John O' Gorman

Will You Be Short-listed? How Buyer Screening Criteria Reduces Risk

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There is increasing evidence that buyers are addressing risk up front in short-listing suppliers based on criteria, such as;

  • Have you successfully completed projects of this scale and complexity before?  How recently? Have you strong reference sites presently ’live’?
  • Have you worked with companies of our size and in our industry before? How recently?
  • What is the strength of your balance sheet? What is the size of your installed base?  What is the strength of your team? Do you have X, Y, or Z accreditation or certification?

In this respect the issue of risk may have may initial vendor screening easier.  It certainly enables buyers to ‘narrow the field.’  This is important as there is no point in wasting time on vendors who are not going to make the final cut.

For vendors it is better to know in advance the threshold criterion to be applied in selecting a vendor.  Indeed, this addresses one of the common complaints from sellers regarding competitive tenders – wasting time preparing tenders when there is only an outside chance of being selected.

But how high is the threshold to be set in terms of the initial shortlisting of vendors?  This is something that is particularly of concern to younger, or smaller companies.  Well, many would argue that when it comes to big ticket EU tendering for example the criteria is too effective at narrowing the field.  Take for example the guidelines that past experience can only be referenced for projects within the past 4 years.

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