Friday, 14 December 2012

Weighing up the options

The Fading Flower Markets of Delhi-41 by India Kangaroo, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  India Kangaroo
Many people’s picture of professional buyers is of  hard-nosed negotiators, focussed purely on cutting costs with absolute disregard for other factors. This is often reinforced by the media in stories such as the price UK supermarkets pay for milk.

Whilst this might have been be true, once upon a time...in some cases... we know that for most procurement professionals, things are getting more nuanced and more sophisticated solutions are required to manage this.  Asking ‘How much?’ is important, but often there are several other questions too.  Can a supplier deliver on the timescales and volumes required?  Do they adhere to our Corporate Social Responsibility policy?  Are they going to be here is a years time?  

For all these other questions, we have built our questionnaire module.  We looked carefully at the way organisations manage this process today, both using online tools and (more often) spreadsheet or Word documents.  Our solution is something that has the flexibility and ease of use to make it a realistic alternative to distributing questionnaires as office documents; whilst also giving the benefits of a centralised system, allowing the easy management and comparison of  responses.

Questionnaires can be used in a number of ways.  They can be used as  a gateway, to determine which suppliers are qualified to participate in a more detailed evaluation.  They can include scoring (both automatic and manual) to assess suppliers against more detailed criteria.  If necessary, several Questionnaires can be attached to a single event (for example, a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire; a mandatory Health & Safety review; and an Environmental check.)

In addition to using Questionnaires standalone, they can also be scored and used to weight the outcome of an RFQ or Auction.  This feature is really powerful.  It allows the assessment of Suppliers against both price and other non-price criteria, all summarised as a single overall score.  Suppliers can also be given visibility of their performance and ranking across both sets of criteria; meaning that they have the opportunity to understand how they are doing and improve their offer.   

We worked closely with customers and industry experts on the design of these features.  Weighting can be applied in different ways, depending on the way you are assessing your Suppliers.  We provide two different algorithms for calculating overall score based on price and questionnaire components.  We believe our solution gives the best balance between the price and other factors and is the fairest and most accurate solution on the market today.

For more detail, check our website,  get in touch or leave a comment below.  We would love to hear from you.

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