A significant amount of ‘above the line’ procurement activity focuses on attracting the right volume and the right type of bidders. There’s an assumption that an optimal outcome depends on having a reasonable number of competing offers. And in simple, cost-based commodity procurement, that may well be the case. But not all bidders are equal, and the best price may not always equate to the best solution. A significant amount of ‘above the line’ procurement activity focuses on attracting the right volume and the right type of bidders. There’s an assumption that an optimal outcome depends on having a reasonable number of competing offers. And in simple, cost-based commodity procurement, that may well be the case. But not all bidders are equal, and the best price may not always equate to the best solution.
Smart buyers have cottoned onto the need for a comprehensive tender process that probes the bidders’ capabilities. As a natural result, we are seeing more complex tender documents being published into the market.
With this increased complexity - and the growing need for probity - procurement tends to stumble during the evaluation process.
Many organisations still spend time cutting and pasting tender submission responses into Excel spreadsheets. This approach is so engrained that they do the same thing with lengthy process descriptions and other qualitative data that is equally difficult to interpret by scanning a spreadsheet. Worse still, some tenderers compare blocks of text the same way they compare prices, even when there is no agreed scale or weighting system to normalise responses.
While this may work well for simple, quantitative data, processes designed for the straightforward comparison of objective measures like prices no longer stand up to the rigours of complex procurement decision-making.
If you’re still taking an ‘old school’ approach to your evaluation process, it might be time to consider a dedicated digital toolset. We’re firm believers in the old adage that if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. So, our online evaluation solution starts with determining, in specific detail, what you need to know, even before you go to market. You then build the tender instruments to elicit the specific information, in precisely the form you require it. That’s what you take to market and that’s how you make sure that you get submissions that are more easily (and objectively) comparable.
In other words, ask the right questions in the right way and you’ll get answers you can use.
Thinking through as many issues as you can before going to market will ensure a more consistent set of submissions, thereby making the evaluation stage of the process so much easier. And although any evaluation process involves a certain degree of subjectivity, you’ll get maximum transparency over things like weighting, scoring, comments and score change history, because ours is done online. This helps meet the probity requirements of organisations under scrutiny – which these days is pretty much all of them!
With robust and reliable tools now in place to help you construct meaningful tenders and a repeatable process of evaluating offers, why would anyone continue to rely on the risk-prone nature of old methods?
Perhaps it’s just a reliance on “the way we have always done things”. But as business processes evolve and probity expectations increase, many of our clients are finding that the old ways just don’t cut it any more.
While we don’t believe that you should rely on technology to make your decisions for you, we do believe in using technology to improve workflows, freeing up your valuable time so you can focus on making the right decision: one that stands up to scrutiny.
Looking for such a toolset?
New release: Evaluation 2.0
Some of the features you’ll find embedded in Evaluation 2.0 include:
- Ability to create standardised, tender-specific online response forms to easily compare;
- Specifying response formats per question to ensure comparable responses;
- Separation of price and non-price attributes to avoid price bias;
- Centralised visibility over evaluator process and progress;
- Automatic disqualification and shortlisting based on objective scoring and weighting.