General Archives

Part 4

Yes, there are plenty of challenges when generating a RFP and the objective of this series is on How to Improve your RFP and how can we make this task easier for you as the Buyer? Sorry, there is no easy answer with the exception of hiring a third party professional. Yes, you can hire someone to create or write your RFP’s. Sign me up right, as I for one am not a big fan of writing them from scratch, which is why we started offering our forms to Buyers and Suppliers that have similar sentiments. First – few companies have the budget to hire professionals, second – it does defeats the purpose of educating yourself on how to improve your RFP skills (some call it your professional development) and last – your boss might ask what you were hired for…not good!

You can improve your RFP by improving your Read the rest of this entry

There are many areas of responsibilities in the supply chain. For example, a purchasing department might have positions for a secretary, an analyst, an inventory control clerk, buyer(s), contract coordinator, audit, quality control, transportation, logistics, warehouse, shipping, receiving and more. Depending on your company size you might be responsible for some or all of the above job functions!

Purchasing can no longer be stuffed into a dark corner with a phone, fax and internet connection. In other words, it is no longer considered an isolated function. It must work closely with both internal and external clientele. Internal would be your user groups and external would be your suppliers. For the supply chain to be effective and achieve a competitive edge all these pieces must work closely together.

Lets break down all those above job functions into two groupings.

1)    Logistics
–    The incoming movement of goods from the source (the supplier) to your operation
–    Inventory – management of stock levels, warehousing and storage
–    Distribution of stock items to your user group or customers

So transportation, warehouse, shipping, receiving, inventory control all appear to fit category #1

2)    Purchasing
–    Procurement of goods and services
–    Contracts and commercial terms
–    Vendor Management

Purchasing buyers, contract coordination, audit, quality might more fit category #2

Many in purchasing would Read the rest of this entry

Part 2

RFQ TipsThis post is a continuation of Part one of our RFQ Tips segment.

A RFQ is all about the competitive bidding process however competitive bidding is no guarantee of best value for money. It is important to remember attaining quotes from a RFQ is one stage in the procurement process. In this series we are not going to just assume vendors a) want your business b) will compete with other bidders and c) they are going to submit their best offer upfront or the first time, we will provide some talking points to other scenarios.

As a professional Buyer you have to assume this is not always going to be the case. Other factors do play a role in vendors providing the best price upfront or first time they submit. The vendors might be at capacity and are throwing out a price which if you take then they will gladly supply or they might assume you are just testing the market (looking for information) so the vendor may offer a sub-standard price and not their best. Supplier workload might indicate they do not have time to fine tune their quote so they toss out the price they used in the last quote not even considering your volume and last innovation is not factored. Maybe your potential supplier has experience (innovation) you can leverage to drive down costs and improve productivity and without entering into formal negotiations these factors may never surface.

Your goal as a buyer is to make your vendors work hard for your business. It is during the RFQ and subsequent negotiations where you will start to see the benefits and potential cost savers. Competitive bidding is a good place to start however be prepared to incorporate other techniques to achieve your end objectives.

Footnote: Any time you issue a RFQ it is implied legally that you intend on making a purchase. If it is not your intention to make a purchase and for example if you are only looking at budgetary costs, it is a common or standard business courtesy to indicate such.

Part 1

The RFQ or Request for Quotation is also referred to as a Request for Qualifications. Both procurement forms are used by Buyers when they approach Vendors for goods or services in the Quotation instance and in the Qualifications scenario they are looking for specifics to determine whether you as the Supplier might qualify to complete a requirement the Buyer has identified.

The RFQ for Qualifications might be to determine whether you are able to complete special artwork for a public environment like say a public library for example. In this instance, the Buyer might offer the Supplier a small stipend like $500-1000 to create some form of facsimile of what they would provide as artwork for this public space. From the samples of artwork provided by potential bidders the Buyer would then consider an award.

In general, when talking RFQ’s most vendors would assume you are looking for a price quotation for either goods or services. A RFQ is a great way to get the current pulse or cost in the marketplace for the item(s) you seek. By issuing a RFQ, the vendor understands they have a shot at winning your purchase order or supply contract so they are often motivated to provide the best terms in an effort to gain your business. Not a guarantee however it is an assumption…read on. Read the rest of this entry

Part Three

In part one and part two of this series we covered the importance of providing a clear, concise and detailed proposal. In part three, we will touch on the remaining components or make-up, the presentation and on responsibilities for your RFP document.

Lets start with some good news — quite often another department like engineering or your technical group is responsible for providing the scope or the technical component of the RFP. They are responsible for putting together the guts of the proposal and the reason why you are issuing the proposal in the first place. You have heard the term “garbage in, garbage out”. Well, if you put garbage in your proposal, it is likely you will receive garbage in response.

As a buyer, you are typically responsible for incorporating this scope or detailed specification into the document. You need to construct or put the proposal together in a manner that makes sense to the bidder. Other areas you need to focus on are the table of contents, the commercial terms, conditions, dates, site visits, meetings and ultimately putting together the evaluation and recommendation from all of the bids received. It is at this point you need to be cognizant of insurance, environmental, regulatory requirements and little things like payment terms.

What are some of the practices you can do to improve presentation and more importantly simplify this task?

  1. Much of a previous RFP Read the rest of this entry
 Page 1 of 2  1  2 »