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Provide Feedback

Once the contract is awarded, all suppliers that submitted proposals or offers are entitled to feedback, upon request, from the Contracting Officer or his or her designated representative, with the assistance and participation of the members of the Proposal Evaluation Team and Purchase/SCM Team. Frequently, this delivery of feedback is referred to as "debriefing."

Unsuccessful suppliers should be debriefed upon request received by the Contracting Officer within three days of the Supplier's receipt of the award notification. When practicable, untimely briefing requests received beyond that time should be honored. To the maximum extent practicable, any debriefing should occur within five days of the receipt of the unsuccessful supplier's written request, because failing to debrief in a timely manner extends the period within which the Supplier can lodge a business disagreement concerning the award.

It is as important to understand why a proposal was selected for award as it is to understand why a proposal was not. Therefore, feedback, in general, is intended to:

Explain how proposals were evaluated

Provide constructive feedback on the reasons why a proposal was or was not selected

Help the supplier improve submissions of future proposals

The Contracting Officer or a designee should explain the rationale for contract award, and, if necessary, use the delivery of feedback as a means of educating suppliers on the way the Postal Service conducts its purchases. A supplier may be informed of its proposal's relative strengths and weaknesses determined during the evaluation and, if proposals were ranked, its ranking. A supplier may also be informed of the rating its proposal earned; however, no point-by-point comparisons with other proposals or further breakdown of other evaluated scores may be made.

For the benefit of the Postal Service, this feedback should aim to accomplish the following:

Identify ways of improving the solicitation process

Identify ways of improving communications with potential suppliers

Demonstrate commitment to good practice and openness; work toward establishing a reputation as an open and ethical buyer with whom suppliers will want to do business in the future

Educate suppliers that the Postal Service is driven by best value and not solely by cost or price

Document lessons learned

Suppliers' Perspective

Providing feedback must be done in a way that is sensitive to the perspective of the unsuccessful offerors. A proposal is a speculative investment and may require a considerable amount of time and money. Feedback should describe the reasons why a proposal was not selected, in terms of the proposal's weaknesses. If such information is provided, the tone and language should be kept positive, describing how something should have been addressed, with a focus on suggestions for future improvement.

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Medium and Documentation

Feedback may be provided in person, in writing, by electronic means, or through any other method mutually acceptable to the Contracting Officer and supplier. Regardless of the chosen medium, the Contracting Officer must include a written summary of the feedback in the contract file, which is discussed in detail in the Produce Contract Award Recommendation topic of the Perform Preaward Activities task of Process Step 2: Evaluate Sources.

Information must not be disclosed to any supplier as to another's:

Trade secrets

Restricted data or privileged or confidential manufacturing processes or techniques

Business and financial information that is privileged or confidential, including cost breakdowns, profit, indirect cost rates, and similar information


The level of the supplier's representatives receiving feedback is important if the lessons learned are to be adopted organization-wide and if the supplier is serious about improving performance of future solicitations. Attendance by potential suppliers' top management, as well as (or, in some cases, instead of) the leader of its sales/purchasing team, is preferred.

Effective feedback reassures suppliers that the process has been carried out in a fair, objective, and business-like manner. However, business disagreements that require more devoted attention do arise; guidance and instructions for resolution can be found in the Supplier Disagreement Resolution topic of the General Practices.

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Other Topics Considered

Produce Contract Award Recommendation topic, Perform Preaward Activities task, Process Step 2: Evaluate Sources

Supplier Disagreement Resolution topic of General Practices

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