Once the procurement plan is prepared and approved, the requesting entities should begin submitting their requirements accordingly to the procuring entity for processing. When a procurement requisition is submitted, the first step in processing the request for procurement action is to determine exactly what is required. Although a general idea would already exists as a result of the requirements determination and procurement planning phases, it is at this point that the completed technical specifications or terms of reference should be sent to the procuring entity to start the procurement requisition process. The procuring entity in turn reviews the technical specification or terms of reference for completion.
There must be sufficient detail in the description of the requirement to ensure that all prospective bidders or service providers have essentially the same understanding of the requirement. If the specifications are clear, and prepared in accordance with procurement procedures, the solicitation process can begin; if not, the procuring entity must seek clarification in order to finalize the solicitation documents accordingly.
The proper description of the procurement requirement is essential to beginning the procurement process. If done correctly, it avoids disappointments and waste of resources resulting from purchasing goods and services that fail to fulfill the purpose intended because of improperly prepared technical specifications or terms of reference.
Completing the technical specifications and terms of reference later than scheduled will have an adverse impact on the execution of the procurement plan and the award of the contract, which in turn will cause delays in acquiring the goods and services.
It is important for the procuring entity, in coordination with the requesting entity, to determine in advance if technical expertise will be required to draft the technical specifications or terms of reference and if this expertise exists in-house or will also have to be procured.
This exercise needs to be undertaken during the requirement determination phase, because if the expertise for preparing the technical specification or terms of reference must be hired, this in itself creates a procurement requirement that needs to be considered in the procurement planning process. This, consequently, will also require its own technical specifications or terms of reference completed and contract awarded far enough in advance for the hired individual to prepare the technical specifications or terms of reference in time for the solicitation documents of the requirement in question to be prepared and the procurement process initiated as forecasted on the procurement plan.
Independent of the technical expertise existing in-house, when technical specifications or terms of reference are unclear or lacking in other important elements, the procuring entity must seek clarification in an effort to resolve any apparent discrepancies before completing the solicitation documents.
Ideally, the requesting entity should maintain an open dialogue with the procuring entity while preparing their technical specifications and terms of reference. Sharing informal versions and getting feedback from the procuring entity up until the final version is ready for formal submission. Doing this helps prevent rejection of the technical specifications or terms of reference for additional information, risking delaying the procurement process due to late submission of this most important document, without which the procurement process cannot begin.
When the procuring entity receives the technical specifications or terms of reference in a manner suitable for requesting offers, and with the proper fiscal authorization to commit the allocated funds, the procuring entity can begin preparing the solicitation documents southafrica-ed.com.
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