There are several ways of identifying potential suppliers to obtain competitive bids from for the required goods and services. The amount of effort market research spent on identifying potential suppliers will depend on the estimated value of what is required:
Lower value - local knowledge, previous suppliers, colleagues, trade magazines, internet search, visits from representatives, or peer group networks etc.
Higher value but below EU Thresholds - as for lower value but, within your institution there maybe a requirement to advertise the requirement or advertisement may be required if the contract could be of interest to suppliers outside of the UK. Either way this advertisement must be on Contracts Finder.
Value above the EU thresholds - the requirement must be advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) and Contracts Finder. It may also be advertised in the local press; on the institution's web site; on e-tendering web sites; however these advertisements must not be published before the advertisement has been despatched to the OJEU and must not contain any additional information than that contained in the OJEU advertisement.
For procurements below the EU threshold there is no longer the option of preparing a short list of suppliers from a longer list, to invite to tender. Instead minimum requirements may be set with all suppliers passing the minimum requirements invited to tender. For procurements that exceed the EU threshold within the EU legislation there are specific selection criteria that a supplier must meet if it is to be considered.
Depending on the value of the proposed procurement, the next stage in the procurement cycle is to issue the RFQ/RFT [the Request for Quotation or Request for Tender documentation] that will form the basis of the suppliers' bids.
Note: in the case of the higher value exercises, the tender documentation should be ready before the requirement is advertised. The documentation is then issued in response to a request from suppliers who are responding to the published advertisement.
A risk assessment for this stage of the procurement cycle is provided.