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Debriefing suppliers – why and how?

Part of: All-of-Government Procurement news

Last month, Commercial Leader Michael Hiscox and Procurement Specialist Jackie Ellis from NZGPP presented a procurement breakfast session on how to effectively debrief suppliers and why a good debrief is so important.

Debriefs are helpful to suppliers – but not many receive follow-up that is useful

Debriefs apply to both successful and unsuccessful suppliers and provide opportunities for agencies and suppliers to exchange feedback. Analysis from the 2017 Business Survey showed that only five percent of businesses felt that they got a full and helpful follow-up – showing there’s room for us to continue improving.

“We put a lot of time and effort into tenders, so we appreciate decent feedback.”

Survey response

For unsuccessful suppliers, losing a tender can be a stressful time and debriefs can be an emotional experience as a business owner.

Careful and considerate planning for delivering debriefs can go a long way in strengthening relationships with the supply market. Feedback given to successful suppliers can improve points of difference with the winning bid, and unsuccessful suppliers can gain key insights into where they need to improve for their next tender.

“As agency representatives, we need to be ready to answer questions on procurement processes and be prepared to have our decision-making processes challenged,” says Michael.

Preparation is key to running a helpful debrief

Here are our tips for effective debrief planning:

  • You’ll need to demonstrate that you ran a good process and had solid rationale for selecting your preferred supplier - so keep this in mind from the start.
  • Create good evaluation and moderation tools that allow evaluators to provide commentary on scoring, check out our evaluation, negotiation and due diligence templates.
  • Brief evaluators on the importance of keeping good records for rationale of scoring, and if necessary have a minute taker at your moderation meeting.
  • Be strategic about who you bring along with you - if the supplier lost out on a bid due to low scoring on technical aspects, bring your technical advisor along.
  • Send a structured meeting agenda to your supplier, so that they have the opportunity to prepare and provide feedback too.

If you have any questions or concerns or would like advice on an upcoming debrief, please contact us at procurement@mbie.govt.nz.