How to develop high-achieving RFP evaluation committees
Bevis, who is chief procurement officer in the city of Naperville, Ill., noted that RFP evaluation committees are best suited for procurements over $25,000. His five-person staff does as many as 150 committee-aided procurements each year.
The starting point is the procurement initiation; this part of the process is completed before the committee is created. Inputs for the procurement initiation include developing a strategic plan and procurement selection criteria. Conducting market research also is part of this initial work. A completed charter document and the assigning of a procurement specialist are two of several outputs from this part of the process.
The session outlined some key qualities of RFP committee members. Prospective members should be evaluated in these and other areas: previous experience; personal interest; availability; competencies and proficiencies; and ethics.
According to Bevis, another key to creating an effective RFP evaluation committee is having members sign a participant form. Some of the areas addressed in the form include:
- Fairness and integrity.
- Understanding of the project. Some common language: “Your success as an effective member of the team depends on your comprehensive understanding of the project, and your familiarity with the requirements and specifications contained in the RFP/RFQ. A copy of the RFP/RFQ will be provided to you.”
- Attendance. “Attendance of all committee members at all scheduled meetings is crucial,” stated a draft of a typical form.
An interesting part of the presentation dealt with how committees functions. According to Bevis, “forming, storming, norming and performing” are some of the steps that a functioning committee goes through. He also discussed common problems of a dysfunctional committee.
Dan Guthrie, a purchasing agent 2 in Harford County, Md., called the session “informative.”
“I was glad [Bevis] talked about creating the committee’s charter before you do the procurement,” Guthrie said. “This way, everyone knows the risks and assumptions.”
Rudy Apodaca, who is director of purchasing for the city of Cheyenne, Wyo., said that he enjoyed the presentation, but he noted that his department takes a slightly different tack in how it uses its RFP committee.
“We’ve done the RFP first, and then we have the committee evaluate the proposals,” Apodaca told GovPro.com.
Karen Forbes, purchasing manager for the city of Pasadena, Texas, told GovPro.com: “The session reinforced some of the things we are doing in our city.”
For more information on NIGP’s 2008 Forum presentations, click here.