We with Amy Boothman, Bid Manager, and Bev Lane, Bid Coordinator, at Ian Williams.
Ian Williams is one of the UK’s leading property services companies. It is at the forefront of providing services to the built environment with particular expertise in the social housing, education, and commercial sectors.
Before Contracts Advance how were you sourcing public sector contract/framework notices?
We were checking loads of portals, about 20 – 25 a day, alongside those we checked less regularly: it was really hard to manage. The paid-for provider we used at the time was hit and miss so we were always having to double-check that we had all the notices we needed.
What was your greatest frustration about working in this way?
It was the amount of time it took us. Alongside managing the bids themselves we had to spend time looking across all the portals to make sure we hadn’t missed notices, which we did.
What were the key factors which gave you the confidence to consider Contracts Advance?
When Contracts Advance called us we had been so busy that we hadn’t even been able to spend time thinking about streamlining our daily notification. The demonstration was great and showed us some immediate things which could help us right away – a single daily email alert being one of them!
We really liked the fact that Contracts Advance, and 7House, offered a one-stop-shop – be that for rationalising our daily notification, providing advance pipeline data or being able to ask one of the consultants from 7House a question regarding a specific bid.
It was clear that we were not just going to be another company on the books but that Contracts Advance could really support us, and wanted to be engaged with us as much as we needed.
How easy did you find the onboarding process and set up?
Client care was obviously a really important factor for us. Our client care manager was always there and on hand when we had a question. She helped us with identifying and refining our CPV Codes and Key Words and also with any questions we had around the functionality of the dashboards – it was a great experience.
What have you found the most valuable aspects of the service?
It was definitely the time saved; it trumps everything else for us. We’re not missing opportunities anymore and we’ve got more time to focus on the bids.
The advance pipeline has been really great. We run a report every month (showing live contracts/frameworks 6 months before the end) which goes to the Operations Directors across our 13 offices and this cascades down to the business managers for all the UK areas. The feedback from this has been good and now forms a key part of our internal process for the public sector.
We came to one of your Bid Managers Forums last year. We enjoyed being in a room with our peers from across all your clients and it was nice to be able to speak freely and share best practices both from outside our industry and with our suppliers. The 7House consultants gave some really useful sessions; rebidding was a key one for us and we took the outcomes and learnings back into Ian Williams as action points.
We’ve also found the Resource Centre and the whitepapers useful and your client care team keeps us up to date on when the latest one comes out.
What other Contracts Advance services have you explored?
We’re looking at Horizon + (for business planning and future-proofing bid content) and Spend+ (real-time spend analysis for both buyers and suppliers). We think that both of these will help us and also the Directors and business managers to win more from the public sector.
How happy are you to recommend Contracts Advance to a colleague or peer?
Definitely. We’ve spoken with a few companies as they considered the service and we’re pleased to see that they’re clients now. If you have anyone else in mind just let us know.