Tendering and other best practices for sustainable sourcing
The Partnership for Supply Chain Management (PFSCM), a procurement services agent and 4PL service provider, has extensive experience in managing tenders for health products and related services.
PFSCM uses full and open competitive procedures to facilitate the timely delivery of quality products and services at a reasonable cost.
The company has been using tendering as a procurement method since its inception in 2005.
Tendering in a nutshell
Tendering is a common procurement practice in the public health sector. It involves inviting multiple vendors or suppliers to submit proposals for a specific tender that was publicly issued. It allows transparency, equality of opportunity and the ability to demonstrate that the outcomes represent the best value.
For a vendor or supplier to be selected to fulfill the tender requirement, they must demonstrate their capability, history and readiness to execute the tender. In the competitive bidding process, negotiations may be necessary before the award. Negotiations are conducted fairly and with all bidders in the competitive range.
Tendering has many benefits; it stimulates healthy market dynamics for best pricing and service levels, and reduces the risk of production delays, recalls and quality issues.
PFSCM’s approach to tendering
PFSCM has first-hand experience in tendering for a wide variety of health products and related services. It is considered a standard practice that aims to increase the competitiveness of the bids, avoiding preferential treatments, and enabling PFSCM to get the best offer.
PFSCM’s tendering activities explained:
- PFSCM has a well defined procurement process which staff are required to follow.
- All tender information and records are documented in accordance with PFSCM’s ISO 9001:2015 QMS.
- PFSCM focuses on competitive procurement to deliver best value to clients. PFSCM has different procurement methods guided by a dollar threshold/risk. There are some exceptions such as in the case of sole source procurements or single source justifications (country testing algorithms), emergency procurements (when a country is at or close to stockout) or low value procurements (under $10,000 where fair market value can be determined).
- Solicitations are dependent on market conditions such as the availability of multiple sources.
- Solicitations are open and fair competition. Solicitations are sent to vendors at same time, rules of engagement are clearly defined, questions received and answers are shared with all vendors (except in the case of proprietary information), and PFSCM performs landed cost evaluations for larger shipments where countries of origin or packaging sizes are different, etc., and when inco-terms differ.
- PFSCM notifies all vendors who submitted a proposal of the award outcome. For large procurements PFSCM has a tender evaluation committee process where a team of technical and procurement experts evaluate bids.
- The organization has a checks and balances process where a senior staff member and somebody other than the buyer checks and approves customers quotations. An additional senior staff member reviews and approves the purchase order.
The above activities ensure PFSCM’s procurement process is fair and transparent.
PFSCM’s approach to evaluating bids and selecting suppliers
PFSCM selects its suppliers based on best-value according to the following criteria, which may include, but are not limited to:
- Lead time
- Quality of products
- Price of commodities
- Customer service by the vendor
- Maintenance and service agreements
- Product training
- Vendor performance and supplier (financial and operational) long-term viability
- Compliance with World Health Organization or Stringent Regulatory Authority standards.
- Compliance with the PFSCM Code of Conduct for Vendors & Suppliers.
- Quality at the core of procurement processes
When it comes to evaluating bids and selecting vendors, PFSCM takes the utmost care to ensure the organizations we choose to partner with share our passion for-, and commitment to quality.
PFSCM upholds a strict product quality assurance (QA) policy that ensures patient safety, and prevents costly and wasteful product quality issues that may result in destruction or recalls.
PFSCM only procures products that comply with defined quality requirements as prescribed in applicable QA policies. This includes products that are either prequalified by the World Health Organization (WHO), approved by stringent regulatory authorities (SRAs), or the International Medical Device Regulatory Forum (IMDRF); and meet national regulatory requirements.
In addition, PFSCM uses a multi-tiered risk-based approach to flag and select products for sampling and quality control testing to ensure that the products continue to meet required specifications.
PFSCM’s Code of Conduct for Vendors and Suppliers
In 2019, PFSCM created a Code of Conduct for Vendors and Suppliers, thereby involving them in responsible business practices, and holding them accountable to PFSCM’s standards, and expectations.
The Code of Conduct clearly describes PFSCM’s expectations for building sustainable and reliable relationships with its vendors and suppliers.
The Code of Conduct covers the below topics:
- Transparent, fair, accountable and honest procurement practices.
- Compliance with applicable laws and regulations regarding fair competition.
- Corruption, fraudulent, collusive, anti-competitive or coercive practices.
- Exchange of fees, gratuities, rebates, gifts, and commissions.
- Privacy of information, data, know-how and documents.
- Compliance with country specific laws and regulations.
- Financing and promotion of violence, and terrorism.
- Money-laundering activities.
- Maintaining complete records in appropriate books of account of all financial and business transactions.
- Disclosing actual, perceived, or potential conflicts of interest.
PFSCM’s commitment to corporate sustainability
PFSCM is a member of the UN Global Compact and has taken practical actions to support the UN Global Compact Principles.
The organization has consciously reworked its ISO 9001:2015 certified Quality Management System to include the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact in its documented Standard Operating Procedures, Working Instructions, Policies, and Guidelines.
PFSCM’s processes and procedures have been repeatedly inspected to ensure the organization advances the UN Global Compact Principles, and upholds ethical practices such as:
- Always prioritizing product quality above all else to ensure the safety of patients, and success of health program outcomes.
- Offers clients accurate and reliable advice on products and pricing, even if that results in sales elsewhere.
- Offering clients accurate and reliable advice on product quantities even if that results in lower sales.
- Offering clients accurate and reliable advice on maintenance, training, and service plans without the client incurring unreasonable costs.
- Executing fair tendering processes which are free of bias, and leave no room for corruption, or discrepancies
For PFSCM, corporate sustainability through responsible business activities, is an inexpugnable company culture.
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