You should set evaluation criteria for:
- cost effectiveness - based on the ‘whole life cost’ you calculated in the planning phase
- technical merit - the performance and reliability of a proposed solution
- skills and experience - the competence of the supplier
- after-sales support and assurance
Each criteria should be given a value or ‘weighting’ to reflect their relative importance to you. This can be done by using a scoring scheme, for example:
- cost effectiveness - 20 points
- technical merit - 15 points
- skills and experience - 5 points
Whilst cost will always be an important evaluation criterion, in most circumstances quality should be weighted higher than price. This recognises the importance of service delivery over simply buying a product at the lowest price.
To avoid a bias towards low-cost you should:
- ensure that you consider whole life cost rather than just initial cost
- consider using a low-cost threshold below which the bid will be considered abnormally low
- include a minimum quality threshold based on technical merit
Technical merit should be measured objectively, for example by allocating points to:
- performance - such as coverage or network capacity
- reliability - how mature is the proposed solution and is it well maintained?
- flexibility - can you customise the solution to fully meet your needs?
- assurance - for example, is there a Service Level Agreement (SLA)?
- integration - will the solution work with your other technology?
- security - does the solution’s security meet your needs?