Happy 15th Birthday, Onto the Page!
Fifteen years ago today, Onto the Page was officially launched, from my home office. The financial crash was biting hard and as a single-hander, I had no idea what was ahead. Since then, well over 1,000 bids later and with a professional, highly skilled team working from our office in Chapel Allerton, OTP’s reputation is firmly established. It seems then, to be a good moment for a reflection on what I’ve learned in that time.
Bidding is a huge team effort – it’s always been the case, but now OTP works on more and more complex bids, with larger organisations, responding to under-pressure buyers. We’ve worked hard to build an internal culture of recognised values and high support, and offer the same to our clients. Bids are based on hundreds of decisions that come together to make a winning proposition. We need everyone to play their part, and as a skilled team, it’s our job to help clients do that successfully. As a result, we enjoy great feedback from our clients, we’ve never missed a deadline, and our win rate remains above 80%.
Social value is a great differentiator – we love how this agenda is making businesses more socially aware and responsible. We’re working hard to transform our clients’ attitudes to social value, and the impacts that they’re collectively creating through formal programmes are making a real difference. We’re on a similar journey ourselves – upskilling our people, being proudly climate positive, offsetting our carbon and planting a tree for every bid we win (our ‘forest’ is pretty big already!).
The digital revolution has arrived – but hasn’t really lightened our workload. With the arrival of e-tendering, bid managers were hopeful that, without the need to print document mountains, things would be way more efficient. The reality is a hotch-potch of portals that aren’t terribly bidder-friendly, and that demand forensic levels of scrutiny to ensure compliance with procurement processes. The next digital revolution is AI – we’re standing by to see how this affects our roles, which it inevitably will.
Bidding is now a recognised profession – in 2008; bid consultants were few and far between, and corporate bid managers were mostly there ‘by accident’ rather than choice. But today, with great strides in the industry, enabled greatly by APMP (I remain a proud Practitioner member and OTP sponsors all employees’ membership and studies), people are now choosing the profession. There are loads of second-generation bid agencies, smaller businesses running bid functions, and corporate bid teams offering great career pathways. It’s a great industry to be part of.
Today, the OTP team is trusted by our clients to handle bids to the public and private sectors, and the wealth of experience we’ve gained over the years helps them to keep ahead of their game and us to maintain our excellent win rate.
It’s been a ride – sometimes really tough – but we’re here and ready for the future. A million thanks to everyone who’s been part of our journey so far.
Emma Jaques, MD
1st September 2023