We were at a client’s boardroom ready to brief them on evaluation results. I picked a seat and noticed it was wobbly so I decided not to sit on it. Comments were made about the quality of the chair because it had been purchased a year ago, and there had been problems with the furniture from a particular supplier.
One of my colleagues raised an interesting question: Is it possible to guarantee quality goods through the bidding process?
Yes, quality of final goods shall be largely determined by quality of the bidding process. But the real truth is, a lot of effort has to be put in the bidding process with the end goal being getting the goods or services the buyer desired in the right quality, right place, right price, right quantity and right time. That is procurement.
Build-in quality when creating RFP
Project goals: It goes without saying, that the more clearly you articulate what you want out of the process, the more likely you are to get it. It also means when facing a decision point, you’ll be guided more by objective outcomes than personal preference.
Technical specs guide suppliers on buyer requirements and the make their proposal based on them. Technical specification should be properly crafted to ensure the bidders provide solution for the specific product the buyer needs. Instead of picking a template with a list of specifications from internet, get help from players in that specific field to customize specs according to your organizational needs. Alternative is to start with Request for Information - RFI for potential suppliers to give varying solutions to your problem.
What is your budget? Try include a budget or provide a range if you have to use some guess work. For instance, if you want to buy a car, setting budget figure means letting you know what dealer can provide at that price: a Toyota, a BMW or a Bentley.
Don’t leave quality of goods to be determined at the evaluation stage. The truth is, quality cannot be determined solely based on documents received in response to an invitation for bids. Having said that, the buyer has the right to verify information submitted by bidders at any stage in the bid evaluation process.
The evaluation and selection process is designed to review bids using stipulated evaluation criteria to determine to what extent bids received meet the technical requirements stipulated in the bidding documents.
Post award safeguards to include in bidding documents
Goods may be inspected prior to shipment and also during the receiving process. These inspections are for the purpose of confirming quality and detecting any defects or damage to the goods. If any defects or damage is detected, a remedy can be sought based on the terms and conditions of the contract.
Also, after goods have been inspected and received, any defects covered under the warranty agreed in the contract would necessarily be the responsibility of the supplier with which the contract was signed, and in some cases the manufacturer if clearly stipulated in the contract.
Warranties and guaranties are mechanisms available in procurement to assure quality or to seek remedy. They are established for a period of time after receiving the goods, and have stipulated conditions under which either can be put to use if the product is found defective for reasons stipulated in contract.
A retention of x% after project completion for determined period of time creates a financial incentive for a supplier to ensure quality product is delivered.