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Setting Up a Multi-Category Decision Project

Multi-Category Decision (MCD) projects allow you to run bids that require multiple decisions to be made based on the Vendors' submissions. (For more information, please see our What is a Multi-Category Decision Project and when should I use one? page.)

In this article we will be going over the following:

  1. Overview of the MCD Process
  2. Project Setup
  3. Assigning Your Requested Information to Decisions
  4. Vendor's Experience
  5. Once the Project Closes

Overview of the MCD Process

Due to how large MCD projects tend to be, there are several different components that need to be tweaked. Based off of several years of creating MCD projects, here is the best way to create a MCD project so that it is easier to manage:

Project Setup

If you are creating your project from scratch, you will first need to specify that this project is a MCD project. Check off the Multi-Category Decisions check box from the project creation modal.

You can also add the MCD feature to a Project created previously, by clicking on the Actions tab on the Project Details page, and selecting Edit Project. Doing so will open up a very similar window that will allow you to toggle Multi-Category Decisions on (as seen above).

Once you have toggled this feature on, you will see the Multi-Category Decisions section appear on your Project Details page.

You can then move on to setting up the foundation for your MCD project, the Categories and Decisions. Let's use an animal shelter as an example. In this project, we will need to decide a) which vendors are going to provide b) which services at c) which locations.

Creating Your Categories

Categories are the different collections of services or items that your Vendors will be bidding on. You can set up a maximum of two categories.

To set up these categories, head to the Multi-Category Decisions section on your Project Details page, and under the first tab, "Categories & Items"click Create Category.

This modal will open up and you can input your Category:

You can then click the Actions dropdown menu that appears under the Category and select Add [your category name] to begin creating the tags for each of the services for the project.

A modal will open up where you can input your Category Items:

Once you add your Category Items, they will appear under the appropriate Category:

In this case, this project could be set up to accept bids from different contractors to all perform different types of work on the same building.

Creating Your Decisions 

Next you will need to click into the Decisions tab and create a Decision that corresponds to each combination of Category Items that you just created. The amount of Decisions you need to create is based on the amount of combinations between Categories and Category Items you would like.

NOTE: Decisions form the basis for Child Projects and must be created prior to the Project's close date. 

Click into the Decisions tab under the Multi-Category Decisions heading and click Create Decision:

The Create Decision modal will open up, presenting you with a drop-down menu that contains each of the Category Items you created for the three services. Click on the Category Item to create a Decision:

Create a Decision for each combination of items you would like vendors to submit a bid for, and you will end up with something like this:

 

Assigning Your Requested Information to Decisions

Now that all of your Categories and Decisions have been created, you can now assign your Requested Information to the Decisions that you have created. In the example above that means that you'll tell the system which Requested Information your General Contractors will have to submit, which Requested Information your Electrical vendors will submit, which Requested Information your Mechanical vendors will submit, and which Requested Information ALL vendors will have to submit regardless of which type they fall under.

To start, scroll down to and click on your Requested Information section. If you haven't yet created any Requested Information yet, you can do so by clicking the Manage button. Otherwise click on the Actions tab that corresponds with the piece of information you wish to assign to a Decision/Decisions, and click Edit.

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Either way you will see a modal pop up with more settings for that particular piece of Requested Information. You can then specify which Category/Categories or Category Items that Requested Information slot should be requested for by selecting from the appropriate dropdown menus.

If you tag a specific Category or Categories, this creates a requested document slot for each separate decision that is involved with that category (or those categories) you've tagged. This means that, for example, if a vendor applies for both the Mechanical AND Electrical Category, they will be asked to provide that requested document TWICE: once for their Mechanical submission and once for their Electrical submission.

If you tag specific Category Items, this creates a requested document slot within each Decision that involves the category item that you tag. In the case below where the Mechanical tag is applied, this Mechanical Certification would only be requested from vendors applying to the Mechanical Category Item:

You can also leave your Requested Document untagged to make it a common file across all Decisions. This is mostly used for mandatory information (e.g., company history and contact information) that would only be submitted by a Vendor ONCE, regardless of how many decisions or categories they submit for:

Once you are done adding all of your Requested Documents, you will be able to see them listed under the Requested Information tab on your Project Details page:

Preview of the Vendor Experience

The Vendor's experience of a Multi-Category project is very similar to that of a regular Bonfire project. Your Vendors will have to create an account, log in, and begin the submission by selecting the Decisions they wish to bid on.

NOTE: Your Vendors can choose as many Decisions as they wish at this point.

Bonfire will then automatically compile a list of Requested Documents/Information that relate to the Decisions chosen by the Vendor. In this case, the Vendor chose to submit to the Electrical decision:

If the Vendor chooses to submit to more than one Decision (say, Electrical and General Contractor), their Requested Documents would look like this:

The Vendor would then simply upload their completed documents in to each document slot to finalize their submission. With Multi-Category Decision projects, Bonfire does all the heavy lifting, allowing for an easier and more efficient process for you, your Reviewers and especially your Vendors!

TIP: You can personally test whether your MCD project is set up properly by uploading a sample Internal Submission before opening your Project to Vendors. To do so, set your project to Invite-Only and edit the schedule to Open the Project, then follow the steps on our How do I internally upload vendor submissions into Bonfire? page.

Once the Project Closes

The evaluation process for MCD projects differs slightly from regular projects. Please see our Evaluating a Multi-Category Decision Project page for further instructions!

 

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