The ABC of procurement projects

Getting the right supplier and right solution through a tender is sometimes tricky. Unless you figure out what you need, you will most likely never acquire it. Without preparation, you risk ending up tendering for solutions that are not yet offered in the market or not be available from more than one supplier. Therefore, doing the necessary ground work is essential.  

Step 1 - adressing business needs and scoping your procurement

Why are we doing this and how much time and effort are we willing to spend on our tender? These are crutial questions that need to be answered by the relevant stakeholders before scoping and planning the procurement project.

Step 2 - converting business needs to requirements

Will the market be able to cater to our needs? How do we translate our business goals into the wording needed in our requirement specification and contract? This is when the architect should make room for the procurement engineer. With the proper tools, the procurement engineer can build a transparent and efficient evaluation model that represent what is "need to have" through minimum requirements and what is "nice to have" through competitive requirements as exemplified below.

evaluation modelJPG

Step 3 - constantly aligning requirements with business needs.

During the writing of the tender documents the procurement engineer should continually ensure that the procurement project is fully aligned with the business goals. For instance, are we sure that the business goals sufficiently covered by the following minimum requirement?

minimum requirementJPG

Are we able to identify the best supplier and the solution using the following competative requriement?

competative requirementJPG

Sted 4 - tendering
During the tendering proces the suppliers should be able to comment on send questions to the tender material. This proces enables valuable rethinks of the tender material and enables the suppliers to better understand the tender material and to make changes to the tender materiel if needed. A number of procurement portals are available and are recommended. The portals ensure the necessary document handling and traceability during the tender.  

Step 5 - evaluation and feedback

In order to identify the supplier that achieves the best alignment with business needs a lot of work often has to be done. Applying an evaluation support tool will ensure transparancy and enable you to give suppliers feedback on where improvements could be made in their revised bids. Here a mathematical approach is simply not enough. Clarifications and negotiation are much more efficient in reaching common ground between the contracting parties. Using relevant negotiation themes and methods will enhance the results.

Mathematical computation will nevertheless be a necessary prerequisite for choosing the right supplier and giving other suppliers relevant feedback. Sometimes the winner is easily identified and sometimes not. Usually, you have to dig deep into the proposed solutions in order to identify the winner. Here is an example of some clear evaluation results that were achieved on one of the critierias used in a recent tender.

evaluation resultsJPG Step 6 - contract preparations and signature

Contract preparations is in most cases a simple proces of updating the contract documents with whatever has been agreed during question and answering sessions or negotiations. Sometimes the preparations might require further meeting and involvement of legal or technical counciling.

In my experience good preparations, good methods and good tools tend to leave very few issues remaing for the contract preparation and signature phase.  

Need some procurement assistance? Feel free to contact me.

Digitalization scorecard

Having frequently experienced buzzwords as first time resolution, customer journey, UX and many others while working on contact center solutions, the time had apparently come for me to actually experience contact centers and customer service as a common user.

Due to my current circumstances, I´ve been through a process of wading knee-deep in a swamp of user creation tasks, changes to current user and subscription information, filling out electronic forms and whatnot. What a relief it has been to experience that in most cases Danish digitalization actually works. Even in the summer holiday period where things tend to grind to a halt in Denmark.

Here’s my scorecard:

The bank: Changing and creating account information, applying for a new mortgage worked effortlessly through my phone app and subsequently involved videoconferencing, digital contract signature and only few and short phone calls. Grade = A

NemID: Changing to a new phone was unfortunately done without thinking everything through. My old phone had a special app, that is used to verify my credentials when conducting digital communications. That app was lost before transfer to my new phone. I waited in their voice queue for 45 minutes where after the helpful agent told me that they frequently experienced this problem. He then enabled a new ID setup and asked me to contact citizens service to conclude the case. Due to the frequency of this problem, they should have automated the handling of this case type. Grade = C

Citizens service: After NemID prepared my new setup I logged into my municipal citizens service and booked an appointment. The booking functionality was rudimentary but did the job quickly and efficiently. I set my appointment for the earliest possible morning slot the next day. When the time came, I drove to the designated office and registered my arrival on their self-service touchscreen. Since it was in the middle of the holiday period, hardly anyone was waiting for service and I was called to the counter 10 minutes before my appointment was scheduled. The service was polite and seemed competent. Unfortunately, I was issued a non-functioning set of keys and had to repeat the process a couple of hours later. This time I stayed at the counter until I verified that the keys worked. Grade = B

CVR: After deciding to setup a small consultancy company, I explored the fascinating path to setting up a company in Denmark. I was offered tons of useful information. It turned out that the process was simple, quick and totally digitized. Grade = A

The trade union: As an atypical Dane, I saved contacting my union till the very last moment. I needed help with filling out a digitized, but complicated insurance form. I called their switchboard and was given swift and competent service. They told me how to fill out the form and told me to contact them afterwards by mail so they could verify the information and help me with the case. Unfortunately, their mail system was also on vacation and my repeated mails bounced after 36 hours no matter what mail account or whether I attached files to my mail or not. Therefore, I went to their main office with a USB stick with the necessary documents. These were promptly printed and manually delivered to their dispatch service. I expect to hear who has my case and what they are doing about it someday soon. Grade = D