How to Improve your RFP – Part 4

Part 4 of 4 on Improving your RFP

Yes, there are plenty of challenges when generating a RFP and the objective of this series is on how you can improve your document  and how can we make this task easier for you as a Buyer?

I wish there was an easy answer, however, with the exception of hiring a third party professional there is no easy way around this. 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 Buyer’s and Supplier’s that have similar sentiments.

First, few companies have the desire or the budget to hire third party professionals and second when you outsource it does defeats the purpose of developing your role as a Purchasing Professional.  And last, your boss might ask what you were hired for…not good!

  1. You can improve your RFP’s simply by improving your (more…)

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How to improve your RFP – Part 3

Part Three of Four

In part one and 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, the presentation and on responsibilities for your RFP document.

Let’s 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 somewhere 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 (more…)

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How to improve your RFP – Part 2

Part Two of Four

In part one, we touched on areas on how to improve your request for proposal. We mentioned mitigating risks, improving bid responses and clarity. In part two, we will provide further amplification to these three areas.

Mitigating Risks: To reduce risk or to reduce liability against your organization we strongly recommend you involve legal counsel prior to issuing any formal RFP or RFQ documentation. Be sensible, if the proposal has a $5,000 budget you might wish to pass on the legal counsel review, however, if the proposal has a considerably larger value and or an inherent risk, then you should consider this option. Having provided this caveat, we are also assuming you are using a quality template that has been reviewed and approved by your organization in the first place.

Other ways to limit liability is to ensure your instructions to bidders are consistent and do not contradict within the proposal. An example, would be a technical specification being at odds in two different areas of your document. Another example, is an extension to the submission date. If you indicate the tenders or proposals must be received by 3:00 PM PST on August 4, 2015, then you are legally bound to honor this timeline. Many organizations date and time-stamp proposals at time of receipt. This log and control function is a form of mitigating risk in the event they are challenged. If you issue an addendum or extension to a deadline then this must be provided to all bidders.

Risks and liabilities are a very dry topic and we could spend a considerable amount of time on this subject alone but we hope the above gives you some sense on how to avoid getting embroiled in a legal challenge. Lets move on to improving your bid responses. (more…)

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