Lithuanian business is making its way into international public tender procurements
In order to encourage Lithuanian business entities to participate more actively in international public tender procurements, a year ago the Entrepreneurship and Export Development Agency Enterprise Lithuania initiated a programme that enabled Lithuanian companies to strengthen their competencies in international sales. A successful outcome was achieved with help of Orbidal, which is a platform of international tender procurement procedures: 4 procurements with the total value of more than EUR 2.4 million were won.
Every year, international public tender procurement budget in Europe amounts to more than EUR 2.5 billion. However, as shown by a business survey conducted last year by the Public Institution Enterprise Lithuania, Lithuanian companies demonstrate scarce participation in them due to a lack of competences and experience.
“A year later the situation changed dramatically after the companies were provided with help in filling in their knowledge and experience gaps – determined to expand its sales opportunities, Lithuanian business already made its way into international public tender procurements, and it will be easier for other business entities to follow its example. This case is one of the examples where the state can show the business entities the ways to unknown export opportunities, assists in acquiring the necessary knowledge, provides the necessary tools, consultations, and, as a result of such assistance, the basis of potential clients was expanded, new business contacts abroad were established, and Lithuanian export volumes are growing”, – says Daina Kleponė, the Managing Director at Enterprise Lithuania.
According to the data available at Enterprise Lithuania, such companies as IT solutions company “Telesoftas“, “Elinta Charge” which is a manufacturer of electric vehicle charging stations, “Sofneta” which is a company developing IT solutions for healthcare system, and laboratory equipment distributor “Biotecha” can already boast about their successful participation in international public tender procurements. “Tec Consulting“ and “Voras Consulting“ are currently waiting for reply from procurement organises, and other Lithuanian capital companies, such as “Baltic Amadeus” and “Cosmos Construction”, claim to have established valuable business partnerships.
“It is encouraging that these companies create high value-added products, and the export growth of such companies is very important for the national economy. Currently, the share of high value added products in the structure of Lithuanian export is not large, yet strengthening the competences of companies in international public tender procurements undoubtedly contributes to its growth“, – notes D. Kleponė.
The total of 48 Lithuanian companies, operating in furniture, food and beverages, engineering, IT services, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, scientific instruments and electronics sectors, took part in the programme curated by Enterprise Lithuania.
Each company had its own mentor who advised the companies on all matters that were relevant to them, for example, how to prepare marketing materials, technical specifications, how to prepare a quality tender. According to data available at Orbidal, the participants in the programme made use of 1153 hours for consultations.
The companies participating in the programme were divided into three categories: “starter” – companies with no experience of participation in public tender procurements, “ready” – companies participating in the national procurements and having some knowledge of processes, and “pro” – experienced participants in procurements and looking to strengthen their capabilities.
“It is gratifying that in just over a year, significant changes have been achieved – at the beginning of the programme, the first category companies accounted for 83% of all companies participating in the programme, while at the end their number dropped to 61%. A significant change can also be seen in the ranks of companies that operate at the professional level – at the beginning of the programme, there were 12% of such companies, and a year later this number increased to 20%. Based on our calculations, about every fifth company that participated in the project managed to significantly strengthen their sales competencies in international public tender procurements. In the light of these results, we can see that this project needs to be split into two parts for future efficiency: one of the parts would be intended to help prepare for those who are still lacking experience of participating in international procurements, and another part would bring together already experienced participants to help them succeed in major international public tender procurements”, – says the Head of Enterprise Lithuania.
D. Kleponė adds that participants in the programme, however, did not make use of all opportunities offered by the programme because the companies were able to participate in even 3125 procurements, but were actively interested in only 185 of them.
“A corporate survey we conducted at the end of the programme showed that the main reasons for ineffective participation include staff turnover and change in the business direction, specifics of goods and services, and insufficient involvement of the companies in the programme activities. Participation in international public tender procurements requires tremendous company resources and effort in analysing the documents of the contracting authorities. Consequently, companies which are determined to participate in international procurements must be consistent in doing this”, – notes D. Kleponė.
Survey of the participants in the programme showed that 63.6% of companies having participated in the programme would recommend the Orbidal platform to other companies. The main benefits identified by Lithuanian companies during the survey include feedback, relevant information on participation in public tender procurements, search for specific procurements, expanded base of potential clients, and partnerships with other companies participating in the public tender procurements, topical insights and consulting on preparation of marketing and promotional materials.
Analysis of international public tender procurements of Orbidal showed that the major part (18%) of public tender procurements is relevant to Lithuanian manufacturers and suppliers of medical devices, 13% – to financial sector, 12% – to services sector, 9% – to IT sector. The largest number of tenders is launched on the platform by France (21%) and Romania (21%), Poland (19%), Portugal (8%), and by other countries.
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