Another important set of project management executing processes are those dealing with project procurement management. We reviewed key concepts for procurement planning and solicitation planning in Chapter 5, "Project Planning Facilitating Processes." We will now review the important aspects of the executing processes of procurement management. The first procurement management executing process to review is solicitation.
Inputs to Solicitation
Solicitation has two inputs: procurement documents and qualified sellers lists. The procurement documents are the instruments used to request bids, proposals, or quotes from the potential sellers. Bids and quotes are used for selecting a proposal based on pricing. A proposal is used when skills, knowledge, and expertise are more important.
A preferred vendor list is an example of a qualified seller list because it provides information about positive past business relationships with vendors and provides individuals and other departments within the organization with a foundation of knowledge concerning suitable and legitimate vendors. This reduces search time for vendors and provides a network of previously successful relationships to continue rather than dealing with an unknown entity.
Without a qualified seller list, the team will be required to investigate the professionalism and legitimacy of a vendor before the proposal is accepted. Sources for these background checks can include the following:
Tools and Techniques for Solicitation
Solicitation has two tools and techniques: bidder conferences and advertising. Bidder conferences can also be referred to as pre-bid conferences, vendor conferences, and contractor conferences.
Bidder conferences are meetings that are held with potential vendors prior to the proposal-development phase. This activity allows the vendors to ask questions and be aware of all the requirements for the proposal development and to incorporate them into the pricing. Advertising is used by the customer to expand its vendor selection pool by soliciting potential vendors to submit bids or proposals.
The important negotiation principles involve clarification and mutual agreement on the requirements and contract structure prior to the signing of the contract. Consequently, the final contract should include all agreements discussed during the negotiations. At a minimum, these agreement should include the following:
There is only one output to the solicitation process: proposals. Although almost everyone is familiar with proposals, the definition according to PMI is "seller-prepared documents that describe the seller's ability and willingness to provide the requested products."