Need help buying in the right services? The Centre for eBusiness has thought long and hard about what might help you during the ‘buying’ process. Whether you’re looking to invest in a website, an online system for managing your contacts or even on online stock control system, the following resources can help make sure you get the right supplier for the job. Getting the right supplier – a Checklist One way of making sure you ask all the right questions when appointing a supplier, is to make a list. To make this a bit easier for you, we’ve pulled together a list of what we think are the most pertinent questions to ask when kicking off a project with a supplier. 1. Tell the supplier what your business problem is, and ask them to make recommendations. This will ensure that they are thinking about your project specifically and not just what they can sell. 2. Ask them if they’ve carried out projects like this before, and what their track record is. You need to make sure they provide you with specific and relevant examples of their work, including dates when it was completed. Also, take the time to follow up on their references with someone who has first hand experience. 3. Make sure they understand exactly what you want, so ask them to interpret what you’ve requested. You need to find out not just what they can do, but what they can do for you. You might want to show them examples of the kind of things you like to help put it into context. 4. Find out how long they expect the work to take, and what your role is in the process. There may be things that can only be done with your consent or approval. Make sure you get a time plan from them so that you are aware of any dependencies and that you can ensure deadlines are met in a timely manner. 5. Ask them what ‘added value’ they can give you – it might help you decide when you’re comparing proposals. Will they give you a discount on their daily rates or offer additional support somehow? Getting the right supplier – the Do’s and Don’ts Quotes, proposals or tenders should be evaluated using two criteria: cost and quality. As a general rule, the weighting given to cost and quality is dependent on the risk and value of the contract to be awarded. DO DON’T Eliminate any late submissions not received by the Don’t waste a suppliers time by asking questions that published deadline. will not form part of the tender evaluation process. Eliminate any submission that has significant omissions, Don’t try to “read into” what may be meant. If part of a which will hinder your ability to conduct a full tender is not clear, it is appropriate to seek clarification. evaluation. Having to chase additional information, which should have been submitted by the deadline, can Don’t penalise small companies on unfair grounds. For be a time consuming exercise. instance small companies have different statutory requirements in terms of health and safety therefore Use a structured scoring methodology throughout the you must understand this when evaluating tender process, remembering that at Invitation to Tender (ITT) submissions. stage, you are scoring the proposal, not the company making it Don’t discriminate between suppliers on the grounds of nationality or location. However, note that it is Prepare a simple scoring table to evaluate your selected permissible to specify where the contract must be qualitative criteria using your pre-determined executed, or require realistic delivery times (for weightings for each element. Use this table to score example, urgent supplies must be delivered within x each tender submission. hours of receipt of order). Fully document all paperwork produced during the Don’t change the award criteria or relative weightings evaluation process and keep it in the tender file. during the reviewing process – they must remain the same throughout for consistent evaluation. Source: http://www.wakefield.gov.uk Buyer/Supplier Code of Conduct The Centre for eBusiness is always exploring improved ways of working. When researching the in’s and out’s of buying and supplying well, we came across ‘The Government Procurement Code of Good Practice’, a document written by the OGC. By creating a Code you are encouraging buyers and suppliers to work together in an open and cooperative way, improving commitment and communications in a way that can bring mutual reward. The Code has been written for those in the central civil government supply chain, but the principles can be applied to any buying/supplying situation. To save you time, we have summarised the key points below, or you can access the Code in full by clicking here. 1. Fairness 2. Honesty and Openness The supply chain members will act fairly during the The members of the supply chain will be open and honest competitive process and throughout the relationship, and when conducting business with each other by: they will do this by: Jointly Providing accurate and timely information Jointly Working together to manage expectations and understanding the need for others in the and raising issues of concern at an early supply chain to comply with their own stage. policies and procedures. Customers Sharing plans with potential suppliers as Customers Being objective, even handed and making early as possible and providing feedback to sure of genuine competition by selecting the successful and unsuccessful candidates. appropriate number of tenderers. Suppliers Being open about their aims and objectives, Suppliers Striving to ensure that customers continue and make the dependencies on the to obtain business benefit in all relationships customers clear. with suppliers. 3. Efficiency and effectiveness 4. Professionalism The members of a supply chain will contribute to The members of the supply chain will work to a higher improving efficiency and effectiveness of commercial standard of professionalism by: activities by: Jointly Acting with courtesy and consideration Jointly Striving for the highest standards of and by making sure that roles and performance and best practice, and by responsibilities are clear and understood. meeting commitments in a timely manner. Customers Awarding work on the basis of value for Customers Implementing best practice and making money. sure proposed timescales are realistic. Suppliers Only bidding for solutions they know Suppliers Being proactive in the suggestions for they can deliver. improvement. The Centre for eBusiness recommends: The Buying Game – online buying scenario game by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Top 5 Online Project Management Tools paper Please feel free to email the Centre for eBusiness at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0191 487 2002. The listing of a person or organisation in this publication does not imply any form of endorsement by The Centre for eBusiness. Links to other websites have been inserted for your convenience and do not constitute endorsement of material at those sites, or any associated organisations, products or services. The Centre for eBusiness cannot be held responsible for actions arising from the use of these materials.