We supported a signal engineering organisation in its bid to Network Rail for signalling and control system replacements as part of the re-engineering of a major interchange station. Our client had prepared some outline responses, which we edited to draw out the benefits of the engineering proposals and to make the writing more concise to increase its impact. Our client’s bid lead commented on the comfort that she felt from having the bid in a “safe pair of hands”, managing the technical specialists to provide content on time, and ‘drilling down’ to isolate the underlying reasons why the proposals would benefit Network Rail.
We set up a deliverables matrix to track each technical response, and we monitored progress against agreed deadlines for reviews. We created compliance checklists to assess draft responses against the components of the questions. This was to ensure that it was clear to the reader where we had answered every part of every question. We probed the functionality of our client’s control system to identify what made it better than others for remodelling and relocking of the signals. One of the key issues was how the system would optimise the efficiency of relocking before civil engineering works were due to start. The impacts on overall programme were a key concern for Network Rail.
The key challenges were the high number of questions to be answered in a short time, and the extremely limited character count allowed for many of the responses. The subject matter experts had a lot of content to offer, so we had to exercise very high efficiency of writing without losing clarity. We tested our responses on technical experts before submitting for final client review. Due to the technical experts’ busy diaries, we worked to accommodate people’s time restrictions.
The bid was successful. The technical experts were able to provide their specialist content without having to worry about the messaging or about creating an impact. We took that task ‘offline’ so that the experts could remain focused on designing an excellent engineering solution.