Have just obtained my Australian Government Baseline security clearance …
I have read with interest the Victorian Ombudsman’s report on the investigation into allegations of improper conduct by CenITex. Make sure you conduct your procurement activities mindful of PROBITY issues:
- Make sure your evaluators are above reproach;
- Document your evaluation approach clearly; and
Be prepared to defend your decisions if asked.
The process of calling for Tenders, Quotations, Expressions of Interest, or Requests for Information etc. is a recognised method of procuring contract goods and services.Typically, organisations will utilise the Tendering/Quotation process for a number of reasons. Some of these may include:
- Initiate a cost reduction program
- Standardise product purchases
- Reduce unplanned spending and drive down contract risk
- Maintain auditable supply and contract management processes
- Stimulate new product development with supplier innovations.
An RFP is a collection of requirements, and information the supplier may need to give a full response. It must make clear to suppliers what are requirements and what is simply information.
Requirements may be split between mandatory and optional requirements. Mandatory requirements are those that are essential to meeting the customer’s (your) needs, and suppliers who fail to meet mandatory requirements may be disqualified. Optional requirements are often termed “nice to have but not essential”. If in doubt about the importance of a requirement, classify it as optional.
- Keep your documents simple.
- Remember the old saying “Less is More” … Less jargon or cliched phrases often equals more understanding.
- Don’t make claims that can’t be supported, and don’t say you are special, unless you are, and unless it matters.
- Use short sentences. Get to the point quickly.
- Use simple everyday language.
We all know that pricing is important when purchasing anything …
However, you should always be very careful when determining evaluation criteria for the RFP, not to place too high a reliance on price. Consider this …. you are buying equipment that will require ongoing support. Often the lowest purchase price comes with expensive maintenance, and upgrades. Also, you have to work with the vendors for the term of any support contract. Good relationships with support providers are worth money … flexibility and approachability should NEVER be undervalued.
The human mind loves order. Keeping your document format consistent throughout will allow the information and ideas in it to be absorbed more easily by your audience. Making sure that the style of writing is coherent – has a logical flow – will also increase the understanding of your intent