Monaco Hickey Must-Win Construction Contract
Established in 1994, Monaco Hickey is a mid-sized, Victorian-based construction company specialising in technically complex builds. Following an initial focus on the health care, research and pharmaceutical sectors, the last 10 years has seen Monaco Hickey expand to now also include the education and residential sectors of the building industry.
Backed by majority owner ProBuild (who deliver major commercial projects), Monaco Hickey operates across Tier 2 and Tier 3 construction categories, targeting bespoke and technically challenging projects ranging from $5M – $70M.
A must-win contract in a heated market
As part of state education reforms, the Victorian Government is reimagining its approach to inner-city planning, embracing the vertical school trend sweeping Australia. The Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA) administers a fund of more than $9 billion which is allocated for the design and construction of new schools and early childhood centres, as well as the upgrading of existing schools.
In 2020 Monaco Hickey successfully delivered the vertical Docklands Primary School four weeks early for the VSBA. To secure the design and construction contract for the next vertical school planned for North Melbourne, Monaco Hickey needed to develop a compelling response that would firmly cement its status as a Tier 2 contractor.
Despite its very recent success with the VSBA, Monaco Hickey recognises the complexity of government submissions and knew that its reputation and past performance alone would not guarantee future contracts.
For the North Melbourne tender submission, Monaco Hickey faced three challenges:
- A complex RFT with a short open period
- Increased competition for government work due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Buyer perception of them being a Tier 3 construction company.
The strategic importance of this project coupled with these contextual challenges spurred Monaco Hickey to seek specialist expertise to help define and articulate their win strategy consistently within a submission developed with best-practice bidding principles in mind.
Expertise from planning to production
Aware of BidWrite’s credentials through their own professional networks, Monaco Hickey reached out for assistance. The process began with BidWrite Principal David Harvey facilitating a win strategy session attended by Monaco Hickey Submissions Manager Stacey Kerr, Project Manager Glenn Kirkwood, and Director Pat Hickey. Unfamiliar with the more formalised process of win strategy development, Stacey Kerr noted:
‘The strategy session was definitely worth doing and it was obvious BidWrite had done this before. It was very reassuring to know that they understood the essence and importance of what we were trying to communicate in our submission, that they understood the project, and that they understood us as a company.’
The strategy session resulted in a strategy matrix documenting the key win messages used to guide the ensuing submission development. With everyone firmly ‘on the same page’, Monaco Hickey continued to be supported by David Harvey, as well as Senior Bid Consultant Nicole Coleman and Bid Consultant Lillian Curthoys. This support included:
- teaming BidWrite consultants with their most aligned counterparts at Monaco Hickey. For example, with design and construct RFT expertise, Nicole worked closely with Monaco Hickey’s Project Manager Glenn Kirkwood to develop the methodology, clearly articulating their intended approach which was based on proven methods as well as lessons learned from the Docklands Primary School project
- scheduling regular progress checkpoints, designed to avoid an ‘eleventh hour grand reveal’ come submission time
- providing ongoing guidance and best-practice advice on matters such as the identification of content gaps, message formulation and consistency and compliance checks, as well as more production-focused technical expertise (modifying the submission template to streamline production, for example).
Carrying learnings forward
Often overlooked, a key benefit of working alongside a company that provides specialist expertise is the accumulation of knowledge and skills for future application.
With the submission now behind them, Monaco Hickey can reflect on the critical importance of three key learnings acquired from its collaboration with BidWrite:
- Securing early buy-in from senior leadership. Doing this enabled the submission team to develop key messages and an overarching strategy that were both accurate and approved from the outset, thus avoiding unnecessary rework.
- Fully answering every question. Unpacking every question with a disciplined reference to the evaluation criteria was a good reminder of best practice.
- Getting the basics right. Ensuring a continual focus on properly executing the basics, such as presenting information where it is asked for, should never be underestimated as complacency can creep in when submission teams feel they are simply ‘going through the motions’.
Communication and experience build team trust
Senior BidWrite Consultant Nicole Coleman was impressed not only by Monaco Hickey’s eagerness to improve its bidding capability but also by the way it embraced working with BidWrite, investing in creating the best team environment. She noted:
‘Glenn and the team were very generous with their time which always makes our job more enjoyable and allows us to be more efficient. Their openness and willingness to engage meant we completely understood their approach and key messages – right from the outset. It was clear they knew what they were doing and had learnt a great deal from the Docklands school contract, so our key objective was to bring that to the forefront of their submission in a meaningful way for the VSBA.’
Having used other bid support agencies in the past, Monaco Hickey noted a clear difference in BidWrite’s calm, confident and practical approach, with Project Manager Glenn Kirkwood remarking:
‘After our previous experience with external tendering support, we came to the conclusion that we should have just done the work ourselves. But on this must-win bid, BidWrite made it easy. Their knowledge and the way they work really improved our bid and took the stress out of it.’
These sentiments are shared by Submissions Manager Stacey Kerr:
‘BidWrite didn’t make work for us. Their experience meant they could quickly understand what we needed and set about providing it. For us, this meant we had genuine support during a tough bid with a tight deadline. We trusted BidWrite every step of the way, and important schedules like program, methodology and key personnel were a vast improvement on our previous tender submissions. We’d definitely work with them again on a must-win submission.’