Short listed bidders are invited for a face to face meeting with the client called clarification meeting or pre-purchase meeting at client’s premises. The intention of such meeting is:
- To explain what is wanted from the supplier and how they fit in within the project scenario.
- To reiterate the package requirement to ensure that the prospective supplier fully understood the requirements in terms of engineering, fabrication, quality control and testing, certification and delivery.
- To answer any query the supplier may have and to finalize any issue that was still open in the comments sheet.
- To meet supplier’s key personnel (project manager, document controller, quality engineer, discipline engineer).
The clarification meeting or pre-purchase meeting is normally chaired by the buyer from procurement department who also arranges and facilitates the meeting. Client’s package team member and any major engineering discipline shall attend such meeting explaining the salient features of the package from their perspective or answer any question, their supplier counterpart may have.
All important aspects of the package are discussed during the pre-purchase meeting, for example:
- Buyer would finalized the delivery date (s); explain methods of communication, introduce project team members, any weekly meeting required (day, time), explain expediting methods (desk top expediting, field expediting) and finalize bench mark dates for submission of critical documents (data sheet, vendor document requirement list, quality plan and/or ITP) if the bid is successful. Supplier’s proposed fabrication plan is a good source to start with.
- Client document controller would explain methods of document submission, review and return, turnaround time, periodical document status reporting, document numbering procedure, and document approval procedure.
- Quality engineer explain quality assurance, inspection and testing requirements including certifications. It is a good practice to ask the supplier’s quality engineer to provide sample QP/ITP and go through it together, so the supplier’s quality engineer is better informed about how to prepare them. Such coordination would drastically reduce the number of comments once such critical documents submitted.
- Package engineer discusses engineering issues and identifies any outstanding issues to be cleared before placement of order. Data sheet being the prime document while welding, material, electrical disciplines may also be discussed as the case may be.
Once the purchase order has been placed with the selected supplier, the package engineer takes the lead while the buyer would have a supporting role in terms of on time delivery, and phased release of funds and payments. US suppliers have a business development manager who leads the bidding campaign who hands over the lead to the designated project manager after the pre-purchase meeting.