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Apple exec John Couch meets with Turkish president over possible $4.5B iPad buy - Page 3

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Edited by Dick Applebaum - 2/4/13 at 4:24pm
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"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
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post #82 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by umrk_lab View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Most enterprise and governments do procurement through the office of a "purchasing agent" (whatever the name).  Because this office can often be exposed to questionable or illegal influences -- it is usual well regulated and monitored for compliance.

When a situation involves the initial or "pilot" use of products or services, the requestor may know what he wants -- but may not know all the potential solutions and providers of those solutions.

In this case, the requestor will document his needs, and the entity will issue an RFP (Request For Proposal) to all comers (or selected potential suppliers).  This is the best opportunity for the vendors to provide their solutions, define the necessary specifications... and hopefully get their solution written into the specs.

Often, the requester can look around and see what others are doing * and shorten or bypass the RFP process.  This may include inviting salesmen from known suppliers to discuss the requester needs and outline their solution on an informal basis.

*  Fraser SpeIrs in Scotland  http://fraserspeirs.com

Once the [formal and/or informal] fact-gathering has been completed, the next step is usually an RFQ for what ever the requester has determined that best meets his needs.

As the process is not done in a vacuum and, likely, has sought information from potential suppliers -- there is a strong likelihood that some supplier specs are written into the RFQ.

This does not mean that others cannot bid with a solution with specs that are "over and above" those outlined in the RFQ.

The RFP/RFQ process must be flexible enough to "get things done" yet rigorous enough to avoid fraud and abuse.

Unfortunately this is not always what happens.

Either the process is so rigid that you end up paying $100 for $10 Toilet Seats -- or so lax that undo influence is brought to purchase something that doesn't do the job.

From outward appearances, the Turkish project seems to be handled quite normally for a project of that size -- a pilot of 4,000 tablets for  project involving millions of units.

The pilot could give an advantage to the winner [of the pilot] or it could have just the opposite effect -- if the winner's solution is inadequate.

In any case, the pilot lays the groundwork for the entire project -- and you may see the entire project go through another, expedited, RFP/RFQ process from a position of better knowledge of:
  • what they need
  • what specs are required to meet the need
  • what's available
  • how much it should cost

Again, I see some things in the bid that raise an eyebrow -- but I expect to see that... and I don't think that it is, necessarily, nefarious... any more so that the Turkish Government meeting with Apple, Samsung, Microsoft...



This is fine, and you are very pedagogic. Again, I know nothing about this Turkish project, and I do not project preconceived ideas about it.

But, if you let me continue on this interesting discussion, assuming there would be no bias of any kind in an hypothetic RFP/RFQ process, that would mean the decision would be made on "spec sheet" battle.

Discussion in this forum frequently opposes Apple lovers, who judge on User experience, to Apple haters, who prefer spec sheet arguments. This is a problem, because spec sheets are frequently biased, and also User experience is something which is very difficult to quantify, especially in RFP/RFQ drafting.

this makes me conclude that it will always be difficult for Apple to win in thee, although I know you can mention numerous exceptions (but mostly in the US, I believe).

Consumer markets, where each consumer takes his individual decision alone (although he ca be influenced, of course), are totaly different from corporate or public markets, where the RFP/RFQ process inherently ignores user experience.

 

 

 

Quote:

But, if you let me continue on this interesting discussion, assuming there would be no bias of any kind in an hypothetic RFP/RFQ process, that would mean the decision would be made on "spec sheet" battle.

 

Some thoughts:

 

IMO, the only way to totally eliminate bias is to have no specs at all!

 

All things being equal (which they never are) -- a customer will buy from someone he knows (can perform) and likes.

 

A requester realizes he has some leeway in defining the "specs" of a solution -- but he must be careful not to eliminate valid competition.

 

There are ways of submitting a bid that does not meet specs but makes them an offer the customer cannot refuse... this can be both good and bad.

 

Part of any noteworthy procurement must be the consideration whether the vendor can actually provide the products and services in the time required... this affects the decision process of the requester and the procurer.

 

Any procurement individual worth his salt realizes that he is being monitored and there are whistle blowers.

 

What all parties in a procurement are [or should be] considering is a way to justify the actions they take.

 

 

So, here are some actions that Apple could take for this particular bid:

  • demonstrate the ability to provide a solution that equals or exceeds the bid specs
  • demonstrate the solution's acceptance by the education marketplace
  • demonstrate the ability to provide the products and services in the time required
  • add additional products/services -- eBook Author, iTunes U, iOS Developer kits/Macs
  • provide on site training
  • 48 hour local maintenance repair services
  • local manufacturing

 

Lets take just one of these:  local manufacturing.  Because of tariffs or whatever causes, iPads cost twice as much in Turkey as in neighboring countries.  Apple could setup local manufacturing to bypass this problem.

"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
Reply
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
Reply
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