Utilizing a rubric when selecting a new vendor for you school can help with your decision-making process. It provides clear criteria and allows flexibility in establishing importance on various aspects which can create thoughtful conversation amongst staff on whether to choose a vendor for service. The criteria you choose to analyze a specific product or service around is key to guiding additional questions and/or inspiring new approaches. Consider the following criteria before you hire a new vendor at your school!
Experience. Does the provider have experience in fulfilling your exact need? Do they have similar experience? Experience in the education market? It is important to determine the level of experience you need to fulfill a need. There are times in which an innovative approach is more valuable than a long track record. Your rubric should inspire conversation around the need for each project.
Innovative Approach. Does the need you are looking to fulfill need an established process or system or does it require innovation? Does your organization bring unique challenges that require versatile processes for best results? It is important to think of the innovative approaches in which a provider takes to meet your need. The deliverable itself may not change as consistency in a deliverable is often what makes it effective. However, support systems around the deliverable may have flexibility. It is vital to remember in the procurement process that the best product through research, peer reviews, etc. is not the best product if it misses delivery on a necessary innovative approach.
Level of Expertise. Often times, it is the expertise of the individual(s) working on the project that you are purchasing. In some situations, a provider may have a plethora of experience in a general area but if a particular expertise is required, resumes of those contributing to the delivery are important and relevant. Understanding if the decision is being made on a firm or an individual is critical as this can drive contract language or contingency plans should a change of personnel be made.
Pricing. While pricing is not typically the primary factor in making a quality decision, it is certainly an important variable. Pricing is inclusive of value and understanding. In a pricing structure, it is important to understand the risk that the proposed structure poses. Is it an hourly rate for which you cannot reliably predict the number of hours or offers an open-ended budget? Is it reasonable for the deliverable as compared to the market? While fluctuations in pricing are justifiable based on experience and quality, variations tend to be limited to a degree and competitive amongst other experienced, high-quality providers. Often times, a price outside of the average can indicate a misunderstanding on deliverable as well. Pricing can also be the driving factor in a situation in which a clear budget is set. Honoring the budget and maximizing the work to be done within that budget becomes a driving decision factor.
Creating a rubric can help your school’s decision-making process as well as provide clarity on what your priorities are with a new service or product. Be creative! Make the rubric work for you!