We like a product that we're already using. Can we ask bidders to bid to supply this product only?
No. In general, use of product names in specifications should be avoided. The Regulations allow the use of trade names and marks in the specification of requirements only where this is necessary to adequately specify the requirement. However, wherever a trade mark is used, the phrase "or equivalent" must be added. This principle of "equivalence" means that the contracting authorities must accept bids for alternative products which nonetheless meet their specification. If a contracting authority is keen to avoid, eg, the need to retrain staff in a new but similar system, the way to address this is via the award criteria, and how the costs of implementation and transition to the new system are assessed.