[How to select a PBS vendor?]
PBS' offered from different vendors are dramatically different. They are different in the way they present pre-defined activities and bid month pairings, different in the method of bid, different in defining a best line, different in the algorithm applied, and different in publishing the awarded lines.
They are different in performance, including the overall satisfaction rate, the ability to control open time to meet company goals, the solving speed, and the way they assign reserve crew.
Ask for a demonstration and benchmark the result. Compare and review the results between different vendors. Remember that the true difference is the satisfaction of the junior crewmembers without violating the preferences of senior crewmembers while achieving company goals.
"Selecting a Vendor" is the most important part as a prospective customer. The consequence will be serious. The company and thousands of crewmembers will either benefit or suffer from it for years. Once a system is adopted, it will be hard to change.
After installing PBS, training is the key to assure the successful implementation of any PBS. It involves thousands of crewmembers with different backgrounds. To train them to bid the preferences correctly, aggressively, and appropriately (according to seniority), becomes the biggest challenge. A vendor with a comprehensive training plan and a good reputation in after-sale service is absolutely a factor which cannot be ignored.