Scoring and evaluating proposals from vendors.
In Vendorful, an RFX exists in three states:
- Drafting -- the process of building the request.
- Awaiting responses -- there might be Q&A with vendors, but you are otherwise giving the vendors time to craft their proposals.
- Scoring and Evaluation -- this is when the vendor replies are scored and the scoring information is then subject to review and discussion.
The focus of this entry is "Scoring and Evaluation."
When you're ready to score RFX responses, there are two areas to consider, the Questionnaire and the Pricing Table. Bear in mind that the Pricing Table is typically used for commodity-style goods and services that can easily be reduced to line-item level detail. It might not be appropriate for the RFX you're running and if it's excluded, you won't see a button prompting you to click it. When it is available, however, you will see two options:
Let's begin by looking at the Pricing Table. The image below shows you a default view. It lists all of the rows and columns with the latter organized by vendor. Please note that the vendor names are anonymized and use placeholders, i.e., Vendor 1, Vendor 2, etc. instead. This is designed to maximize the integrity of the process.
Let's take a detailed look at the above screenshot. Along the top row, from left to right there are a variety of options:
- Compare Selected Vendors: If you want to narrow your analysis to a subset of the vendors that have responded, you can click the checkboxes next to the vendors you want to include and then click the "Compare Selected Vendors" button. This will temporarily hide the other vendors and allow you to focus on the ones you want to see.
- Columns to include in pricing analysis: By selecting the dropdown, you can include particular columns for a pricing analysis. Line items with the lowest price will be flagged in green while the higher-priced line items will be marked in red.
- Export Data: Clicking this button reveals a dropdown that will let you export the data in a format that will be importable into a spreadsheet like Excel.
- Display All/Display (dropdown): The dropdown allows you to hide certain columns. For example, in the example below, you might noticed that all of the shipping dates are the same so you no longer want to consider them in your analysis. To to hide them, you would simply deselect the column from the dropdown. To display all columns, you simply click the "Display All" button.
Once you have completed your analysis, you can score the vendors on a scale of 0 to 100. There is no requirement that you score the top vendor 100. You should, however, have an agreement among the people who are doing the evaluation regarding the criteria and how to approach scoring the pricing table. While you may end up drawing different conclusions than your colleagues, there should be uniformity in the approach to the scoring process.
You can score the sections of an RFX in whatever order you so choose. Now, we're going to look at the Questionnaire. As with the Pricing Table, the questionnaire is also anonymized. You'll note that under each question are three blue dots. Each dot represents a vendor answer. When a dot is filled in, it means that the answer was scored. When it is "glowing," the answer being evaluated is associated with that vendor, i.e., it is the "active" answer that is being evaluated. And when it the dot is hollow and not glowing, it is not currently being evaluated and has not yet been scored.
As we did with the Pricing Table, let's look at the above image to understand all of our options.
- Progress indicator: On the upper-left side, there is a percentage and then a list below it. This keeps track of what section/subsection you're in and how much of the questionnaire you've completed. It updates in real time.
- All/Unscored/Scored/Abstained: These are filters that allow you to focus on questions in specific states. Image that you scored a bunch of responses, but ran out of energy for the day. The next day, you open your web browser and log into Vendorful to resume. If you want to see All of the questions and their responses, you can click the "All" button. However, if you only want to see the questions and answers that you have yet to score, you can click "Unscored." Once you do that, we'll hide all of the answers that you've scored or from which you have abstained. "Scored" shows you the questions you've scored. Finally, "Abstained" shows all the questions where you've elected to Abstain.
- Left/Right arrows: Vendorful displayed questionnaire responses in a carousel format. That allows you to see all of the answers -- vendor-by-vendor -- side by side. At the same time, it provides a lot of room for multi-line answers, embedded images and videos, and even attachments. (Attachments are usually previewable -- if we can successfully convert them to PDF -- in the browser with a click of the mouse and are always downloadable in their original format.) Clicking left and right will allow you to move backwards and forwards through the vendor responses.
- Scoring buttons: The buttons beneath the answer allow you to quickly score the quality of the response. Once you do so, the carousel will automatically advance to the next vendor response. You can always go back or move forward and re-score any response you would like.
in strategic sourcing events where multiple stakeholders are being asked to score vendor responses, it can be helpful to keep track of which of them has scored. In addition, you might want to add additional stakeholders to participate in the scoring process. You can see and do this on the RFX status page. The relevant area looks like this:
If you invite additional stakeholders to participate in scoring (and assign them the appropriate permissions), they will start at 0%. Stakeholders who lack the scoring permission will see N/A in lieu of a progress bar.
Once scoring is complete, the aggregated results of the scoring can be evaluated. Vendorful provides a high-level preview of the scores as well as the ability to dig in for a more detailed breakdown. To access the detailed analysis, simply click the "Review Scores" button.
Once you do this, you will see a page that looks like this:
The evaluated vendors will appear, listed from left to right by scores, i.e., the highest overall score will appear on the left, followed by the next highest score, etc. Vendorful also allows evaluators to see which sections and subsections were "won" by which vendors. Users can click to expand sections and drill down all the way to the results of individual questions. The data on this page, as well as individual scoring data, can be exported to a spreadsheet. For those who prefer a more visual breakdown, the "Graph" tab provides a bar graph visualization of the scoring.