Original Post Date: Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Competition seems like a sensible practice on the path to best value.  However, is it possible to create a truly competitive environment?

“It is a tradition that we don’t trust our business partners, people don’t have a clear understanding of how sharing information would result in better performance.  The lack of understanding induces fear and skepticism.”
Hau Lee, Graduate School of Business at Stanford University

There are two behaviors that debunk competition in regards to complex systems wrought with uncertainty: over-optimism and deception.  Government buyers share the dual burden of seeking advanced technologies to meet future capabilities while asked to determine best value of goods and products that lack historical reference or data.  The real challenge in meeting cost reduction and competitive initiatives falls in the hands of those responsible for defining and achieving best value for their organization – acquisition and purchasing professionals. 

Acquisition professionals must be armed with tools, knowledge, and methods that provide rapid, credible identification of predicted cost and risk.  Knowledge capture and estimating practices have proven to detect deceptive estimating, eliminate mistakes and anticipate the risks associated with optimistic predictions of new technologies.   From better selection of COTS, to benchmarking suppliers, to supporting real business case - our customers are working to understand the systems they are acquiring and the goods they are purchasing.  They are finding ways to come to the negotiating table from a position of knowledge - a position that promotes cost realism and ultimately honest competition.

Have you seen real competition at work in your industry?