How to Win More Contracts for the Supply of Corporate Uniforms


If you're a business operating in the Fashion and Textile industry, and are partially or fully capable of providing corporate uniforms to other companies, this article will be of interest to you if your aim is to win more contracts.

Every three years or so, the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) goes out to the Irish market to renew its Single Supplier Framework Agreement for the supply of corporate uniforms to public sector organisations within Ireland. But, you probably know that already if you've your ear to the ground.

the next Request for Tenders (RFT) for the supply of corporate uniforms to the public sector is tabled for September

What you might find newsworthy is that the State has indicated that the next Request for Tenders (RFT) for the supply of corporate uniforms to the public sector is tabled for September this year. As such, we thought that you might find it useful to anticipate and outline the basis that could be used by the Irish State in evaluating and awarding proposals submitted by suppliers from within the clothing industry.

It’s just over a month left to September, so if you want to enhance your chances of submitting a winning bid, now is the time to start getting your thoughts together. This article outlines:

  1. The services required from clothing suppliers;
  2. What suppliers may need to show the OGP that they have the capacity and capability to complete the job over the term of the contract; and
  3. What the State may be looking for when evaluating qualified bidders.

The Nature of Clothing Services Required

In a nutshell, we believe that the OGP RFT will state that the Irish government is looking for a single supplier within the garment industry who can:

  1. Manufacture, store and provide corporate uniforms for both male and female public sector workers; and
  2. Provide onsite measurement and fitting services throughout Ireland.

The types of corporate clothing and business wear wanted will probably include:

  1. Rainsuit coats and trousers;
  2. Softshell jackets;
  3. Suit jackets and trousers;
  4. Shirts;
  5. Blouses;
  6. Neckties (wrap around and clip on);
  7. Scarfs; and
  8. Jumpers.

If you’re able to provide some but not all of the clothing services outlined above, you should consider forming a consortium with one or more small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) or larger organisations who can assist with any aspect of the service. Remember, the service involves the measurement, fitting, manufacture, supply and delivery of stock size corporate uniforms to both male and female public sector workers. So, there are various configurations that could be used for a successful consortium. Check out the Supply of Corporate Uniforms business opportunity recently published on our website.

Qualification Criteria for the Supply of Corporate Uniforms

In public procurement competitions, buying organisations typically stipulate an exhaustive set of criteria that they plan to use to determine the suitability of candidate suppliers in providing the nature of the services being tendered. You’ll find such qualification criteria in the OGP RFT documentation made available to prospective suppliers. Private sector organisations could also adopt an identical procurement approach when contracting goods and services from suppliers.

Only the shortlisted qualified proposals will be considered for the award of the contract

For the supply of corporate uniforms, the Irish State will want to establish that the winning supplier is:

  1. Financially and economically sound;
  2. Experienced in providing corporate uniforms; and
  3. Capable of providing high-quality fabrics as needed by the Irish State.

Bids will be first assessed to determine if they meet the tender compliance requirements, and thereafter the qualifying criteria. Only the shortlisted qualified proposals will be considered for the award of the contract.

Determining Financially and Economically Sound Clothing Suppliers

In the past, the OGP requested that bidders have a minimum annual turnover of approximately €500,000 in each of the preceding three years.

The preferred bidder earmarked for the contract at the end of the evaluation process, will be required to provide extracts from their audited accounts to demonstrate that they meet the minimum turnover requirement as a company or as a consortium group.

If you’re able to provide some but not all of the services outlined above, you should consider forming a consortium

Assessing Experience in Providing Corporate Uniforms

We would expect that the OGP will ask bidders provide recent examples of where they have provided similar types of corporate uniforms and services to private and/or public sector. In the last RFT, the OGP asked for at least two examples where the services were provided within the preceding three years.

For each contract cited, suppliers would also need to explicitly describe the nature of the services provided. The aim is to clearly outline:

  1. The types of clothing (e.g., Men's shirts, Women's suit jackets and trousers, Men’s rainsuits);
  2. The nature of services that were provided (e.g., portable fitting facilities consisting of a chair and mirror);
  3. The name and contact details of the buying organisation and the contract owner;
  4. The overall value and scale of the contract (e.g., how many clothing items were provided each year, and how many supplier resources were needed to facilitate the service); and
  5. How the goods and services previously provided are similar to that stipulated in the RFT issued by the OGP.

Suppliers may also be asked to submit written references from the buying organisations. Referees could be contacted directly by the OGP during the evaluation process, at any time prior to the award of the contract.

Assessing Capability of Providing the Fabrics Needed

As part of their bids, tenderers could be asked to supply textile samples that meet the design and performance characteristics prescribed in the RFT.

If that is the case, fabric samples would be needed for each type of garment referenced in the RFT, with each sample appropriately labelled. In addition, the samples would need to be accompanied with letters of confirmation and/or manufacturer tests reports from the relevant tmanufacturer(s) outlining that how each sample is in line with the OGP-provided design and fabric specifications.

In checking the samples received from bidders, the fabric samples will be sent to an independent assessment company to verify if they comply with the relevant design and fabric specifications set out in the RFT.

