Many companies limit the capture management process to the pre-RFP phase. Others continue on but their main emphasis is still on capturing the opportunity rather than the contract. When the capture management process is not balanced for each phase, there is less chance of having a winning proposal at the end.
Traditionally, emphasis has always been on the pre-RFP phase for capture managers. If you ask such a capture manager what his/her goal is, it boils down to capturing/selecting a suitable opportunity and then passing it along to the proposal team after getting internal approval. This creates considerable discontinuity between the pre-RFP phase and the Bid phase.
In other companies, capture managers work closely with the proposal preparation team to have a smooth continuity in the process. Lastly, in some companies such as mine, the scope of work for a capture manager is defined differently. He/she is responsible for capturing the contract and not the opportunity. For this reason, the capture manager oversees all phases of the process, from pre-RFP phase to Bid phase all the way to Post-Bid phase. In effect, he/she manages the entire process and is responsible from selection all the way to the contract award, answering to the higher management.
“Discontinuity” is the major problem derived from having different teams and management personnel for the pre-RFP and the Bid phases. Having such an organizational arrangement requires the personnel – and not the system – to be proactive and try to have a smooth transition from the pre-RFP to the Bid phase. Instead, a proper organizational arrangement can ensure that the pre-RFP phase efforts are fully reflected in the Bid phase towards strengthening the proposal’s winning chances. This organization arrangement is derived from redefining the essence of capture management: it is for capturing contracts rather than opportunities.
A few years ago I headed the team that prepared the proposal for a construction MATOC RFP. Our client company had its own capture manager but no capable proposal team. The effort required to get to the bottom of the issues, the needs and requirements and all the information that had been acquired during the pre-RFP phases in order to reflect them in the proposal writing phase was indeed exhaustive. This was because the capture manager thought that when he selected the opportunity and got internal approval for it, his job was finished Conversely, I have had many cases in which managing the process from pre-RFP all the way to Post Bid phase have been a breeze due to having a single management structure for it.
Capture Opportunities or Contracts?
To sum up, it boils down to the proper determination of our goal. Do we want to increase the number of selected opportunities or do we want to increase the number of awards? If we set the goal properly, we can setup the right organizational structure for it too. Capture Management should be from cradle to grave in the bidding process.
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