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When you were down the street for lunch today, scents of the burgers, kebabs and stir fry lingering in your nostrils – what elements did you factor into your lunch purchase decision?

Every single day across Australia people and businesses are making value for money decisions on all sort of things; every road you drive on, pool you swim in and school you’ve attended has emerged from a procurement process of some sort. In our day-to-day lives decisions are made by a process of “instinctive synthesis”. Instinctive synthesis is the process of weighing up all of the relevant factors (instinctive synthesis is used in a legal sense to describe the process whereby a judge takes into account all factors prior to making a sentencing decision). In the case of a purchasing decision, the decision making process results in the purchase of a good or service that represents the best value for money based on the objectives of the procurement.

Obviously for a government procurement decision, particularly for high value items, there needs to be a bit more rigour around the procurement process. In most instances, the government body conducting the procurement will release a request for tender, receive responses from suppliers and evaluate those responses based on a predetermined set of evaluation criteria. This ensures that all prospective suppliers have equal opportunity to participate in a process that is fair, defensible and obtains the best outcome.

At Sparke Helmore, we have decided to see whether we can apply the same methodology to select the best Banh Mi in Canberra, and in the process, see whether an evaluation against specified criteria comes to the same conclusion as the instinctive synthesis process. Naturally we are not going to ask Banh Mi vendors to submit a tender but we are going to conduct a detailed evaluation using predefined evaluation criteria. To make the process fair we are going to weight each criterion based on what we see is the overall contribution to the Banh Mi.

Accordingly, we are considering the following evaluation criteria and weighting.

Criteria

Weighting

Sub-criteria

Bun 35% Freshness, taste, crumbliness, squishiness, texture, size
Main Filling 35% Taste, quantity, texture (crunch), true to description, fattiness (if applicable)
Salad/Other fillings 20% Variety, freshness, quantity, taste
Balance 10% Balance of the Banh Mi (the extent to which the proportions and tastes complement each other)
Pricing Unweighted             Total cost of Banh Mi (including any additional sauce)

Any volunteers?

We would love to hear your views before settling the criteria and getting down to the very important process of evaluating the Banh Mi, which we expect will also stimulate the Canberra economy.

As we are interested in finding the best Banh Mi in Canberra, we have not included location where the Banh Mi is purchased (which is a significant factor in most Banh Mi purchasing decisions). So, do you know of a particularly good Banh Mi around Canberra to include in the assessment? Better yet, do you want to be a volunteer evaluator and take your pick? To volunteer, we only ask that you evaluate a minimum of four different Banh Mi.

As Chair of the Banh Mi Evaluation Committee, I’d like to thank all those who wish to take part in this experiment which will be conducted under the supervision of our official Probity Advisor— Liana Westcott.

More detail about the evaluation process and team coming soon.

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