There is ample evidence to suggest that a standardisation of tender documents would be logical, straightforward, and very welcome. The research shows that although 52 per cent of the information requested in tenders is repetitious, the phrasing and formats vary, preventing any short cuts.
Kerry Glazer, the chief executive of the AAR, said: "There's a major concern among the majority of agencies that the current tendering process is creating an unnecessary workload for them, and, by inference, for the clients requesting the information. This is clearly an area where both procurement teams and agencies could benefit from a degree of question standardisation, so the wheel doesn't have to be reinvented every time."
Sounds like a job for procurement, and, indeed, the AAR has taken its findings to CIPS, the procurement body. Thankfully, CIPS has responded with interest.
Ian Schollar, the head of practice development at CIPS, commented: "We welcome this initiative, which would clearly be to the benefit of all parties. While complete standardisation may not be possible, or relevant in all circumstances, procurement professionals should consider the impact and appropriateness of the documentation."
The AAR consulted 200 agencies, of all disciplines, to complete the research. Among those questioned was DDB's Richard Morris, on behalf of the IPA New-Business Committee. He said: "We have to reform the procurement slog. Most agencies agree that procurement can add a lot to the pitch process, but that currently they spend far too long answering the same questions - with subtle variations - over and over again. Anything we can do to standardise the process, to ensure clients get the information they need in the most efficient and effective way, will be welcomed with open arms."
In conclusion, Glazer explained: "There is a major opportunity to improve the way in which the tendering process is undertaken, both for the benefit of the agencies and the client procurement teams. We are in discussions with a number of interested parties, including CIPS and the IPA, and will be reporting back with our conclusions." Phew!
Meanwhile, back on the pitch battlefield, Tequila and TBWA\London have made the Telegraph's shortlist. They will fight against Rapier, Archibald Ingall Stretton and the combined team of Amp and Adam & Eve.
Punters are backing the latter team, because of Adam & Eve's youth and associated keenness, as well as its founders' long experience on The Times.
And in medialand ... Carat and Media Planning Group have been given the opportunity to swipe Mediaedge:cia's £20 million Nationwide brief in the pitch being overseen by Oystercatcher.
Meanwhile, the BA gauntlet has been thrown down. Watch the DM networks scramble for the chance to win the global account. OgilvyOne is expected to make the shortlist, but who will the other four be? The pitch is due to end in late spring.