Do you know what suppliers fear the most about writing proposals for you? Do you know what they assume will happen if they give you a proposal that describes how they can help you minimize cost and maximize value?
I believe that I do.
They worry that they will invest time and resources into crafting a perfect proposal and you will take their ideas, hand them off to their competitors, and give the business to the supplier willing to charge the absolute lowest price regardless of whether or not they came up with the cost-saving/value-creating ideas or if they can even execute those ideas. And the supplier that did come up with those ideas will not get the business, thereby wasting their investment in creating a buyer-benefitting proposal and possibly compromising their own competitive advantage and getting absolutely nothing in return.
You may say “I would never give a supplier’s ideas to a competitor. That would be unethical!”
But how is the supplier to know that?
Don’t expect them to assume that. They won’t.
It can be helpful to put a blurb in your RFP saying something like “[Company Name] will make its supplier selection by identifying the proposal with the optimal balance of measurable value creation, cost reduction, and risk minimization. Therefore, [Company Name] encourages you to propose ideas that will contribute to these goals. You can rest assured that [Company Name] will not share your responses with other suppliers.”
Just that little bit of reassurance can be the difference between getting proposals that serve as a roadmap for the highest potential positive profit impact and getting proposals that give you the minimum amount of information possible.
To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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