Definition: A specification is an explicit set of requirements to be satisfied by a material, product, or service. (ASTM and Wikipedia definition) Explicit means fully and clearly expressed (The American Heritage college Dictionary)
The Hubble Space Telescope- a $500 million dollar error
The Power of… To obtain the best price, the greatest power we have is the power of… competition
The Power of… To obtain the best quality, value, and/or service, the greatest power we have is the power of a… well written specification
Successful Specification Develpoment How do you create a well written specification that gets the agency what it needs? Start with good paradigms A paradigm is a mental map the way you see the world
1. Be Proactive Take responsibility Take control of the process Add value by making a difference Maintain integrity (with yourself, agency, tax payers, etc.) Seek for continuous specification improvement
Be Proactive Utah Procurement Rule R33-2-103 Procurement officers may take any action of a procurement nature to advance the economic well being and efficient operation of the state or agency so long as that action is not in conflict with the Utah Procurement Code or the Utah Procurement Rules.
2. Begin with the End in Mind No Protests If a protest is made, will the specification withstand close scrutiny? Frequently ask yourself, What could go wrong? How can I write the specification to avoid it?
Begin with the End in Mind Make a level playing field Create a comprehensive picture of what needs to be taken into account. Ask yourself, What are the most crucial factors? Realize that you are creating a circle of cooperation
A Circle of Cooperation Four contracts make the circle for medical supplies… U of U Hospital and Novation (GPO) State Purchasing > U of U Hospital > Novation Novation and Cardinal Health State Purchasing and Cardinal Health
3. Seek first to understand, then seek to be understood Do effective research What do they want? What do they really want? Be curious and ask good questions – where, what, when, why, how, and who? Go and see… Invite the vendor community…
Seek first to understand, then seek to be understood Avoid over specifiying Know what the State standard terms and conditions say Know what is in the State Instructions to Bidders Avoid duplicating statements in the Ts & Cs or the Instructions to Bidders in your specification
Seek first to understand, then seek to be understood Know the : Dollar volume Type of specification * Type of contract * Type of bid * What does the law require?*
UC63G-6-303 Purpose of Specifications All specifications shall… seek to promote the overall economy and best use for the purposes intended, encourage competition, and shall not be unduly restrictive.
R33-4-104 Procedures for the Development of Specifications (2)(b) Brand Name or Equal Specification. (ii) …Brand name or equal specification shall seek to designate as many different bands as are practicable as or equal references and shall state that products substantially equivalent to those designated will be considered for award. …provide at least two, preferably three brands… (State purchasing staff meeting minutes 1/3/07)
Substantially Equivalent The combination of the characteristics of the brand-name products cited shall be the minimum standard of quality for this bid. Products which meet the minimum standard and which are in other ways substantially equivalent to those designated will be considered for award.
4. Put First Things First Organize your research Tell a good story Use a logical sequence
5. Think Win-Win Guide the supplier to what you want Allow the supplier to get what they want Show respect by the way you write: Point of view Correct grammar and punctuation Explicit
Think Win-Win (Show respect) Short sentences and simple language Use the same terminology throughout Avoid redundancies; contradictions The way you present the specification will have a definite influence on those who will bid, the savings you will obtain, and service you will receive.
Think Win-Win The agency is responsible for the initial draft. State purchasing will usually have questions and will usually make suggestions for fine tuning specifications. The agency and state purchasing will collaborate as a team to create the final draft. In BidSync the specification is associated with the name of the state purchasing agent.
Specification Development Summary Be proactive Begin with the end in mind Seek first to understand, then seek to be understood Put first things first Think win-win First 5 of the: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
What is Habit 6? Synergize The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. You create something new that exceeds what was intended. Every aspect of purchasing under the contract works in complete harmony. Previous problems are not an issue.
An Example of Synergy Medical supplies Previous contract had one supplier, 950 listed items, fixed prices, and a dollar value of $400,000 per year Now there are two suppliers, 4,000+ items, ever-changing audited prices, and $900,000 per year
What is Habit 7? Sharpen the saw Physical Social/emotional Spiritual Mental Take advantage of training
The Last Word If the devil is in the details… …deity is in the difference.