2024.01.17: Traditional Best Value RFP vs. PIPS

Original article posted on LinkedIn by Jacob Charries, CPPO, CPPB, PIPS BVA, CPO-OK, CPM-OK.

Throughout my tenure in public procurement, I've found that my experiences can be neatly sorted into three distinct categories: the realm of what I confidently know, the vast expanse of what I definitely don’t know, and the enigmatic territory of I don’t know what I don’t know. It is within this elusive third category that many of us in procurement find ourselves navigating: tasked with procuring goods or services about which we possess little knowledge. Even with the assistance of internal experts, government entities often trail behind their private counterparts in terms of innovation.

So, we embark on a journey of scrutinizing other solicitations and conducting research, attempting to come up with specifications and evaluation criteria. Our sincere hope is that these will adequately meet the requirements, yet there remains uncertainty. If we overlooked an essential aspect, we would remain blissfully unaware, trapped in the abyss of the unknown unknowns.

Enter the PIPS Best Value Approach—a pivotal instrument in the procurement toolkit. Instead of assuming the role of an expert, this approach empowers us to pinpoint genuine experts and solicit their guidance in achieving our objectives, relying on verifiable metrics. Rather than evaluating our own, potentially flawed specifications, we concentrate on identifying a vendor with field-specific expertise, allowing them to propose their own comprehensive plan for success. A meticulously crafted plan comes complete with mechanisms to hold the vendor accountable.

This approach has proven to be exceedingly effective, shifting the focus from self-devised specifications to leveraging the expertise of vendors who intimately understand the field. If you're keen on learning more about how the PIPS Best Value Approach can benefit your organization, feel free to reach out to Civic Initiatives with any questions. Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks for detailed case studies illustrating the successes of this approach across various commodities! You can also learn more in the chart below.