AWARD® Structured Criteria Development (SCD)

Commerce Decisions is at the forefront of best practice procurement, having supported over $500 billion of procurement spend globally. It has conducted original research and gained extensive experience on hundreds of strategic projects. Since its formation in 2001, Commerce Decisions has remained focused on supporting complex, high-risk evaluations. This niche area of the procurement process is often overlooked; and the importance of getting it right is often under-valued.

Borne out of the unrivalled knowledge and experience of its professional services team, Commerce Decisions has developed the Structured Criteria Development (SCD) methodology. SCD enables the creation of robust, fit for purpose, defensible award criteria for use on procurement projects of any size, complexity and for any Public Contract regulated procurement process. Commerce Decisions has been applying SCD since 2004, using the approach to help manage competitions for procurements as diverse as transport systems, construction, vehicle fleets, facilities management and complex military equipment.

What is the SCD methodology?

SCD is a formalised methodology that can be used to consistently produce the best possible competition conditions. It can be adapted to different projects and different levels of maturity.

The SCD process can be deployed right at the outset of a procurement, when developing different solution options, or as late as the point when the Invitation to Tender (ITT) is being developed for a particular project. The earlier the process is started, the better the procurement outcome is likely to be. SCD looks at the project information and engages stakeholders in order to create a unified view of the project’s objectives, whether they are requirement led, socially led, politically led, etc.

From this, the SCD process allows a project team to understand exactly what it is that they are buying by ensuring that they do not lose sight of why they are buying it. It ensures that the team focuses on the challenging aspects of the project, rather than wasting time on the minutia that need to be specified and contracted for, but do not contribute to the overall decision of who should deliver them. The output of the SCD process is a full set of weighted criteria that can be published, if required, to all stakeholders and tenderers to any competition.

Why use the SCD methodology?

Never before has the way in which competitions are awarded come under as much scrutiny as it does now. Modern public procurement regulations give bidders the power to disrupt the placing of a contract if they are unsatisfied with the processes that have been followed by the buying organisation. It is a real challenge to get experienced subject matter experts to state clearly what differentiates one supplier’s ability or processes over another’s. This is particularly challenging when the bids have not yet been seen.

How often are bids received that miss the mark – where a bidder has not understood what is required? These bidders are often very competent, but do not know what it is they need to show. This is particularly true for bidders who do not have much experience of public sector bidding processes, and also for Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Execution of the SCD process results in clear, concise, defensible selection and award criteria that create more competitive, fairer competitions and yield better execution.

Use of AWARD®

SCD outputs are designed to work with the AWARD® software solution, also available from Commerce Decisions. AWARD® has supported over $500 billion of procurement projects across all industries to date. Commerce Decisions has the unique position of providing support across all sectors, including the majority of UK government departments and UK MOD. Commerce Decisions has supported strategic programmes globally, including in Canada, Finland, USA, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Brunei and for NATO.