The QBS Process

In my last blog post, I addressed why Qualifications-Based Selection was important. But how does it work? There are essentially three steps to the process:

  1. A client issues a Request for Qualifications, shortlists three-to-five firms for interviews, checks references and ranks the firms.
  2. The client further defines the scope of work and contract terms with the highest ranked firm.
  3. The client retains the firm on the basis of mutually agreed-upon fee.

If fee negotiations fail with the highest ranked firm, the client initiates step 2 with the next highest ranked firm, and so on, until a mutually acceptable scope of work, contract terms and fee are achieved.

This process is analogous to when we recruit and hire qualified candidates for our companies. An RFQ is similar to a job description; we shortlist and interview candidates and check references, similar to step 1. Then, we formalize employment terms and conditions, benefits and compensation with the preferred candidate, similar to steps 2 and 3 above.

Commoditization happens when we are unable to demonstrate the value of our services to our clients. It’s our responsibility, at the grass roots level, to educate ourselves and our companies on the importance of QBS so that we can effectively educate our clients on how to hire us using this process. For more information, visit the QBS Committee page on the ACEC Indiana website.

Until next time,

Steve Osborn, PE, SE, FSMPS, CPSM
President, CE Solutions