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An Overview of Tender and Procurement Terminology

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An Overview of Tender and Procurement Terminology

An Overview of Tender and Procurement Terminology

In a field as detail oriented as tendering, the sheer number of terms that were birthed to describe its specificities comes as no surprise. If you’re just curious about this world, or if you’re a professional simply looking to refresh a definition on the go, this article is for you.

Please note that this blog post is written in English and may not be properly translated into Dutch. The alphabetical order may be incorrect due to translation.


Alternative Bid – An offer to a Request for Proposal which differs from the stated criteria. It usually contains cost or time benefits compared to what was requested;

Award Criteria – A list of criteria which the tenderer must meet to win the contract;


Bid – As part of the Bidding Process, it is a document containing information on the goods or services to be delivered, their price and relationship to the requirements needed to be met;

Bidding – In business, it is the process of selecting suitable subcontractors to fulfil projects or to acquire goods;

Bid Management – The process of overseeing the process of constructing, publishing a bid, then selecting suitable vendors and/ or providers;

Brainial – a Smart Tendering Platform to help organizations to reduce the time, resources and money spent responding to tenders and to gain a higher quality, win rate and profitability;

Buyer – An entity manifesting the intention of purchasing goods or services.


Closing Date – The date and time by which a tender proposal needs to have been submitted. Synonym with deadline for submission;

Commission – A term commonly used to refer to the European Commission;

Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV) – A corpus of standardized definitions developed by the European Union to grant clarity to public procurement documents;

Conditions of Contract – A binding set of rights and obligations which come in effect after the official award of the contract;

Contract – A binding agreement between two parties for the fulfilment of work and/ or provision of goods;

Contract Award – The making official of a contract between the tendering authority and their chosen supplier. It is the final step in the procurement process;

Contracting Authority – See Buyer;


Deliverables – Either internal or external, tangible or intangible goods and services that need to be produced to fulfil a contract;


E-procurement – A broad range of digital solutions meant to aid the purchase of good/ services via the Internet;

Electronic Tendering / E-tenders – A digital solution meant to streamline all the steps involved in the tendering process, from advertising to receiving and submitting tender-related information;

European Single Procurement Document (ESPD) – A standardized document developed by the European Union meant to ease to procedure of declaring an entity’s interest in fulfilling a contract. It serves as a temporary proof of a company owning various required documents (i.e. tax declaration, criminal record etc.), which need to be presented only after the Contract Award, only by the winning party;

Expression of Interest (EOI) – A document sent out as part of the second step of the tendering cycles, its goals are to provide the buyer with information on suppliers’ participation interest in the project;


Framework Agreement – An agreement between one or more entities that seeks to clarify on the terms under which the contract is to be fulfilled. It mainly focuses on the price and required quantity to be delivered, if necessary;


Goods – Physical objects.

Governance – The recognized figure of regulatory authority responsible for the establishment and implementation of policies;


Invitation to Tender (ITT) – The first step of the tendering process where suppliers are invited to submit their offers within a specified timeframe;


Joint Venture (JV) – Two or more business entities acting in collaboration for the purpose of achieving a common goal;


Negometrix – An online platform for tender projects fitting both the public and private purchasing market needs;


Offer – See Bid.

Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) – A publication containing all newly published public tenders with value above a certain threshold;


Party – An entity involved in the signing of a contract.

Pan-European Public Procurement Online (PEPPOL) – A set of guidelines established by the European Union in collaboration with 18 other public entities;

Private Finance Initiative (PFI) – The fulfillment of public interest projects with funding obtained from the private sector;

Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) – A step in the procurement cycle which buyers may use to filter out unsuitable suppliers;

Procurement – The process organizations and governments must undergo to acquire goods or services;

Procurement Software / E-procurement – A digital solution meant to automatize the processes involved in the procurement cycle;

Public Private Partnership (PPP) – See Private Finance Initiative;

Preferred Supplier List (PSL) – The preferred suppliers a buyer has shortlisted;

Proposal – See Bid;

Purchaser – See Buyer;


Quotation – An initial price offer sent by a supplier in response to a buyer’s Request for Quotation;


Request for Tender (RFT) – A formal invitation to provide specific goods or services addressed to suppliers;

Request for Proposal (RFP) – Similar to a Request for Tender, Requests for Proposal are used in cases where the necessary product or service to be delivered does not exist yet and need to be developed as a result;

Request for Quotation (RFQ) – A non-binding invitation to suppliers asking them to provide the buyer with price offers;

Request for Information (RFI) – A document used during the first phase of the procurement process to gather basic information about the suppliers’ abilities. Due to their similarity, Requests for Information and Expressions of Interest are often used together for greater effect;

Restricted Procedure – A limit imposed on the number of suppliers allowed to enter the tendering process;


Service Level Agreement (SLA) – A service/ goods-level commitment between a buyer and the selected supplier(s). Most notably, it details on the agreed quality, availability and responsibilities;

Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) – Organizations with less than 250 employees or a balance sheet total equal to or under € 43 m;

Supplier – An entity owning the necessary means to provide goods or services either through their own production means or thanks to their position in the supply chain;


Tender – A formal response to a Request for Tender;

Tendering – The process of seeking out and applying to Requests for Tender;

Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) – An online platform developed by the European Union dedicated to helping European public procurement, where information, as well as Requests for Tenders are posted;

TenderNed – An online marketplace for tenders by the Dutch government;


Variant – In exceptional cases, such as when they might be interested in stimulating innovation in the market, buyers might allow for a second offer to be submitted which needs only comply to the minimum requirements of the Bid;

Vendor – See Supplier;

Complicated as it might be tendering terminology is perhaps the easiest part of the entire process. Are you interested in seeing how Brainial can help your Tender Team automate the processes of finding and answering to suitable bids? Get in touch with us or schedule a free demo today!

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