CPL’s task was to identify and characterise companies that might become partners with our client, the characterisation including the pros and cons of the companies themselves, and of how well they might fit with the client.
All companies we judged to have even the smallest realistic possibility of joining together with the client were invited to respond to an initial contact. This included many of the companies active in the biopesticides business over the past few years. In addition, there are several new companies that might be suitable, as well as one or two potential entrants.
Most companies that expressed positive interest were investigated further. Discussion ensued with all interested parties that ensured the companies that expressed interest did so with sufficient knowledge so as not to waste the client’s time later. There is a cost in time, effort and money in arranging and having meetings with potential partners and we were hoping to reduce or eliminate what were likely to be ‘time-wasters’.
In addition, we sought to obtain as much information as possible about the exact current state of each company, its resources, products and plans, so that we might assess how suitable it might be as a partner for the client.
The evaluation of potential partners was an iterative process, that is, we started with a system and continued to revise it as the project moved forward. The method we used was partly objective and partly subjective.
We identified a number of factors that we felt important in assessing potential partners. Eventually, these were put into groups:
Skills and knowledge base in biopesticides
Suitability for the client
Within each group, a score between 1-10 was given for each individual factor for every candidate company. A description of the meaning of the scores is described below. The scores were then summed up, within each group and in total and the candidate companies ranked by score.
This method is semi-quantitative because, since we assign the scores, we determine the outcome. However, it becomes more objective by using a large number of factors. In addition, the scores are not assigned wholly arbitrarily by the project manager, but are discussed first in some detail within a small group. Lastly, this process can easily be repeated or modified by the client’s staff to see if a different outcome is obtained.
We obtained as much information as we could about each potential partner company and its attitudes, plans etc. This information and an evaluation of each company’s pros and cons was presented in the form of a report.