Your team gathered requirements, sent out the Request for Proposal (RFP) with detailed criteria, several vendors submitted proposals, and now it’s time to evaluate which proposal best meets the needs of your project. Before you start feeling overwhelmed by that stack of submissions, here are some quick tips to organize and evaluate those proposals.
Start the process by creating a list of evaluation criteria. Go through the RFP and identify each stated requirement and how it can be measured. Are there quality standards included in the request? If so, how will you determine which proposal meets those standards? Examples of criteria that can be measured include service levels, reporting frequency, pricing, equal opportunity utilization, etc.
Place the list of evaluation criteria into a table. For each submission, make a note of how well that submission meets the stated criterion. If one submission stands out from the others, make a note of it. Write up an evaluation summary for each vendor. Is the vendor the highest-priced, but most experienced? Identify and summarize these points. What are the positive points and what are possible issues?
The table below provides a simplified example of what a point-by-point comparison might look.
While your company has the option to use whatever evaluation and selection criteria it deems appropriate in selecting the vendor, identify which evaluation criteria is most important to the success of the project. Determine the trade-offs you are willing to make to get the best vendor for your project. If meeting a deadline is critical to the success of your project, then schedule would be a priority one criterion. Will the vendor be easy to on-board, or will it require more of your resources to manage the vendor? If your project has a limited budget and the deadline is flexible, then pricing will a top priority for the selection. What other information does the vendor need to provide or demonstrate?
Depending on how many evaluations points you have to measure, you could assign a weighted value to each response, and then tally them up to show how well each submission ranked. How you select the winning proposal will depend on your project needs and criteria for success. By using a table format to evaluate how well each submission met each of the requested criterion, you are better able to organize the responses and compare them to other submissions. This approach may not completely ensure an objective selection process, however, it does help you to better see how the submissions compare to each other in an organized manner.