your opinion

What percentage of your event budget is typically allocated to catering?
What percentage of your event budget is typically allocated to catering?
51% or more

latest issue

Latest Issue

May the Best Vendor Win

Best Value Procurement is a scientifically proven way to choose the best supplier. Here’s how it works

By Laura Bickle

Wouldn’t it be great if choosing a travel supplier were as simple as going through your RFPs and choosing the lowest bidder? But you only have to do that once to know that’s not always that best route. So how can you ensure that you end up with the best combination of affordability, service and reliability? That’s the goal of the Best Value Procurement Process, developed by the Performance Based Studies Research Group (PBSRG) at Arizona State University and used by the University of Manitoba, Alberta Infrastructure, the City of Spruce Grove, Alta., and a consortium of five Ontario universities. The process has been tested and refined over the execu­tion of more than 900 projects.

There are three main components to BVP:

1. Evaluation and selection: If you’re used to proposals that look more like novels, this pared-down approach will be a welcome surprise. The potential vendors submit anonymous proposals that include Risk Assessment, Project Capability and Value Added (templates are provided by PBSRG), which are evaluated by the vendor’s selection committee. Price and Past Performance Information (references) are scored numerically. After this evaluation, the committee interviews key operations personnel from the vendor’s side. The interviews are strictly a question-and-answer session (no presentations) and last about 25 minutes.

“BVP takes the smoke and mirrors out of the proposal process and enables vendors to focus more on the expertise they are bringing to the table,” says Brian Lines, a project manager with Arizona State University who helps clients implement the process.

2. Pre-planning: Once the successful vendor has been chosen—but before the contract is signed—the vendor and buyer finalize a detailed project plan, identify risks and discuss ways to minimize them and confirm the project schedule. Again, these discussions include the people who will be actually doing the work. “The pre-award timing of the planning process also provides more clarification and detail for the buyer, which makes them more com­fortable with what they are buying than in any other system we have seen,” says Lines.

3. Performance measurement: The process doesn’t end when the contract is signed. The vendor produces a weekly risk report, which documents factors impacting cost, scheduling and quality. This forces the vendor to think ahead and fosters com­munication and problem-solving between the two parties. “The report system maintains a focus on high service levels and keeps the vendor and owner teams proactive for the duration of the service,” say Lines.

Linda Warner, the manager of travel management at the University of Edmonton, Alberta, used the BVP process when hiring a travel company for the university’s non-mandated travel program. “The evaluation was very clear and concise and the interview process really allowed the vendor’s people to show their true potential and skill level.” In fact, she says, “I was surprised that all the evaluators came to the same conclusion (about the winning vendor) without ever talking to each other.”

Her advice to travel managers just starting with BVP? “Stick to the true BVP process. Don't take any shortcuts. Trust the process.”

Spreading the word
Brian Lines, who helps clients implement BVP, says he always recommends holding a pre-proposal BVP information session for vendors with the release of the RFP. “We want to make sure the vendors are comfortable with the BVP proposal tem­plates and understand the owner’s intent for using BVP.”

Getting started
Best Value Procurement (BVP) is licensed by Arizona State University (ASU). There is a one-time licensing fee to use the specific language and templates of BVP. ASU pro­vides hands-on training and implementation support for the client’s team (direct assis­tance with RFP development, evaluations, contract planning, and risk and performance tracking tools). ASU also assists with vendor training. There is a one-time licensing fee of $25,000 for organizations that plan to use the process long-term.

other articles in this section

The Waiting Game

Q&A with Suzanne Neufang, Executive Director, GBTA

By the Numbers

Keeping Corporate Data Safe

Are Your Female Business Travellers Safe on the Road?

Flight Turbulence

What’s your Data Plan?

Get it in Writing

Follow the money

In Harm’s Way

It’s all in the timing

Covering Trouble in Paradise

Flight Plan

For Safe Keeping

Smooth Moves

On the Safe Side

At Your Bleisure

Cover me!

Uber. Airbnb. Lyft…

Q&A with Anthony Pollard

Data Dilemma

Getting on track

So Long, Swipecards

Take your Best Shot

Benefits of Integrating Mobile Payment Platforms

Trend Setter, Dorothy Dowling

Newest Cloud Technology

Is it Time to Dust Off your Corporate Travel Policy?

The Future Travel Credit Management Solution

Planes, trains and data plans

When employees fall ill on the road

Burnout Busters

The Rules of Compliance

Communal Spaces Boost Hotels' Comfort Factor

Making the most of travel and expense management systems

May the Best Vendor Win

Evaluating disaster recovery plans

On the Road Again

Hotels Taking Wellness to a Whole New Level

Corporate Travel Tracker

Controlling Corporate Travel Costs

The Anti-stress List

The Blurred Line Between Corporate Travel Manager and Planner

Big Flight Discounts for Small Businesses

Are Business Travellers Putting Corporate Data at Risk?

Timesaving Mobile App for Superior Car Service

Company Car or Driver-owned?

10 Healthy Travel Tips

Navigating Emerging Markets

Business Travel Etiquette

Rogue Travellers on Spending Sprees!

Business Travel and Health

Social Media and Travel Programs

Baggage Handler Confidential

Travel Expense Reporting

Buses Mean Business

Travel Budgets Analyzed

Q+A with Ron DiLeo

Progressive Extended-Stay Programs

Dynamic Hotel Pricing

The Perfect Travel Management Company

The Kindest Cuts

Green Businesses

Travel Policy Compliance

Car Sharing: The leaner, greener choice!

Expense Accountability

Hotel Program Success

Costly Corporate Credit Card Programs

Travel Less, Save More?

Dynamic Pricing

Travel Program Success

Meetings Abroad: Are you Prepared?

Maneuvering Through the RFP Process

Cross-Border Air Travel

Time for a Travel Policy

10 Ways to Avoid Business Travel Pitfalls

Bargaining Table Car Rental Tips for Corporate Planners

Creating Travel Policy Compliance

Sustainable Travel Tips

Crucial Travel Policy Changes to Save Time and Money

Tipping Guide for Business Travellers

Corporate Travel Policy

Passport Essentials and Other Requirements

Managing your Company's Travel Risks

Duty of care to travellers goes beyond borders