During my career, I have had the opportunity to be both end customer and technology service provider. After working as a supplier for almost a decade, I went to work as an owner’s agent for a new facility located in Taiwan. One of my first tasks was to facilitate the bidding process for multiple vendors. To provide an idea of the scale and complexity, consider that this was an entirely new installation and involved hardware and software for the automation of normal utilities, complex SCADA functions s ‘interfacing with many different OEM equipment, batch sequencing and interfaces with a laboratory information system and SAP. (enterprise resource planning system).
Through this process, I developed a greater appreciation for the customer’s perspective. With that in mind, I offer the following guidelines to make the bidding process easier:
Expect questions. The writing requirements for the offer can be difficult. A good client should attempt to convey all of the information contained in the requirements of the offer. Sometimes, however, a topic may be intentionally vague or mistakenly omitted. As a client, you can decide to leave an open space for the best solutions or to seek superior knowledge. Whatever the reason, expect the integrator to ask clear questions during the bidding process to demonstrate an effort to understand your needs.
Expect specific selections to be respected. If you are stipulating a specific selection for an item or requirement, the bidder should not substitute or ignore the requirement without first discussing it with you. This is an opportunity for the integrator to pay attention to detail regarding the requirements.
Beware of lint. While integrators typically don’t, when you receive a proposal that’s 90 percent glossy and marketing material, it’s frustrating. On the contrary, it seriously dilutes the differentiating value of the integrator.
Check the relevant references. During the bidding process, you normally need relevant job references. Even though most don’t look exactly like the job posting, they can still give you a better idea of the abilities as well as the overlapping jobs in terms of skills required. If you are requesting references that the Bidder does not have, understand that it may be better for them to omit references than to provide something irrelevant and risk demonstrating a lack of understanding of your RFQ. .
Expect proper handling of large files. Most IT departments limit file sizes and employee mail. Since the integrator’s proposal is also likely to contain sensitive information, a secure site is imperative. It is better for the integrator to use a secure professional file sharing service such as Share the file Where WatchDox.
Expect them to be on time. There is no better way for a bidder to lose the chance to win the job than by being late. When submitting a project, you are probably too busy to do it yourself. If an integrator cannot set up a meeting or conference call, they should let you know as soon as possible. Everyone understands things happen, but if you get a note five minutes before a call, it’s unacceptable. Most importantly, they must submit the offer before the due date. Allowing a supplier to submit their offer later can lead to serious scheduling issues.
I was surprised at the number of suppliers who violated these guidelines during the tendering process. You want to hire an integrator who will be professional and who will respect the project schedule and budget. Your bidders should understand that while this auction is not successful, their first-class presentation could ensure inclusion in your future auction requests.
Andy Robinson is an Information Solutions Consultant at Avid Solutions Inc., certified member of the Association of Control Systems Integrators (CSIA). For more information on Avid Solutions, visit their profile on the Industrial automation scholarship.