Write clear specifications that include the right performance criteria.
The performance of your gear depends on the criteria you or your department sets forth in the specifications you include in your Request for Proposal. Ensure that your gear is made with the best fabrics by writing clear specifications that include the right performance criteria.
- Brand — Specifying our products by brand name is the best way to ensure you get the product you want, with its established high performance and appropriateness for its intended use.
- Description — Specifying our products by a description of its components and its technology allows your specification to be more open to competition than a brand-specific specification. A descriptive specification, incorporating aspects of Gore's unique technologies and components, is the second best way to ensure you will receive the Gore product you want, with the established materials and performance you desire.
- Performance — Specifying our product by minimum performance criteria makes your specification very open to competition. However, because of the high performance capability of Gore products, your specification can mandate specific, high performance properties for either the component or finished item. High performance specifications that reflect your on-the-job needs increase the probability of the specification being fulfilled only when a Gore component is used. It is also important to include durability requirements in a specification because out-of-bag performance can sometimes degrade after exposure to harmful conditions in your environment, such as heat, accident-scene chemicals, and petroleum products.
The Risk of “Or Equivalent”
Many procurement officers like to incorporate the words “or equivalent” in their purchasing specifications to increase competition. While receiving competitive bids is financially useful — sometimes even legally required, it also requires that the buyer evaluate whether equivalency has been achieved. For example: Does the “equivalent” product meet the specification? How do the competitive products compare in their capabilities and use? Does the “equivalent” product meet the users’ needs? In the end, the procurement officer needs to be capable to differentiate between proven performance and mere claims of equivalency.
Adding “or equivalent” ultimately converts brand and descriptive specifications into a performance specification. Specifying “or equivalent” can sometimes dilute your most important performance requirements. To prevent this from happening, make sure that your specification is comprehensive and captures all of the important performance attributes. Also, include independent evaluations in the purchasing process to ensure that the submitted products actually comply with the written specification.