A quantitative decision matrix for increasing value for both buyers and sellers: THE PROCESS FOR IMPLEMENTING


Once the vendor selection matrix was sent out to the research vendors along with the request for proposal (RFP), several issues about implementing and using the matrix among the voting members had to be clarified. These issues were:

Issue 1: How was the matrix to be completed? (Individually or as a group.)

Issue 2: How would the individual ratings and values be consolidated?

Issue 3: What were the critical deadlines to be set?

Prior to attending any research vendor presentations, the team members had to determine whether each individual should complete the matrix separately, or whether the group should discuss each presentation and come to a consensus on each rating.

While there are pros and cons for each approach, it was decided that each individual team member should create their own ratings and then submit them for a mean consolidation of each rating, thus allowing for a consolidated approach of individual thoughts. However, it was also decided that a group debriefing of each vendor’s presentation would be helpful in developing independent ratings by clarifying any misunderstandings and sharing different thoughts or impressions about each presentation.

It is important to note that a decision was made not to discuss or reveal individual opinions on ratings for any of the criteria at the debriefing meetings. The reason for this decision was to ensure that any perceived knowledge levels or seniority of certain voting members did not influence the rating decision making of other voting members.

Issue 2: How would the individual ratings and values be consolidated?

As mentioned previously, each potential research vendor presented their proposal and then the team members engaged in a moderated debriefing session. Following that, each voting member filled out their ratings for the vendor on their individual matrix. Once all vendor presentations had been completed and a vendor selection matrix completed for each potential vendor by each voting member, it was time to consolidate the matrices into one matrix from which to make the final selection decision.

As shown in Appendix 2, voting members submitted their individual vendor matrices to a central collection person. The information for each vendor by each voting member by each criterion was then input into a consolidation matrix that calculated the mean rating and the mean value. As mentioned in Step 5 of the methodology for developing a vendor selection matrix, a zero rating was factored into the equation for any voting member who felt uncomfortable rating the vendor on any of the criteria. Therefore, the mean rating was calculated by reducing the denominator by the total number of members who entered a zero rating for those specific criteria. The mean value was then calculated by multiplying the mean rating by the weighting assigned to the criteria.

Once the matrices were consolidated, the distribution of each team member’s criteria value score was then compared graphically against the mean criteria score for each vendor. This process was completed as a safety check to determine if any particular team member had specific opinions about a vendor or criterion that was being outweighed by the aggregation of the matrix. Although the group had agreed to a decision process based on the aggregation of individual opinions, it was determined that it was important to ensure that each team member, as a major stakeholder in the project, was comfortable with the outcome.

Issue 3: What were the critical deadlines to be set?

Specific deadlines were set for certain steps throughout the selection process. The specific tasks where the timing was tightly managed follow:

— The debriefing sessions occurred within two hours of each presentation in order to discuss the presentation while it was still fresh in the minds of the team members.
— The individual scoring within the matrix was completed within one hour of each debriefing session in order to capitalise on the information discussed at the debriefing session.
— Once the last vendor presentation was complete, voting members were given two days to submit their vendor matrices to the central collection person. This was to provide the team members with enough time to consider their matrices prior to submitting them for aggregation.
— Each vendor was provided with specific feedback based on the matrix criteria within two days of the final decision.

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