Fairness in the Procurement Process
Is it important to be fair to all bidders when you are calling for bids or proposals? Of course it is. It’s not only important; it’s supported by many years of case law that all bidders must be treated fairly and equitably. Whether it is for a case of toilet paper, 10 tons of pipe, engineering services or a construction project the principles of fairness need to be part of the process. When a person or company makes the decision to spend their resources to respond to a bid or proposal call in a competitive environment they expect a fair process. Nobody wants to be used to keep someone else ‘honest’ or to have their price leaked to another bidder who is given the opportunity to beat it. The more subjective process of proposal calls can be even more challenging as there are typically many judgement calls in the evaluation process leading to a ‘best value’ decision.
A key aspect of conducting a fair bid or proposal call is the actual submission process itself. Utilizing a process that eliminates potential unintended negative consequences of process errors is demonstrably better for both the submitter and receiver. A quick review of the 5 articles in the court cases section of this blog demonstrates some of the simple process based issues that can cause both parties lost opportunities and extra costs. While these cases refer to construction related submissions the same principles apply to all procurement processes.