An Easy Time-Saving Tip For RFP's

PurchTips edition #53


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Make RFP Response Analysis More Efficient

How many times have you issued a request for proposal (RFP) that indicated the dates by which you would begin negotiations, execute the contract, begin receiving the goods/services, etc. and you failed to meet those dates? It happens all the time.

Even though the consequences for failing to meet these dates are minimal, you know in your heart that failing to meet the dates is symptomatic of poor planning and/or inefficient processes.

In the typical sourcing process, one task that is often unnecessarily time consuming is summarizing proposals so that they are in an easily comparable format. This task is made difficult by the fact that all bidders proposals look different, may have fine print hidden in 4"-thick binders, and do not make it equally clear what is included in or excluded from their pricing.

Including a standardized response form in your RFP can help make the summarization task easier. And if you are not sure what elements comprise the pricing, you can send out a request for information (RFI) in advance of launching the RFP. The RFI should contain this requirement:

"In some industries it is common to quote pricing as a series of separately priced line items. Please submit a list of all of the typical price components that contribute to your total price. For example, hardware, software, implementation services, training, maintenance, etc."

Considering the bidders' responses will enable you to create a single page RFP response form that summarizes all of the cost information that you need to review. And always include a field for "Other Costs" with a requirement that such costs be explained.

By including a well-developed response form in your RFP, you will be able to quickly analyze supplier responses without scouring scores of pages of fine print and worrying that you'll learn too late that the low bidder was not actually the low bidder because of a detail that you missed. And then you just may be able to adhere to the dates that you specify in your RFP!

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