The Significance of Ranking in Frameworks

Named on the recent Joint Consortia Framework Agreement Dawson Books topped the chart in various categories, but what does it all actually mean?

Read the earlier post for more information on our listing

At Dawson Day this year we asked our customers what was most important to them when choosing a supplier – around 2/3rds of the audience (of 200 delegates) responded with factors such as quality, service, efficiency, innovation and speed of supply  – only 1/3rd stated price as the main reason for choosing a supplier. Yet the weighting in this framework positions price as THE most important factor in your decision making process and the resulting rankings reflect this. Don’t get us wrong, with budgets being squeezed and the pressure to deliver more, for less, we know price cannot be neglected. But are the results a true reflection of what is actually available to you?

Our submission for the Joint Consortia Framework Tender was based on a minimum baseline level of discount and does not show the real opportunities on offer. A piece of paper doesn’t allow for the customer relationship. It doesn’t account for conversation and discussion. It doesn’t consider negotiation or understand each individual situation. Where libraries are committed to working with us, we can and do offer very competitive pricing and better discounts. Given the opportunity we work with customers, sometimes creatively, to find solutions that work within the budgets they have. Which means, actually, we can tick the price box and be just as competitive as others in the marketplace – considering this, suddenly those other areas that you’ve already told us are hugely important to you, carry more weight.

So what does this actually mean?

Selecting a supplier isn’t black and white. There are Three Ways to call-off the framework – it is completely up to the institution which option they wish to use and what is best for them…

  1. Highest Scoring Supplier

It’s important to remember here that many services (e.g.  EDI/API capability, LMS integration, out of print, servicing capability, urgent delivery) were not scored in the tender, so approach rankings with caution. Additionally, the ‘price’ ranking is based on a minimum discount where no relationship/commitment to work together exists. For ebooks in particular, the pricing in the tender is only useful if the customer wishes to order the exact basket which was used for evaluation, and they wish to use the cheapest access models (likely to be limited to 1 – 3 simultaneous users).

It is advisable to have a dialogue with suppliers first to establish who can meet your needs the best.

  1. Desktop Exercise

If time is of the essence you can use a desktop calculator to amend the criterion by up to 20 percentage points to reflect your specific requirements. This tool is available on the Contracts Database and, based on amending weightings to your particular preferences, it will re-calculate the total overall score and suppliers will be re-ranked according to your criteria.

For example, if quality has an original weighting of 30% then this could be changed to anywhere between 10% and 50%.  The total percentage for all criteria must equal 100%.

  1. Further-Competition

A further competition is the most accurate way in which to ensure you appoint the right supplier for you. All suppliers appointed to the relevant Lot must be invited to submit responses to your further-competition tender document. This allows you to stipulate your specific criteria and judge suppliers accordingly. As this is a Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT) framework agreement, both technical and commercial evaluation criteria must be used in a further-competition tender process.

Whichever way you choose to select your supplier, it’s important to consider the options and recognise everything isn’t always as it seems on paper. Dawson are happy to assist with any exercises you run, in any way we can, in order to ensure you find the best solution for your organisation.

If you’d like to discuss your requirements with us, please get in touch

Dawson's specific rankings...


Total Quality - number 1

Service support - number 1


Innovation - number 1

Efficiency - number 1

Service support - number 1

Range of services - number 2

Quality - number 2

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