Does video conferencing make it easier to evaluate suppliers?
We're just finishing up a bid. Our heads are full of equality policies, pricing and schedules. It's a strong bid, a great team and we've got all the necessary experience. It feels good.
We've written a lot, it has taken a long time, but could it be different?
It used to be commonplace for suppliers to attend bid interviews in person, it is less frequent these days. These events always feel nerve-wracking, but at the same time it is a good chance for bidders to show their metal and to respond to some questioning.
One of the problems with this approach was the need to co-ordinate all the parties, getting everyone in the room is hard, people have a home life, holidays and other commitments. Then there's the location, is it fair to ask someone from Orkney to travel to London for one bid meeting?
Video conferencing is now a genuine alternative. There's more flexibility, so its easier to organise, there's no travel, so it is fairer to those from afar, yet it still affords the buyer the chance to undertake some probing questioning.
Well run video sessions could also lead to better decisions, buyers can ask for clarity and demand scrutiny of a bidder's submission, whilst suppliers get a chance to query a buyer and press their case in a reasoned conversation.
The best thing about video conferences? It levels the playing field, small suppliers can compete with big suppliers, global brands are replaced with faces and pages of textual bragging are replaced with pertinent questions. It turns out that our home office looks remarkably similar to the home offices of staff from global brands, that's no bad thing.