I seemed to set off a barrage of comments on the Strategic Sourcing & Procurement LinkedIn Group when I posed a simple question without a one-size-fits-all answer: “Should You Share Your Selection Criteria & Weightings With Suppliers?“
I was glad to see such a spirited discussion ensue, not so much because I wanted an answer, but moreso because it is good to see that many procurement teams at least have identified their selection criteria and weightings prior to issuing their RFP’s. Unfortunately, there are still many procurement teams that only decide on those things after receiving proposals. That type of procurement amateurism is even written as part of a published process on a questionable article on vendor selection written by a community college’s Director of Computing Technology (not Procurement, Computing Technology) on About.com.
When the criteria and weightings for supplier selection are developed after proposals are received, that is perhaps the biggest red flag that the vendor selection process is not being conducted fairly. After all, once you have proposals, you can create whatever criteria and weightings you need to in order to guarantee that your favorite vendor wins, regardless of whether or not they truly have the proposal that benefits your organization the most.
So one of the big litmus tests for determining whether or not a vendor selection process is fair is assessing whether criteria and weightings are developed prior to the RFP issuance or after proposal receipt.
That being said, many times an RFP process will educate a procurement team about things they didn’t know and should consider in their vendor selection. In those cases in the private sector, it would be foolish to insist on ignoring new and better information and sticking with the initial criteria and weightings just in the name of being more fair to bidding vendors than to one’s own employer.
To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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