Oct, 21, 2019

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Evaluating suppliers, providers or vendors

This article describes the use of general supplier criteria and performance metrics used for supplier evaluation and selection.

When evaluating any type of provider, supplier, or vendor there are always several criteria related to your project or business need you may already have in mind that may greatly affect your provider selection decision.

This initial ad hoc criteria helps getting your discovery and evaluation process started, allowing you to identify and pre-qualify only companies meeting the basic requirements.

Evaluation is a critical step when assessing a new business partner or qualifying a vendor, and you want to ensure you start with the correct providers from the beginning.

The most common evaluation method

The most generally used method to find the best provider from a list is the creation of a decision matrix that allows ranking of companies by criteria important to you. To expand this capability further and assign different weights to each of your criteria, a weighted decision matrix is typically used.

This allows you to prioritize your important criteria while maintaining a relationship to the others. It's powerful, quick, and allows you to bring the best companies to the top.

The method described assumes you already have a short list of companies selected, but does not help with your provider discovery. The Bridge platform allows you to apply the same process to provider discovery.

Applying weighted evaluations to provider discovery

Our main evaluation and ranking method on the platform is the weighted decision matrix, which you can see below. The matrix scores and ranks companies according to your requirements, but we can do this with thousands of companies at a time.

While the criteria used for provider discovery is by definition more generalized to relate to all providers, it also coincides with more specific criteria commonly used for project-specific evaluations.

Consider it a way to find the best-matching companies before evaluating a short list of favorites manually with your project-specific criteria.

Ranking and scoring methods

The scoring/evaluation process is exactly the same, except you won't have to contact each of them, and you can scan thousands of companies simultaneously to find the best for your requirements.

In addition, you also have two other ranking methods at your disposal.

The 3 provider ranking methods available on the platform

3 provider ranking methods

Ranking providers according to your needs with a weighted decision matrix

WEIGHTED RANKING: assign weights to criteria

As we mentioned above, a weighted ranking allows you to assign weights (i.e. importance) to each criteria characterizing a company's functions. We get each provider's "pulse" by using their customer ratings to provide for a better and real-world measurement.

This weighted method is the most widely used across all industries because of the flexibility it allows. Coupling it with real customer reviews ensures you always hone in on the best providers.

Weighted ranking

Weighted provider ranking

Assigning weights to criteria

LINEAR RANKING: the best companies at a single function

This ranking method focuses on identifying the best providers at a single function from your list of possible vendors. Whether your project directly calls for the best price, best quality, best customer support, or a company that performs so well that customers generally rely on it time after time, this ranking method is the right one for you.

The setup below, for example, will prioritize first the companies with the best product or service quality. Then, from those companies, the ones with the most competitive pricing. Lastly, the resulting group is sorted by the highest QA customer ratings.

The result is a list of the companies with the best product/service, the best price and the best QA. This is a useful ranking method when a particular function is paramount for your project, and only the best at that function need to be considered. All other functions being secondary and sorted by order of importance.

Linear ranking

Linear provider ranking

Sorting the best providers linearly

BALANCED RANKING: a well-balanced company

When you're just trying to find a good overall company to do business with, and a well-rounded provider is the best bet, the balanced method allows you to get a general view of each company.

Running your final short list of providers through a balanced-type scorecard is also a good way to see which are the best overall according to their customers, and which have known deficiencies in a particular business function you may have overlooked.

Balanced ranking

Balanced provider ranking

Ranking companies by their general customer rating

Mixing ranking methods

Remember, your goal is to find the best providers for your requirements by ranking them with one of the methods described above. The BridgeAtlantic service allows you to create resulting scorecards from those rankings. And you can combine them.

Let's say you want a list of the 30 top providers from your search based solely on price, another for the best support, and another for the most reliable. You can then preview and save your favorite companies or product offerings from those 3 scorecards and analyze them separately in a new final scorecard with the method you want.

You're now equipped with good data for approaching them individually or get answers to more specific selection criteria you may have.

A sample of a final scorecard

Sample final scorecard

A scorecard is a short list of your highest scored providers

Improving your provider search

To narrow down a search to only the type of companies you're interested in, view our article on improving supplier search.



About Bridge is a global provider discovery and evaluation platform.

Find providers by industry, product.

Rank according to your business criteria.

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