Completing a prequalification questionnaire is a prerequisite for suppliers wanting to join one of Achilles’ communities, which are designed to give buyers and suppliers a platform where they can collaborate; enabling buyers to manage and mitigate risk whilst suppliers gain increased market reach in their sector.
The prequalification questionnaire which differ slightly per community cover a wide range of areas including health, safety and the environment, corporate social responsibility, financial history and regulatory compliance, meaning buying organisations can use the information gathered through the process to reduce exposure to risk.
Prequalification questionnaires need to be completed just once for each community that your organisation wants to join, helping to save time, money and resources as a result – especially if you get it spot on first time.
To help you to do just that, UK and Ireland operations manager at Achilles Tom Robinson has highlighted five common mistakes organisations should avoid when completing their Achilles prequalification questionnaire.
Entering incorrect details
Buyers want clean, accurate and validated data about their suppliers to ensure compliance with laws and regulations to minimise their brand’s reputation, finances or legal standing. As part of the pre-qualification process, your organisation could be asked to upload documents such as employer’s liability insurance, public liability insurance and contract works insurance policies.
It’s not only important that you ensure that provide evidence of their existence but they are also in date. Suppliers also often slip up when it comes to completing the fields that need to accompany this. You need to enter the expiry date of your policy and other details, such as the value of cover that it provides.
Another section of the prequalification questionnaire is devoted to quality management and health and safety, requiring your organisation for example to upload ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 documents if you state that your organisation has these external accreditations in place.
Again, you need to make sure you are also completing the specific fields that accompany these uploads, such as the documents’ expiry dates.
If these details are not entered correctly first time or the documents are not uploaded in the correct format, the validation process will be significantly longer, delaying your organisation getting started with being selected for tenders in the community.
Remembering to complete Customer Specific Questions
You should also remember to answer any Customer Specific Questions that are available within the community. Achilles enables buyers to manage supplier evaluations against their company standards using information from Achilles. Our solution enables buyers to record vendor compliance and indicate “Approved Supplier” status, to support a buyer’s sourcing and contract management team’s activities.
It provides a great opportunity to have additional market reach for specific buyers however, many new customers fail to notice this section because it is ticket at first login. Ensuring that you remember to update correct details within this section of the questionnaires is also important; the section will remain ticked even if it does contain out-of-date information so worth remembering this little trick!
Mismatched financial information
At Achilles, we use third-party financial firms like Equifax to help gather suppliers’ financial information during the prequalification process, so your organisation doesn’t necessarily need to provide us with a detailed history of its accounts and current financial position.
However, you may need to submit a summary of your accounts or additional financial information, as Achilles will be looking carefully for any discrepancies and asking for an explanation.
Updates can easily be made, but it’s best for your business to get it right first time when it comes to providing your financial information and summary of accounts.
Providing incomplete contract reference details
Contract reference details are another area where suppliers often struggle to get it right the first time.
It could be argued that this is one of the most important parts for your organisation to get right. It’s where you have the opportunity to detail previous experience and let buying organisations know which other projects you have worked on in the past.
Clear time-frames need to be given for each previous contract and it is up to you to make sure all of the details provided are correct. Failure to ensure this could mean your business is hindering its chances of being selected for a future contract.
Entering contact details that are too generic
Last on our list is entering contact details that are too generic.
Nowadays, most people have several email address that they can be reached at, but it is important that the most direct one is provided in the prequalification process. This makes it easier for buyers to get in touch about potential opportunities and for the tender process to begin as quickly as possible.
If mis-spelt or indirect contact details are provided, the chance of missing a key bit of information related to a new opportunity is more likely, especially when timelines for responses are tight.
Although it’s best to avoid mistakes altogether, the prequalification system provided by Achilles means it is straightforward for suppliers to rectify their errors. All responses can easily be amended and resent for validation, but it’s important to remember that every time a business fails the validating process, they are not concentrating on their core offering.