Award Criteria for the Supply of Corporate Uniforms

After bids are checked to see if they meet the qualification criteria, they’ll be further evaluated to determine how well the meet the award criteria specified in the OGP RFT. The award criteria for the supply of corporate uniforms will be expected to focus on the State’s view of the quality of the proposed approach and staff resources to be used by the clothing supplier in providing and managing each aspect of the service.

quoted unit prices for each type of clothing must be all-inclusive

Costing of the Corporate Uniforms Service.

More than likely, bidders will asked to provide a unit price in Euro, exclusive of VAT, for each of the clothing types required. The quoted unit prices for each type of clothing must be all-inclusive, that is, include all costs pertaining to the fitting, storage, delivery and any other services to be covered as part of the contract.

Quality of the Proposed Corporate Uniforms Service

Address Key Challenges

In putting together a proposal to respond to the OGP’s RFT for a clothing service, bidders need to carefully describe how they will address the major challenges associated with such a contract, e.g., with regards to:

  1. Offering a consistently unique, professional and customer-friendly service;
  2. Ensuring that the supply chain and logistics processes can deliver the clothing required, in line with the relevant design and fabric requirements and within the timeframes expected;
  3. Providing the clothing needed in an environmentally and socio-economically sustainable manner; and
  4. Proposing a competitive price that represents good value for money.

How to Stand Out from the Crowd

First, suppliers will need to outline the methodologies and approaches they propose to adopt in providing and managing each aspect of the clothing service being requested by the Irish public sector. Bidders should work through and propose a detailed project plan as part of their bid.

Next, bidders will need to outline the staffing resources that they will provide to offer the service.

bidders need to carefully describe how they will address the major challenges associated with such a contract

In summary, winning bid responses will need to describe clearly how they will:

  1. Ensure that the garments they manufacture and deliver will be provided line with the OGP-provided design and fabric specifications, along with the steps they would use to rectify any issues found.
  2. Deliver 1.5 metre length samples of any fabrics request by the State prior to the award of the contract, along with any relevant manufacturer test reports.
  3. Arrange fitting sessions for all the public sector staff covered by the contract, all across the county at designated locations identified by the State, within a set number of fitting sessions per location.
  4. Fit any new public sector recruits within a week of being notified.
  5. Provide portable fitting facilities (e.g., a chair and a full-length mirror) at all fitting venues.
  6. Make available a minimum of 2 competent fitters for each fitting session with a female fitter always available if a female public sector staff is being fitted.
  7. Create a written record of the sizes of each individual with respect to the types of garments needed, and agreement and signed off from the relevant individuals included.
  8. Deliver initial samples of the corporate uniforms needed after the award of the contract in sizes agreed with the contract owner, and in an efficient and timely manner within 8 weeks of the receipt of the request.
  9. Dispatch the initial set of corporate uniform packs within their proposed lead in times, with all subsequent orders dispatched within 8 weeks of the fittings or purchase orders.
  10. Offer adequate facilities for storing corporate uniforms throughout the contract period.
  11. Provide uniforms from reserve stock stored, so as to provide replacements within a 2 day period if reserve stock is available, and otherwise within 4 weeks.
  12. Manage the inspection, collection, return or replacement, and return of any garments that are fault, ill-fitting, or need to be replaced for other reasons.
  13. Ensure the availability of stock and the continuity of supply during the contract period (e.g., to address any changes that may be needed in the manufacturer or manufacturing facility).
  14. Manage and report on reserve stock for each type of garment so that the levels do not fall below the value stipulated in the contract, until the final year of the contract when they are to be diminished so as to prevent any left-over stock at the end of the contract.
  15. Facilitate factory inspections by the State so that they can ensure that they can ensure the use of good garment manufacturing practices including ethical working conditions and practices.
  16. Handle any changes to the design and fabric specifications that might need to be made by the State during the contract term.
    Implement measures to use recyclable materials in their packaging and effectively dispose of all waste materials and other unnecessary materials (e.g., pallets) after each delivery.
  17. Support the invoicing, and contract monitoring, management and reporting requirements outlined in the contract (e.g., to provide the State with Internet access to stock levels, stock movements, purchase orders, deliveries, scheduled fittings).
  18. Implement controls to resolve any issues as they arise throughout the contract period, with regard to either the quality of the service or corporate uniforms being provided.

Planning to Tender?

If you are interested in going ahead, keep an eye on eTenders to know when the OGP issues the relevant RFT.

Use Sluamor to Form a Successful Consortium

Interested in forming a consortium with other businesses within the Fashion and Textile industry, but don’t know how to find possible partners? Why don’t you apply to participate in the Supply of Corporate Uniforms business opportunity published on our website. Use our straightforward application form to express how your company could provide one or more of the clothing services needed and your experience in providing similar services.

Use Keystone Procurement to help you create your bid

Need help in preparing and submitting a bid to the OGP, don’t forget that our parent company, Keystone Procurement offers Bid Management services. Get in touch and see how Keystone Procurement can help you to improve your chances of successfully bidding to supply the Irish state with corporate uniforms.

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