What makes a great procurement process?
Blue Bike brings together knowledge and skills from across strategy, people, process, technology and data. Given this blend, maybe it isn't surprising that on many occasions we've been asked to help clients make major procurement decisions. Over the years we’ve provided these services to large commonwealth government departments and human and community services providers across a range of scales. Sometimes that procurement exercise is more informal, other times it involves complying with stringent government procurement protocols and completing RFT/RFP processes.
After understanding their organisational context, and goals for the exercise, we’ve often conducted a consultation and requirements gathering exercise to provide a detailed insight as to their needs. Those needs may be for new core systems, needs for IT architecture, or needs for technology strategy. We draw upon our people capabilities to carefully design and work through a stakeholder consultation program – a critical aspect to build understanding of needs and engage stakeholders in the early stages of a change program.
Once our client has that detailed understanding of their needs, we help them reach the major decisions about which vendor (and sometimes which software tool) meets those needs. The approach to that phase of the work involves creating clarity. That clarity provides the decision makers with structured evidentiary basis for their decision. We crystallise information and data in a transparent way that leads the decision-makers to their final conclusion.
Having completed numerous RFP/RFT processes for clients across a range of sectors, Blue Bike has identified several key factors that may help your next complex procurement exercise:
Ensure clarity of process; timelines for each phase, working backward from key deliverable dates
Adopt an appropriate governance structure and schedule of meetings
Lock-in the time of key contributors and decision makers well in advance
Respect the time of contributors by designing a time-efficient approach to consultation
Ensure the right granularity of requirements are gathered; are the requirements purely for the procurement exercise or do they need to be sufficiently detailed for the implementation phase?
Agree the priority criteria to support the evaluation; ensure there are differentiating criteria
Develop a well-structured decision analytic tool to support vendor evaluation
Provide transparency of process and transparency of evidence to enable the client to reach their procurement decision
Conduct face to face vendor presentations
Change of stakeholder is a key risk to any major project, and a mitigation is for the project team to keep a broader rather than narrower set of stakeholders engaged
Overall, carefully manage the relationships and communication with stakeholders, the procurement governance, and importantly the relationships with prospective vendors prior to, during the RFT/RFP process, and during negotiation