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Pre-Tender as a 'wind tunnel' for tender design


Imagine that it would be possible to conduct a sensitivity test on a Request for Tender (RFT) and find: which providers are most likely to win the award procedure? Are those indeed the premium quality providers that meet the preferences of me as a commissioning organization? Pre-Tender as ‘wind tunnel’, does exactly that!

Usually, the procuring organization draws the lessons for the next tender on an ex post basis. That is, after the tender has been concluded and the contracts have been signed. The conclusion - in hindsight - is often that award criteria could have been designed more adequately. For example: a different weighting of price as opposed to quality criteria, or a more appropriate scoring mechanism, et cetera.
These are costly lessons as in the meantime it may occur that a suboptimal provider has been contracted. Moreover, this ‘not-so-prefered’ provider may even have been contracted for a considerable time span.

Pre-Tender is designed to avoid such pitfalls.
The ‘Agent version’ of Pre-Tender allows to test various tender procedures with just a few mouse clicks.

Agents are automated players. These automated players are given certain characteristics that will induce them to play different strategies. For example, one Agent is a profit maximizing ‘rat’ who will undertake the utmost effort to achieve his own interests at the cost of those of the commissioning organisation. You may not want a provider with these characteristics as the winner of your tender procedure. A second Agent acts more in line with the public interest. This Agent will value his reputation, will provide quality services, and will satisfy himself with only a modest profit margin.
Allowing these various Agents to compete on several tender procedures generates a solid insight in the key variables of a specific tender design. That is: in the ‘switches’ that a procuring organization has at its disposal to turn the contract relationship into a far more effective one.

The mathematics for the Agents has been developed in close collaboration with Prof. Dr. J. Telgen and his staff at the Technical University Twente.