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How to spot a flawed Procurement Process – fast

A ten-point checklist for busy Procurement Managers

You’re emailed a Procurement Plan or RFx documents for approval, and you’ve got very limited time to check it. Sadly, many RFTs that are prepared by so-called seasoned procurement professionals are not well put together – and as a result, they attract poor quality (or no!) responses. Increasingly, they may also attract probity challenges which can be costly, difficult and embarrassing to fend off.

Here’s a handy 10-point checklist that will help you quickly check if the Procurement Process fundamentals will attract good suppliers:

  1. Is there a sound procurement plan that underpins this? And do all the procurement tools (supplier selection method, weightings, non-price attributes, questions…) reflect the most important factors to drive value on this contract?
  2. What’s it all about – look for a short summary at the start of the documents, (no more than a couple of pages) that describes the product or service you’re procuring.
  3. Your Market: Has the procurement team considered who’s likely to respond? Do they knowhow many will be interested, what would make a supplier suitable, and what differentiates a high performing supplier from a basic one.
  4. Risks and Opportunities: which risks to project success, or opportunities to drive value, are under your suppliers’ control. Which can be covered by a pass/fail precondition; and which should be scored? Identifying and analysing these is critical – they are the foundation of a strong and targeted procurement process.
  5. Pre-conditions – Are there clear fact-based pre-conditions that will indicate the minimum requirements for tenderers? These should be at the start of the document, so that unsuitable suppliers can see at a glance that they shouldn’t respond – and they won’t waste time (yours and theirs!) in responding.
  6. Lowest Price Conforming tenders should NEVER ask for detailed, time-consuming information; which will involve value judgements or scoring. Evidence should be quick to provide and quick to check – e.g. past project names and referee contact details; Health and Safety certificates; insurance certificates. No long methodology statements.
  7. Pass/ Fail standards on any attributes should be fact-based, not based on an arbitrary score. That way, you won’t waste time in debating whether a supplier fails or not; or attract probity challenges from suppliers who you arbitrarily decide are unsuitable.
  8. The questions MUST match the evaluation criteria – what you agree you’ll score highly. There should be no evaluation criteria that are not covered with a relevant question; and no questions that don’t directly relate to one of the evaluation criteria.
  9. Non-Price Attribute Questions – should be tailored for the project, not generic. Unsurprisingly, generic questions yield generic answers, and those seldom differentiate suppliers on the value they offer. In general, the attributes and questions should reflect project-specific risks and opportunities to add value, that are under your suppliers’ control. Check that the questions are relevant, will differentiate the suppliers, and are contract-specific.
  10. Have your Tender Evaluators met to agree a series of FACT-BASED benchmarks for scoring (an anchored scale), that provides examples of what they agree should be scored in each scoring band for each attribute and mirrors the contract. Do this as part of your planning process, and you’ll ward off most Conflict of Interest concerns.

The fairer, more relevant and more user-friendly your RFT documents, the better responses you’ll get and the better value for money you’ll deliver.

If your procurement process and documentation doesn’t tick these boxes, or if you’d like an honest appraisal and some suggestions on how to improve the attractiveness of your RFTs to your best suppliers, please contact or 021 722 005. We’re ready to help; and we have simple, user-friendly, compliant RFT and Response documents that are ready to roll.

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