Tender evaluation – part 5! (Oh my goodness, will it never end…)

This is the final (for the moment anyway) part of our series on evaluation methodologies. Thanks to everyone who has commented – we’ll cover a few of the points raised here, and others we'll come back to I'm sure in the not too distant future.

One comment was around the problems with spreading out a series like this over several days (or longer). I agree, it makes it harder to comment and follow the thread – but I don’t like having a huge 2,000 word article as a single blog; it just doesn’t look / feel right with this format. But as suggested, we’ll look at putting this together into a single document for download as soon as we can.

Sourcing Sensei, RJ and others also made some excellent points, including a discussion around the use of “automated” evaluation tools. I think that’s another point to come back to – automating where possible is clearly sensible, but I don’t believe I would ever want to reduce a major tender evaluation to something totally automated.  We still need to read, analyse and assess what the supplier is telling us. Evaluation has in general been helped considerably by the growth in use of e-sourcing products and platforms without a doubt, but like all these things, it is still the intelligence of the user that is key.

Major vendors such as BravoSolution, Emptoris, Ariba, Iasta, SAP and many more provide technology that has made this whole area of activity more straightforward. Used properly, it helps you structure the whole tendering and evaluation process; it provides a more automatic audit trail, and it can do the calculation element of scoring (including looking at “what-ifs” and sensitivity analysis) in minutes rather than hours or days (like back in't days when I were a lad...)

But the GOGO principle still applies – a badly chosen set of criteria or dodgy scoring system, whether automated of not, will still lead to problems.

And when we get into the really clever end of complex evaluation, where we may want to do more complex scoring of criteria and responses, look at complex scoring decision models,  or have a wide range of people involved in the process, then not every system will cope with this. Which is where Qinetiq Commerce Decisions come into it with their AWARD software. We mentioned them in passing in part 3, but this is the most sophisticated evaluation tool I’ve seen – if we say that its used by the Ministry of Defence for the most complicated, massive and sensitive military procurements then you’ll get an idea of what I mean. It doesn’t just cover the technicalities of the evaluation process though- it also supports interaction between buyer and seller (e.g. in competitive dialogue processes) and project management through the tendering process.

It’s also not just potentially useful for the public sector – and while it’s not designed or appropriate for every tender, if you’re involved in large, sensitive and complex tender evaluation issues, it’s well worth a look.

In any case, the ability to run robust evaluation processes, and a good understanding of the options and the issues that lie behind that are essentials for a professional procurement function or manager in our view.  So do apply the principles we’ve outlined in the series, and we will come back to other aspects of this topic; for instance,  Paul Wright asked about evaluating the non-price factors. We’ll aim to have something on that shortly.

And thanks again for everyone who has contributed!

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Voices (5)

  1. bitter and twisted:

    When and Why go out to tender instead of other methods?

    1. Dan:

      In the public sector (around £60billion spend per annum)?

      Because we have to.

  2. Duy Nguyen:

    Hi Peter,

    Thanks, very much enjoy following your series. There are some points I would like to share. I agree on the point that automated tender evaluation can not be done without human resources. Certainly, with the right tool will assist speeding up the evaluation process and optimising the involved resources even for the large and complex tender. I think if buyers (third party – consultants) able design and break down to small pieces of complex tender and have unique standard format then their life will easier on the evaluation stage. Particularly, in Vietnam that suppliers have to analysis and submit the tender without any standards and format thus it drags longer to evaluate the submitted tender and can wrongly select suppliers.

  3. Peter Smith:

    Mr Sensei, perceptive as ever, GIGO it was…

    Perhaps I was listening to the Go-Go’s when I wrote that … under-rated band, stuff still sounds pretty good today!

  4. eSourcingSensei:


    A great series of articles that I certainly enjoyed debating/commenting within.

    Just a nit picky point – not sure what “GOGO” means although I do know what “GIGO” means (just in case thats Grabage In Garbage Out) – maybe you were thinking of some evening entertainment??

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