vinny02Negotiating aka haggling does come easier for some people. For example, my parents are from Europe and although I was born and raised in North America, my family was comfortable negotiating on both major and minor purchases.  This was part of their upbringing and they are more accustomed to this form of trade or commerce. As a result of having witnessed this growing up they managed to instill these traits in all their children.

Looking back, after close to 30 years in the Materials Management field, I have come to realize becoming a purchasing agent had much to do with my upbringing.  My parents used every opportunity to expose their children to real life financial transactions and nurtured the importance of achieving the best possible product at the best possible price. To be honest, for our family, negotiating an acceptable unit price on a major expenditure was a necessity.

One of these real life transactions — my Father had me actively involved in the negotiation of my first major purchase. An automobile and at the tender age of 16. Yes I had a car, which I bought and paid for with my own hard earned cash!

Watching my Father grind the Car Salesman sitting on the other side of the desk was an experience or life lesson I will never forget. On one side you have an eager yet scared Buyer (me cause I had to make car payments), on the other side is the wily sales manager. Representing the eager buyer was Read the rest of this entry

You want me to do what? You are a Buyer and just received a call or a reminder that an annual review for one of your companies key vendors is due. In your already busy 9-5 schedule you have to find time to crush off an annual vendor performance review, supplier evaluation or supplier scorecard.  Whatever your company calls it does not matter, finding the time to establish a vendor rating system and properly evaluate a supplier is the challenge.

In today’s purchasing, the Buyer is responsible for motivating the supplier to improve higher performance levels at a lower cost. To do this, more emphasis is being placed on the relationship, closer cooperation and collaboration or Supply Chain Management. Regardless of the industry you presently represent, completing annual vendor evaluations is a vital part of the supply chain function and having a proven Vendor Rating System will make your life a whole lot easier.

Your rating system will improve each time you complete or apply it. The key is to establish a system, ask the right questions, involve the right user groups and simply start the process. The benefits of improving dialogue, measuring performance will help motivate your suppliers to improve service levels and lower cost. A good vendor scorecard will show the suppliers  how their improvements are being effective and will provide an opportunity for the Buyer to compliment the supplier on achievement as well as highlight any downturns on performance.

What do you review and what types of questions you need to ask are all included in our Supplier Evaluation Form so take a minute and check out this preview of our sample scorecard.


vendor performanceEvaluating a Supplier, Sub-Contractor Evaluation, Performing a Site Audit? All of these forms are included in our Mega and Purchasing Manager Packs. How much is your time worth? Let our tools help you hit the ground running.

Detailed previews are available on our Channel– Please Subscribe and Like.

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

As a supplier, the more jobs you bid the more likely you are to achieve an award. So, how do you get more RFP responses out the door quicker, easier, cheaper and less laboriously? By using ready made RFP response forms you can quickly edit and submit.  Beg or borrow one from a colleague or purchasing a template will help get you started. By using an existing template you can move to the edit stage versus starting with a blank canvas. Once you do find a template suitable for the required response, you can customize it with company details, add any additional desired verbiage and buzinga, you are hours ahead of the competition. Continue to work and rework it until you are satisfied your presentation meets all the Buyer’s requirements. This extra time will permit you to work on the meat of your presentation which is where the tender is typically won or lost.

Some more tips for improving your chances at succeeding or providing more winning tenders:

  • Say more with less. Do not over detail your responses. White space is not a bad thing. Use graphics, pictures to make your presentation more dynamic and quicker to peruse. A picture of a related past project is an acceptable component of your response.
  • If the Buyer is asking for references, try to use a company you have completed work for and one which has an existing relationship with the Buyer asking for the reference.
  • Provide detailed contact coordinates on your references – company name, contact person, title, address, phone, email so they can make a quick convenient call to the right person and if possible use a testimonial from this company. Nothing provides more weight than a reference from a third party the Buyer is presently doing business with. The Buyer will feel comfortable calling this reference knowing they will get a straight up answer or the vendor providing the reference might jeopardize their own existing relationship with this Buyer.
  • Always answer or respond to RFPs in a way that’s tailored to your customer’s specific needs. Respond in the order of the request or to match their needs and prepare your responses thinking about the reader or from the buyers perspective. The Buyer may put your response in a compliance matrix so by following their format you are ensuring you do not get any strikes against you before the evaluation stage has even started.
  • Answering to win—not just to answer.
  • All key financial points in your response should be highlighted and framed to ensure they stand apart from the rest of the proposal. White space on either side of these key points is important.

Our edit friendly forms will help you create that winning look and professional feel that will help your quote stand out. Starting from scratch trying to find the right words only works if you have countless hours of time you can dedicate to your response. If you can find a quality response at a reasonable cost why would you waste hours of your day creating a proposal. Let us help you eliminate tender bias and increase your chances of winning more bids by using one of our forms today = >>

Should you tender your freight transportation requirements and if so how do you generate a RFP to cover this vital piece of your business? Like it or not your transportation service provider is an arm or is part of your business. Picking the right vendor to move your product to and from your business should garner more attention from the purchasing department than what it typically does.

Many organizations just go with the company that has always managed their freight and often very little due diligence has been completed to determine the most suitable carrier for their business. Poor quality service for incoming freight can hurt or shutdown your business if it is not delivered on time and in one piece. If your goods are sensitive to the environment you will want to do everything you can to mitigate liabilities and show due diligence in the event you are included in a legal battle as to who was and is responsible for the goods while in transit. Good article here on FOB Points.

On our arterial roads and highways, the trucking industry moves million of tons of merchandise daily. It is truly one of the largest and most important industries to our economy. The scope or significance of this industry is staggering and yet many companies do not give it a second thought or serious consideration when it comes to who they should partner with. Part of this might be the buyers uncertainty on how to tender or quote this service.

To properly quote your freight requirements your RFP should include a section which provides the bidders a good picture of the amount and type of freight you move in any given year or twelve (12) month period.


The estimated annual LTL (Less than Truckload) tonnage is Read the rest of this entry

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