The Federal Council of the Institute of Management Consultants has negotiated an exciting agreement with ServeGate Australia that will allow suitably qualified professional IMC members to access work requests from government agencies and large corporates which may only presently be available through Tier 1 Prime Contractors.
Under the agreement, IMC Members will not be required to pay the usual joining fee to register with ServeGate.
Who is ServeGate?
ServeGate is a member organisation that provides a contracting portal allowing micro, small and medium-sized enterprise members to respond to requests for quotation and tenders to perform work for large government departments and corporate enterprises.
ServeGate has a wealth of experience in working alongside Australian Government departments and agencies and, in particular the Defence community and various industry sectors.
What does ServeGate do?
ServeGate is a Prime Contractor that specialises in the provision of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprise capabilities to Government, Corporates, and Industry including the Mining, Energy & Resources industry sector.
As a preferred supplier, ServeGate regularly receives Requests for Quotation (RFQ) and Requests for Tender (RFT) from Australian Government departments, agencies, and the Corporate sector. ServeGate invites interested IMC member subcontractors to submit responses to Requests for Quotation (RFQ) or Request for Tender (RFT). In addition, ServeGate encourages IMC members to actively do their business development to their target Commonwealth Agency customers. ServeGate can then provide them with a contractual access point once an RFQ is imminent. These RFQs are treated as targeted RFQs and are only distributed to the members who have invested in business development to generate the opportunity.
How does the contracting process work?
- ServeGate notifies Members of work requests from government agencies and corporates and invites Members to respond.
- ServeGate vets responses from Member subcontractors for quality ensuring that they have addressed all the customer’s statement of requirement.
- All compliant responses are submitted as ServeGate responses for evaluation by the Customer, clearly identifying the IMC member as the subcontractor delivering the services.
- If selected by the Customer, ServeGate manages the contracting paperwork for the selected preferred Member subcontractor
- ServeGate liaises with the Customer on all projects to ensure delivery of the work packages are on time, on budget and to specification
- The Member subcontractor submits their invoice to ServeGate after the customer has approved the deliverable
- ServeGate ensures Member invoices are compliant with the purchase order
- ServeGate submits a corresponding invoice to the Customer
- On receiving payment from the Customer, ServeGate retains its Management Fee and pays the balance to the Member subcontractor within the shortest practicable time but no later than 5 working days from receipt of payment from the customer.
What are the costs?
Under the IMC/ServeGate agreement, the joining fees, ranging from $2,750 to $5,500, (depending on the size of the organisation) have been waived. This is a significant benefit to IMC Members and is not generally available to those who seek to join ServeGate directly.
ServeGate Members agree to pay a Management Fee on work the Member performs as a subcontractor to ServeGate Australia. The Management Fee is levied on amounts invoiced to the Customer by ServeGate Australia for services and/or products delivered per Customer Order. The Management Fee payable by Member is deducted from the final contract amount agreed between ServeGate Australia and the Customer.
What are the benefits to IMC Members?
The significant benefits for IMC Members include:
- ServeGate makes it possible for an IMC Member to become a sub-contractor to Governments and large industry customers more easily and more cost effectively:
- Historically, SMEs have relied on receiving work from Tier 1 Prime Contractors via the typical multi-tiered structure of industry supply chains. Gaining access to those larger companies is often very difficult and costly. ServeGate runs on a small management fee designed to recover its cost of operations, the implementation of its strategies plus a small contingency. This management fee is rendered transparent to its subcontractors and its customers.
- Businesses able to form an alliance with a large prime contractor are seldom a part of the face-to-face contract negotiation phase at which they can establish their own brand awareness with Government or Industry customers for future work
- ServeGate removes barriers by establishing a direct ServeGate/Member business-to-Government/Industry relationship:
- The downside of accessing work via a large prime contractor is that there are multiple level supplier organisations between Government or Industry customers and SMEs.
- Each level charges service fees meaning there is less revenue available to the SME.
- Duplicated management, multiple work teams (each with their own self-interest and operating style) and an elongated hire-chain can hinder communication, decision-making and payment for services.
- Furthermore, large prime contractors will only allow organisations to subcontract to them provided they carry the prime contractor’s business card. ServeGate encourages its subcontractors to carry their own business cards in the customers’ environment, thereby assisting in the building of their own brand
- Other benefits for IMC and IMC Members joining the ServeGate community include:
- Visibility of Government and large industry customer opportunities to SME Opportunities to earn higher revenue – due to not being at “the end of the line” plus access to larger contracts
- Open bidding process – all Member subcontractors are offered a fair opportunity to represent their capabilities; all compliant responses are submitted to the Customer which considers its own evaluation
- Member subcontractors are encouraged to collaborate with each other to provide collective solutions to Customers’ requirements
- Support and guidance provided especially for Micro and Small businesses
- Transparency of fees and margins
What do I need to do as an IMC Member?
- IMC Members will be provided with an opportunity to submit an expression of interest (EOI) for becoming a ServeGate Member
- ServeGate will send a membership kit that will contain a qualification questionnaire for you to complete and send back to ServeGate for processing, due diligence and acceptance
- For any IMC members who may not presently meet the requirements of membership, ServeGate will provide guidance on how to progress your membership application.
How will the process work?
- Once you have successfully met the terms and conditions of ServeGate membership you will be registered in their database.
- Whenever a new request for tender (RFT) or request for quotation (RFQ) is issued, a link to the details will be sent to your valid e-mail account.
- Clicking on the link will take you to the IMC website where you will log in using your normal member login details.
- You are then able to submit an expression of interest for the subject RFQ or RFT.
- In some instances, it may be more effective for members to develop collaborations in responding to RFQs and RFTs. This can be managed via your local IMC network as well as seeking additional information from the membership database for skill sets that may be required to submit a comprehensive response. ServeGate can also facilitate these collaborations should IMC members be unsuccessful in finding suitable organisations within IMC’s network.
- The sub-contracting process is between the Member and ServeGate and the IMC will have no visibility of the commercial details
Who do I ask for more information?
A dedicated IMC/ServeGate email address has been set up to assist IMC Members with any questions during the introduction phase of this initiative.
Please send any questions to the dedicated email address: IMCSERVGATE@imc.org.au.