Evaluating Bids and Tenders – last week’s BravoSolution event gets into the numbers

Last week saw the second of this year’s Real World Sourcing briefing sessions, supported by BravoSolution and with me in the hot seat.  Our topic was “Evaluating Bids and Tenders”, a subject which is often and rather strangely neglected in the procurement textbooks and other sources of knowledge. For instance, it is barely mentioned in the ‘Lean Procurement’ training that has been extensively used in UK government circles.

And yet, choosing the right suppliers – or contributing to that choice - must be a fundamental role for procurement.  Not only is it vital to choose the right firms if suppliers are going to contribute to  organisational success, but a robust and rational process gives the market the confidence that it is worth suppliers even bothering to bid for our work. And of course it also guards against the possibility of corruption and fraud, whether that is internally or externally driven.

We had some very good questions and discussions at the event, on topics ranging from at what stage evaluation criteria should be set (very early in the process, was the answer) to the detail of scoring systems (do you use a 0-5 scale or something more complex?)  and how exactly price / cost is treated in terms of quantitative scoring methodology. That’s a favourite topic of mine and I had fun demonstrating why the cost scoring approach most often used in the UK public sector is at best irrational and at worst illegal...  but let’s leave that for another day!

Peter Marshall from Qinetiq Commerce Decisions came along too, and contributed some thoughts around ‘confidence’ – how can we establish that suppliers will really deliver what they say they can, not just write a nice bid document? He’s been doing some pretty deep thinking about this key issue, which we hope to feature here in the not too distant future.

The slides from the day are now available to download here (free on registration) if you’d like to take a look. You can also access the short (10 questions) ‘test’ on the material. Remember, BravoSolution kindly offer a £2,500 scholarship , to be spent on training and education, to the person who scores the best in these tests over the 6 sessions in 2014.  The top ten get invited to an excellent dinner too in December, at which the giant cheque gets presented!

You can still take the test even if you weren’t at a particular event  – the answers should all be within the material on the slides. But you do have to actually attend at least 3 of the 6 sessions to qualify for the dinner and scholarship.

I’ll leave you with the conclusions from our final slide – “Three Key Take-Aways”.

  1. Think carefully about the evaluation process – it plays a major part in determining which supplier will win your contract.
  2. Follow a logical flow through strategic objectives, key success factors, to evaluation criteria and weightings to ensure the results meet your fundamental aims and objectives.
  3. Model your specific scoring system, particularly scoring cost, to make sure it does not have unintended consequences.


(And the next session is “Owning the Space - Working with Stakeholders”  with Guy Allen leading on May 21st. There are just a few places left – booking here).

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