What is an Approved Supplier List (ASL) and how do new suppliers get onto this list. In my experience client groups sometimes gets confused. I’m going to bust some common myths.
- I want to use a supplier I have used before therefore they are on an Approved Supplier list- that’s inaccurate, just because you filled in new supplier form and the supplier is in the finance system this doesn’t mean that they are on the ASL. It just means at one point someone in the company bought goods or used their services.
- I want to nominate a company to become an Approved Supplier and my Procurement Department is making it difficult. You cannot just nominate a company, they need to go through a competitive tendering process in line with the organisation’s procurement policy
- I have tendered the supplier- therefore they are on the Approved Supplier List, this is not necessarily true, you may have tendered the requirement but it depends on what the contract allows.. If the tender was for a specific project then yes you have a contract but this does not mean it becomes an Approved Supplier where you can keep putting work through the same supplier without further competition.
This is a bit of a minefield but largely the problems crop up when people think there is such thing as an Approved Supplier List but the procurement department hasn’t set one up.
Approved Supplier list are useful to have but require a bit of work upfront. Firstly the contract needs to be set up to allow for multiple call offs, the best option is to advertise for a framework contract. The contract is sufficiently large should be controlled centrally with local procurement either via a direct call off or further mini competition, for example, a stationary contract is not required to be competed each time but a consultancy contract might have the different scope of works for different clients within the same organisation.
The list needs to be accessible if you are a procurement department ideally this should be published on your intranet page and updated regularly.
Approved supplier list are not evergreen, contracts should have a definitive end date and re-tendered if the requirement is ongoing.
You might want to read more about framework agreements