Post 281 ⇒ by Gautam Shah →
In Commerce, Industry and Government many different types of specifications are used for acquisition of products or assignments. The process depends on nature of relationship between the acquirer, or assigner on one side and the vendor, supplier, assembler or manufacturer on the other side. It depends on the traditions in the field. Format of specification is formed by the technology and quality of available public specifications used for the product or process.
These are restrictive kind of specification limiting the bidding to equivalent products of a given one or few brands. The brands chosen are presumed to be the best, adequate or representative one in the market. It is killing the competition. The supplier of unspecified brand is required to show that offered product is indeed equivalent. To supply goods of the named brand, various dealers of the same product will have to contest, a condition unlikely to be allowed by the main distributor. Such a restricted practice is employed by Government Departments and organizations who do not wish to spend time or effort to define-search for product specifications. The procuring agency automatically gets the right to determine equivalence. This process has doubtful legitimacy, but is none the less practised.
LIST OF QUALIFIED PRODUCT (QPL)
Lists of qualified products are mainly formed by Government agencies as recommendation to their departments for purchase of commonly used items. In some countries Non governmental organizations (NGOs) set up filters to identify undesirable products and processes. Such lists often suggest uses and typical price range for such items. The criteria for formulating and updating a QPL are in a public domain, and periodically updated. A purchase mentions the code and calls for + or – over the standard price tag is usually in public domains.
In India, The Central Purchase Organization DGS&D (Directorate General of Supplies & Disposals) typically creates lists goods with approved rates. The term goods used in this manual apply generally to all articles, material, commodities, livestock, furniture, fixtures, raw material, spares, instruments, machinery, equipment, industrial plant etc. purchased or otherwise acquired for the use of Government but excluding books, publications, periodicals, etc. for a library.
Design specifications mention dimensional and other physical requirements of the item. Design here means a method or scheme of creating or putting together an item. It is the most traditional kind of specification. Design specifications are prescription of what an entity should be in its completed form. These are also called Item Specifications, as the design details are itemised in terms of the execution, material’s technology or mode of execution. Design specifications show how the item must be created, and often with the additional information (but, usually less effectively) what the final product is intended to be (goal, dreams, perception). Here the problems arise, because a manufacturer or supplier is emphatically told what and how to produce or deliver. In most cases this means a demand for a very customised Item. It leaves no chance for the manufacturer or supplier to offer, technologically or economically superior item, or one from their own standard range.
Performance specifications list the expectations how an entity should function or what it must deliver. Here the user communicates the requirements as to What will be an acceptable product, and How the adequacy of the product will be judged. The performance specification is more related to how a product performs or functions and at what cost, and less related to its dimensions, materials or configuration. The vendor gets substantial freedom in offering the most appropriate technology. For such specifications it is mandatory to explain in detail the results required and how these be will be checked. All performance requirements must be matched with tests for adequacy. There is a tendency to demand performance requirements that are very high in comparison to actual projections, which leads to cost escalation.
Problems arise when test methods for judging adequacy of a product could require a ‘Destructive Testing’ or a ‘Laboratory or Plant-based facility’. Full activation or critical testing of an atomic reactor may not be feasible, or a long term performance of material cannot be checked in any setup. The provision of assurance by the supplier becomes very important.
Operational specifications have lesser bearing on how an item is created or procured, but relate to the working of a system. These relate to the functioning of the item, and for that reason product formation, delivery, installation processes must have built in strategy for operation or conduction with optimum efficiency. Operational specifications are not performance specifications, but details about mitigating risks arising out of operation of a system.