A New Approach to Governments' Vendor Selection Decisions: A Three-Stage, Multiattribute Procurement Auction
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The current fiscal crisis has placed unprecedented pressure on public procurements. A major target of future public spending cuts is likely to be defense expenditures. Within the defense budget, the biggest and most immediate targets are likely to be the acquisition of new equipment, facilities, services, and supplies. Addressing the growing global challenge of affordability, this paper offers a new approach to government''s vendor selection decisions in major public procurements. In the absence of profits to guide public procurement decisions, the challenge that faces a government buyer is to select the vendor that delivers the best combination of desired non-price attributes at realistic funding levels. The governance mechanism proposed in this paper is a multiattribute first price, sealed bid procurement auction. It extends traditional price-only auctions to one in which competition takes place exclusively over bundles of desired non-price attributes. The first iteration of the model is a multiattribute auction in which a fixed budget constraint is specified. Next, the model is expanded to incorporate a range of possible budget levels. This expanded model reveals the benefits to the buyer of defining a procurement alternative (vendor bid proposal) in terms of its value to the buyer over a range of possible expenditures, rather than as a single point in budget-value space. This new approach leads to some interesting results. In particular, it suggests that in a fiscally constrained environment, the traditional approach of eliminating dominated alternatives could lead to sub-optimal decisions. The final extension of the model explicitly examines the buyer''s decision problem under budget uncertainty.
Sponsored Report (for Acquisition Research Program)Approved for public release; distribution unlimited.
NPS Report NumberNPS-AM-10-176
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