The Problem of Using Price Exclusively in the Bidding Process

Systems Integration is like any other project: The cheapest proposal isn’t always the best (and it isn’t always the cheapest in the end).

When it comes to taking bids for a systems integration project, there are a number of important things to consider. Unfortunately, tight budgets often lead to pressure on officials to keep costs low.

“We see it all the time, where a potential client says ‘We’re in a low-bid situation here,'” says Berkly Trumbo of G4S Technology.

There are a number of problems with this approach, and a number of ways integrators can manipulate their bids to take advantage of a campus that is too focused on the price it is quoted for a project.

“Whoever wins [the low bid], it’s usually not the low bid at the end of the day,” Trumbo explains. “Somebody’s always cheated when it comes to cost of ownership and buried costs, or they’re going back for change orders.”

RELATED: The Systems Integration Process: Avoiding Pitfalls and Improving Security

Focusing so strongly on price early on can also limit what the integrator is willing to offer a client.

“If you mention cost right away, there are members of the team that would automatically exclude a particular product or manufacturer because of the price tag,” says Steven DeArruda, a consultant for Business Protection Specialists. “But once you start building the product and implementing changes, prices can change.”

To combat this low bid syndrome, some integrators submit more detailed bids to win over potential clients.

“Bid requests have such an emphasis on pricing that they don’t take into consideration what the end result would be,” says Greg Berg, who works with Trumbo at G4S Technology. “We provide information in our bids so people understand what they’re getting. It isn’t just a price for a piece of equipment. We say ‘This is what it brings you in the future, and here’s how it will look long term.'”

No matter the project, it’s worthwhile to consider every factor available when selecting a company. Blindly going with whatever company has the cheapest bid will put you at risk of getting a lower-quality final product, then price won’t matter.

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