Tendering: optimization and rationality
Green, S. (1989) Tendering: optimization and rationality. Construction Management and Economics, 7 (1). pp. 53-63. ISSN 1466-433X
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1080/01446198900000006
There have been various techniques published for optimizing the net present value of tenders by use of discounted cash flow theory and linear programming. These approaches to tendering appear to have been largely ignored by the industry. This paper utilises six case studies of tendering practice in order to establish the reasons for this apparent disregard. Tendering is demonstrated to be a market orientated function with many subjective judgements being made regarding a firm's environment. Detailed consideration of 'internal' factors such as cash flow are therefore judged to be unjustified. Systems theory is then drawn upon and applied to the separate processes of estimating and tendering. Estimating is seen as taking place in a relatively sheltered environment and as such operates as a relatively closed system. Tendering, however, takes place in a changing and dynamic environment and as such must operate as a relatively open system. The use of sophisticated methods to optimize the value of tenders is then identified as being dependent upon the assumption of rationality, which is justified in the case of a relatively closed system (i.e. estimating), but not for a relatively open system (i.e. tendering).