Global Best Practices - Specifications

A specification is a precise description of a commodity's physical characteristics, quality, or desired outcome. In procurement, specifications are written for commodities that are to be procured and are directed at suppliers who need to be able to produce or deliver the specified commodity in order to be considered for the contract award. Therefore, specifications must be written in language that is relevant to, and easily understood, by potential suppliers. There are two types of specifications in procurement: design and performance. A design specification offers details of physical characteristics, materials, and product features, along with specific details about how the commodity is manufactured. The purpose of a design specification is to meet a custom requirement. A performance specification, on the other hand, describes the desired end result or outcome of the commodity and is not concerned with specific details about the commodity's physical characteristics or features. This practice details the elements required for a design specification and a performance specification, with detailed guidelines about how specifications should be written. It also includes a checklist of what to consider including when writing a specification for procurement.