How do you evaluate bids and tenders?

21 October 2009
According to Peter Smith, director of Procurement Excellence, writing in SM, some buyers believe using a structured approach to evaluating bids is a “waste of time”. “They might say applying a scoring process is meaningless and it should come down to judgment, but that approach brings a number of problems,” he continues - not least of which that if you’re in the public sector you could be challenged by a supplier and ultimately taken to court. And in any case a degree of transparency in the public sector is now mandatory. Smith goes on to point out that even those who use a formal scoring process should consider that the impact of using a slightly altered appraisal system is likely to result in a completely different conclusion. “I recently saw a big procurement project where the entire supplier selection hinged on how cost was scored as part of the evaluation model. In this instance there were two acceptable vendors, both with strong bids; with a slightly different scoring scheme it could have gone the other way.” Smith outlines several approaches for buyers to consider then concludes: “it would be good to see more debate and work - academic or practitioner - in this area”: so what’s your view? What advice do you have for peers? What approach do you take?
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