Monday, May 7, 2007

Sher Value: Low Bid Syndrome

Just over a decade ago I was invited to speak at a conference on
Quality and I made a point that upset the organizers and point that
was not received well. The fact it was made in sincerity and earnest
was ignored by critics and perhaps a decade on we can talk about the
subject. We live in what I call a 'low bid syndrome' where in the
search of the lowest, and therefore cheapest, price we ignore quality.
My point has been how can a system espouse quality when the system is
based on the lowest bid getting the contract?

While I do believe where the bidders are on an equal footing then the
lowest bidder getting a contract is all the more reasonable, there is
a propensity for some project owners to take the low bid syndrome to
the extreme. This applies to the area of human resources and
specialist areas where corners are cut and usually the result is that
quality suffers. We need to break away from this mentality and if we
are to create a first class economic and business model then we have
to understand the quality comes with a price. So often the right
person is not hired because his price is higher than we think he or
she is worth and we forget that top class people come with top class
pay packets.

UAE is poised at a fundamentally different position to what was the
case over a decade ago. Today they compete as a business location with
the best in the world and are executing projects that are landmarks in
their own right. You cannot make these iconic projects with the low
bid syndrome in our mind. In our quest for the best we have let the
media agencies decide on the clich├ęs but now it is time for us to
deliver the promise that we make and to do that means that there has
to be a mind shift about this element of the process.

Why is it necessary? It is simply because if we want to foster quality
then that is the only way forward. We must also realize that as the
success of the country has achieved new milestones so too has the
attention of the world media focused more the country and this implies
both good and the not so good things the media will pick up. One
cannot simply say that this is the way we do business as now we
attract a clientele from around the world and with it comes the
attention that is normal. Our quest for quality must continue and
while I can say it doesn't have to be expensive to be quality and
tasteful it doesn't have to also be cheap to the point of ridiculous.

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