Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum
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...