The Struggles of Best Value Organizations

The Struggles of Best Value Organizations

The Best Value Approach (BVA) has been researched, developed, and refined over the course of 28 years. It has been implemented in thousands of projects in 9 countries. It has revolutionized the Dutch procurement industry and provided an alternative to the traditional low bid system. Despite the success of the approach, professionals have questioned why more organizations have not been able to implement and sustain the approach. With over 60 organizations from around the world that have a BVA license (from Skysong innovations), only a few are still using the approach. Which begs the question, “Why did they stop using the BVA?”

How Many Organizations Use Best Value?

The author has investigated hundreds of organizations that have used the BVA. This research focuses on key criteria:

  • Total BVA projects completed
  • Awarded amount for projects
  • Years using BVA
  • Current status (if they are still using BVA)
  • Available documentation (performance metrics)

The research found 46 organizations that claimed to have implemented the licensed BVA system but, 20 organizations lacked documentation showing system effectiveness. The remaining 26 organizations had dominant documentation that showed performance information. The author investigated each of these organizations to find out if they were still using BVA or to discover why they discontinued the program (Table 1)

Table 1: Record of BVA Organizations

The Hurdles of Using Best Value

There are six major reasons why organizations discontinued the BVA:

  1. The BVA expert leaves the organization
  2. There is a change in upper management
  3. There are internal political issues involved with using the approach
  4. There are no more projects to use the BVA
  5. There is a lack of client interest
  6. The client wanted to modify the process

While these are valid concerns, none of them deal with the performance of BVA. There is no doubt about the performance of the BVA but many practitioners have found a major “people problem” in dealing with the approach. The “People Problem” is that most people can’t understand the BVA. People are so stuck in the traditional mindset that they can’t comprehend a new age system. This results in people criticizing, challenging, politicizing, and shutting down BVA efforts even though BVA system is performs high above the traditional system. Since the creation of the BVA, these problems have been evident in trying to implement and sustain the approach in organizations.

The Best Value Approach 3.0

Understanding that there are major “people” problems with the approach, researchers have developed and refined the process to remedy the problems. During the 2021 Best Value Conference, Dr. Dean Kashiwagi unveiled BVA 3.0 which focused on several important changes:

  • Simplifying the process
  • Including a 30-min vendor training
  • Updated templates for the entire process
  • New RFP Requirements
  • A comprehensive rubric for BVA projects
  • Eliminating all unnecessary steps of the process

In our next article, we will share how these adjustments were made during a 2020 case study with large worldwide organization.


Organizations have struggled to implement and sustain the Best Value Approach despite it’s proven success. Research was done on the major organizations that implemented and sustained the approach to understand their struggles. After analyzing the results, the problems that were documented dealt with “people” problems more than performance issues. These problems were analyzed and resolved in a case study with a large organization that implemented the BVA. The result of this research was BVA 3.0 which was released at the 2021 Best Value Conference.