and / or to enter into discussion with the tendering organisation.
The Invitation to Tender may be preceded by a Pre-qualification Questionnaire (PQQ). This will focus on the mandatory elements of the tender, and maybe the questions about methodology, but will not include pricing. The PQQ is designed to produce a short list of companies who will receive an Invitation to Tender.