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Multi-Category Decisions Project

In this article we will be going over the following:

  1. Project Setup
  2. Setting up Requested Information
  3. Vendor's Experience
  4. Once the Project Closes

The Multi-Category feature in Bonfire allows you to run projects that require multiple decisions to be made based on the Vendors' submissions. For example, a Multi-Category project could be:

  • A construction RFSQ, where Vendors are being binned into Mechanical, Electrical, and General Contractors. Each Vendor could belong to all three groups or any combination of the above.
  • A multi-service RFP, where some Vendors will bid on all of the services offered or a selection of the services.

In both cases mentioned earlier, the Vendors submit their proposals to a single project in Bonfire and in the process of doing so the Vendor selects which services or categories they would like to be in the running for. This makes the Vendor's experience very simple, and the submission process becomes tailored to exactly the services they're submitting for.

On the evaluation end of a Multi-Category project, you'll have a project that receives all of the proposals for all of the categories. Once the project closes you will be able to split away from each "decision" (category or service) from the master project, leaving you with a child-project focused only on that decision.


1. Project Setup

To explain the setup process let's use the example of an RFPQ for construction contractors. We're looking to prequalify Vendors for each of Mechanical, Electrical and General Contracting services.

From each Vendor we're looking to receive:

  1. Bid Form
  2. Insurance Form
  3. Sample Project List (separate list for each service the Vendor is prequalifying for)
  4. Mechanical Certification (only for Mechanical contractors)
  5. Electrical Certification (only for Electrical contractors)

 The Criteria that each Vendor will be reviewed on are:

  1. Mandatory Bid Form (Pass / Fail)
  2. Insurance Confirmation Submission (Pass / Fail)
  3. Project Experience (separate criteria for every service)
  4. Certifications (Pass / Fail for mechanical and electrical)

The project setup for a Multi-Category project follows the same steps as a regular project, just make sure to check the Multi-Category Decisions checkbox. This screen is also accessible by clicking the Edit Project button when a project is created.

When the checkbox above is selected, you will see a new section appear in your project called Multi-Category Decisions as shown below.

To set up the project, you will first need to create a category. In this case, Category refers to the collection of services that Vendors are bidding on. Name your Category and click Create.

Now click on the Actions button and click on Add [Your Category Name] to create 'tags' for each of the services for the project.

Create a category item for each decision:

You'll end up with three Category items (as shown below):

Now click on the Decisions tab and create a Decision that corresponds to each Category item. In our simple case, we're making 3 Decisions, one for each service.

You'll end up with 3 Decisions as shown below:

Now that the Multi-Category structure has been setup, we need to set up the Requested Information section, which dictates how many files we need for each service. 


2. Setting up Requested Information

With the Decisions created, the next step is setting up the Requested Information. Scroll down to the Requested Information section and expand it. Click to add a Requested Document, Data Field, BidTable or Questionnaire.

First, add the Bid Form and Insurance Forms as shown:

Next, add the Sample Project's Requested Document. We require one "Sample Projects" file per service we're prequalifying for. So for the "Sample Projects" document, the document will be tagged with the Category "Construction Service".

By tagging the file as such, Bonfire will require a separate file to be uploaded from the Vendors from each Category under "Construction Service" that the Vendors wish to prequalify for. If the Vendor selects Mechanical and General Contractor when creating their submission, they will be required to upload two separate Sample Project files, if they pick every service they'll be required to upload three files, and so forth.

For the Mechanical and Electrical certifications, we will create two Requested Documents each tagged with the appropriate Category Item as shown below:

When all the Requested Information are created you should have a list as follows:

With the Requested Information created, your multi-decision project is set up to receive submissions from Vendors.

3. Vendor's Experience

The Vendor's experience with Multi-Category projects is very similar to their experience with single-category projects. After creating an account or logging in, the Vendor will start preparing their submission by first selecting which categories they're bidding on, as shown below.

Next, depending on the decision selected, Bonfire will automatically build the list of Requested Documents/Information relating to the categories selected.

Remember that for we asked for the following documents:

  1. Bid Form
  2. Insurance Forms
  3. Sample Project List (separate list for each service the vendor is prequalifying for)
  4. Mechanical Certification (only for Mechanical contractors)
  5. Electrical Certification (only for Electrical contractors)

Based on the selections shown above the corresponding Requested Documents is:

The Vendor will simply upload the required documents and finalize their submission.


4. Once the Project Closes

After the project closes all the submissions that came in (for all categories) will be under the Submissions section.

You will not be able to download a vendor's entire submission as a ZIP until you have split the project into its appropriate categories (child projects). You will have access to download the submissions directly from each child project.

Your first step would be to kick-off any cross-category evaluations first. This is when you would score your Pass/Fail Criteria, as well any criteria that would span all categories such as Company History, etc. 

After scoring all of the common criteria you'll be ready to kick-off the evaluation for each of the categories. To do this go to the Multi-Category Decisions section, click on the Decisions tab, and click Actions next to the category you wish to start evaluating and then click Create Project.

By clicking Create Project you're creating a new project that contains all of the scores entered up until when the project was created.The projects can be accessed under the Project Link column shown below:

The Criteria, Reviewers, Evaluation Group structure and other project data are copied over to the new projects. However, only submissions made to the specific category will be copied over (including the relevant files).

For example, if a Vendor made a submission on both Electrical and Mechanical, then that Vendor will appear under both projects created. The files uploaded by the Vendor for Electrical and Mechanical will be automatically split among the projects.

Once you split/create the new projects you may wish to enter any category-specific criteria, or add any category-specific Evaluators. Each project created has the same functionality as any other project. The projects are visible under the Active Project list, their evaluation progress is tracked and shown, and you are able to export project specific reports.

That's it for Multi-Category projects

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