The RFP must also address vendor qualifications, such as financial responsibility, experience and integrity, program management duties and define clearly the bidders' reponsibilities in submitting responses to the RFP. To better evaluate the proposals a point-point response to the entire RFP is a recommended requirement. It is also important to identify in detail the proposal procedures and the minimum content to facilitate the evaluation process. This section of the RFP should include the requirements for the proposal format, pricing schedules, price validity, handling of unforseen extra scope items, schedule of performance, bidders' conference and walk-through, work-around requirements, the handling of unplanned disruptions, the warranty requirements and the proposal due-date.
When combined with the technical information, i.e. system design, equipment specifications, implementation specifications, acceptance test and documentation requirements, the RFP is ready for issuance. Contacting prospective bidders to assess their expertise is an essential task. Quite often, a contractor has personnel that has experience in the handling of fiber, but splicing of coaxial devices is subcontracted. It is good practice to request a list of the people that would be working on your project with their skill levels. It is also important to request a list of completed projects with references and a record of available test equipment to be able to better judge the past performance of the prospective bidder.
The evaluation of the responses to the RFP is an integral part of the consulting effort. A rating system will be prepared for financial as well as technical comparison. A review of past performance, vendor organization, experience and skill level will be incorporated in the rating system. While the final decision rests with the customer, the consultant will make recommendations and provide rating details of the first three contenders. The preferred contractor shall have sole responsibility to provide all equipment and services on a turnkey basis, using only minimal subcontract services.
TE Consulting, Inc., 18 Michael Road, Framingham, MA 11701. Tel: 508-877-6494; Fax: 508-788-0324.