Achieve maximum savings with a fair, transparent and ethical procurement process

Ian Holliday, head of commercial development at Pelican, explains how schools can achieve best value through professional catering tendering

When it comes to the tendering of catering purchases, many schools are unsure how to achieve the maximum savings without reducing quality or service, while still following a fair, ethical and transparent procurement process.

Pelican’s expertise in foodservice purchasing and professional tendering is unique in the marketplace.

Together we’re supporting people who care about working in the right way when it comes to procurement. We have a team with CIPS-qualified procurement experts who manage all aspects of formal food and non-food tendering on behalf of our clients, adhering to procurement legislation and the highest standards of professional tendering and supply chain practice.

Ian Holliday, head of commercial development at Pelican, explains how professional tendering helps schools to achieve the best value from the market in the most ethical way.

Going to tender is the best way to test your pricing against market pricing

Q. What are the benefits of professional tendering?

There are many advantages in using the professional tender process as your procurement method of choice for approaching the market – these include:

Due diligence

It can help to provide the best possible value-for-money outcome from procurement activity.


While generating financial savings is important for all schools, this shouldn’t be at the detriment of service levels – by incorporating specific service KPIs in the tender documentation, suppliers will be aware of the standards you wish to achieve.


When requesting the market to respond to your tender, it is important to stipulate the quality of products you require – again, via a tender you have the opportunity to evaluate product quality, as well as service and price.

Competitive value

As a number of suppliers compete for the business on offer, the tender process delivers the most competitive value from the marketplace.

Market awareness

It assists companies in maintaining an understanding of what alternatives are available in the market.


It not only helps to keep current suppliers mindful regarding their terms of service, pricing and quality of products, but it means suppliers submit proposals based on your specific requirements, and not on their own terms.

Best fit

Going to tender is the best way to test your pricing against market pricing. Plus, you can invite best fit suppliers for various categories, whether the need is for national supply or you use local or regional suppliers to suit your business.

Set detailed Service Level Agreements

You establish your key performance indicators, quality standards and service levels at the outset, meaning you are in a better position to negotiate terms as suppliers can see what your needs are from day one.

Q. What are the overall benefits of adopting professional tender practices?

We follow professional procurement practices which enable schools to demonstrate that their processes and practices affecting suppliers are professional with respect to:

Equal treatment

Ensuring that the procurement process gives equal opportunity to every supplier.


The procurement process adopted is open to scrutiny.


Ensuring suppliers are not treated unfairly.


Ensuring that smaller or local suppliers are not disadvantaged by lengthy procedures.

Mutual recognition

Ensuring that every suitable supplier has the right to bid for the business.

The benefit of adopting these practices are:

Compliance with legal and financial obligations

Achieving financial savings that can then be re-invested in frontline services

Ensuring that all goods or services purchased are fit for purpose

Ensuring that suppliers deliver as agreed and stipulated within a Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Q. What does a professional tender do to show you savings?

The professional tender process can include consolidation; at present you could be buying your products from lots of suppliers. By purchasing from multiple suppliers, the value of your purchases to each may be relatively small, and as such you may not necessarily be benefiting from the best purchasing value. The tender process consolidates your purchases, leveraging total scale on a sole supplier or a few suppliers that best fit your needs.

In addition to financial savings, there are two other important criteria to make the process holistic: service and quality.

To summarise, the three key areas that are being evaluated in all tenders are price (the commercials), service (to ensure goods are delivered at the right time, to the right place as agreed) and quality (value for money) – to ensure you are purchasing the right product, at the right cost.

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