We sat down with Lesley Lightbody, Customer Contracts & Pricing Team Leader at Aquilant.
Aquilant is a leading provider of specialist healthcare and scientific products and services, providing outsourced sales, marketing, distribution and engineering for the medical and scientific sectors.
Before Contracts Advance how were you sourcing public sector contract / framework notices?
We were using a well known supplier which was not meeting our needs.
What was your greatest frustration about working in this way?
Our biggest frustration was the amount of unrelated tender notices that we had to go through to find the tenders that were applicable to our Business Units, also we could not stipulate a generic email, so if the person who had been nominated to receive the notification was on holiday we missed some key tenders. Multiple email recipients and profiles cost us additional money which was very hard to justify.
What were the key factors which gave you the confidence to consider Contracts Advance?
What we liked was the ability to narrow the search function so that only relevant tender notices were sent through. The client care team at Contracts Advance have been so helpful here. Having access to multiple profiles, as many email recipients as we needed, and their ongoing support without additional costs was a breath of fresh air.
We found the advance pipeline, live contracts and frameworks going out 5 years, which Contracts Advance built to our specification with upcoming expiry dates 6 months out, very useful. This has enabled the Territory Managers to both pre-qualify and pre-bid engage with the commissioning teams to ensure we fully understood future requirements.
How easy did you find the onboarding process and set up?
It was so easy, we literally sent a copy of our keywords and CPV codes and Contracts Advance did the rest.
What have you found the most valuable aspects of the service?
Having the support of a company and client care team who really took the time to understand and help us with our requirements has helped me, and the team, hugely.
The advance pipeline has been invaluable to us and also the ability to send to a generic email, this has meant that holidays, sickness or out of office meetings are no longer a problem to us.
The consultancy from Contracts Advance focusing on best practice for using the advance data was fantastic. Both the bid team and Territory Managers now have a clear, sustainable process for both pre-qualification and pre-bid engagement but also on how to capitalise on the information gained from engaging with the commissioners ahead of the tendering process beginning.
What other Contracts Advance services have you explored?
After the first year with Contracts Advance we bought a two-year package which included an ITT Sense Check from 7House. This has been used successfully on a critical tender and I will be taking advantage of future ITT support and consultancy.
How happy are you to recommend Contracts Advance to a colleague or peer?
I have already recommended Contract Advance to my colleague in Ireland and before we could sign the (new) contract sold the ‘virtues’ to our SLT (Senior Leadership Team), so I would happily recommend to anyone.