THE managing director of a company that specializes in helping businesses win public sector contracts has told how when communities and government had to adapt to the corona virus in the environment, the essence of contracts changed.
David Gray, managing director of AM Bid, based in Edinburgh, said that although the “tap was never fully turned off,” when the lockout went into effect, work rapidly diminished. And when companies reopened and contracts were offered again, Covid-related elements were used in most of the work.
Glasgow and Edinburgh councils offered just three contracts at one stage, although at any given time they usually had around a dozen on sale.
A year after he took on the job, Mr. Gray spoke.
He said the business was now experiencing an increased amount of work as some businesses pursued relationships with the public rather than the private sector, and was also developing new programs to help companies bid against the pandemic backdrop.
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He said, “We saw companies adding coronavirus specific requirements to their RFPs very early on, I would say after the outbreak of the pandemic.”
I assume that’s especially the case for contracts in the construction industry, where there is typically a lot of site work and customers are thinking about that, but also the unique health and safety implications.
“We’re working with facilities management and cleaning companies whose bid specifications suddenly included very specific coronavirus deep cleaning and the like to make sure environments are clean and safe to work in, and to try to contain the spread of the virus.”
The changing world offers the business more possibilities, but it still got a jolt.
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In the first five years, with continued growth in both headcount and revenue, Mr. Gray said, “We managed to grow the company. So we had big plans to continue that and looked on track for the first few months of the year, certainly through February, to exceed £ 1.1 million in sales this year.”
“I had some new workers recruited as well. So we are continuing the growth story and continuing the journey, and most importantly, for our clients, we are sustaining our winning rates. We have a winning score of 80 percent.
“Things were going well.”
In early March, a business trip to Holland revealed how Covid was starting to have an effect on Europe.
“He said, “I told all workers the next week to plan indefinitely to work from home, because that was going to be the way we were going.
“So it was really noticeable after that. First and foremost, there has been a decrease in government contracts, and because we are a specialist in government contracting and bidding, we rely to some degree on a pipeline of opportunities for our customers to bid on these new contracts.
But that began to go down, as did consumer requests. In that respect, we were no different from any other businesses. Our income was going down.
“After being up 30 percent from October to February, we then noticed from March to May that we had 50 percent less revenue than the year before.”
As business has picked up, he said that meetings have practically continued and new facets of the organization have been added.
These include “a customized series of modules for public sector bidding, training that is either done online or eventually in person when it is safe to do so.”
Mr. Gray said, “These modules are aimed at people and organizations with varying levels of experience in public sector bidding and tendering.”
“We’re sharing our experience and expertise over the years, training organizations and individuals on what to expect in public sector bidding, particularly how it differs from private sector bidding,” he said.
He said, “We’re just trying to give them the skills and the knowledge so they can access those tender streams,”
We would also provide a public sector service for companies that do not have internal resources to compose the tenders, where we can go into the company’s