In a competitive bid process, one unshakable truth is that everything you do will be seen by your competitors. This affects what you as a bidder do…and don’t do.
My trip to Hartford for a 30 minute meeting
I saw this in action many years ago when I was the product manager for Motorola’s Omnitrak product (subsequently Printrak BIS, subsequently part of MorphoBIS, subsequently part of MBIS). Connecticut and Rhode Island went out to bid for an two-state automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS). As part of the request for proposal process, the state of Connecticut scheduled a bidders’ conference. This was well before online videoconferencing became popular, so if you wanted to attend this bidders’ conference, you had to physically go to Hartford, Connecticut.
So I flew from California to Connecticut to attend the conference, and other people from other companies made the trip. That morning I drove from my hotel to the site of the conference (encountering a traffic jam much worse than the usual traffic jams back home), and I and the competitors assembled and waited for the bidders’ conference to begin.
The state representative opened the floor up to questions from bidders.
No one asked a question.
We were all eyeing each other, seeing what the other people were going to ask, and none of us were willing to tip our hands by asking a question ourselves.
Eventually one or two minor questions were asked, but the bidders’ conference ended relatively quickly.
There are a number of chess-like tactics related to what bidders do and don’t do during proposals. Perhaps some day I’ll write a Bredemarket Premium post on the topic and spill my secrets.
But for now, let’s just say that all of the bidders successfully kept their thoughts to themselves during that conference. And I got to visit a historical site, so the trip wasn’t a total waste.
And today, it’s refreshing to know that things don’t change.
When the list of interested suppliers appears to be null
Back on September 24, the Government of Canada issued an Invitation to Qualify (B7059-180321/B) for a future facial recognition system for immigration purposes. This was issued some time ago, but I didn’t hear about it until Biometric Update mentioned it this morning.
Now Bredemarket isn’t going to submit a response (even though section 2.3a says that I can), but Bredemarket can obviously help those companies that ARE submitting a response. I have a good idea who the possible players are, but to check things I went to the page of the List of Interested Suppliers to see if there were any interested suppliers that I missed. The facial recognition market is changing rapidly, so I wondered if some new names were popping up.
So what did I see when I visited the List of Interested Suppliers?
An invitation for me to become the FIRST listed interested supplier.
That’s right, NO ONE has publicly expressed interest in this bid.
And yes, I also checked the French list; no names there either.
There could be one of three reasons for this:
- Potential bidders don’t know about the Invitation to Qualify. This is theoretically possible; after all, Biometric Update didn’t learn about the invitation until two weeks after it was issued.
- No one is interested in bidding on a major facial recognition program. Yeah, right.
- Multiple companies ARE interested in this bid, but none wants to tip its hand and let competitors know of its interest.
My money is on reason three.
Hey, bidders. I can keep your secret.
As you may have gathered, as of Monday October 11 I am not part of any team responding to this Invitation to Qualify.
If you are a biometric vendor who needs help in composing your response to IRCC ITQ B7059-180321/B before the November 3 due date, or in framing questions (yes, there are chess moves on that also), let me know.
I won’t tell anybody.