RFP Templates: Use ‘em, Don’t Abuse ‘em

Are You Adapting Your RFP Templates Properly?

PurchTips Edition #354            Click here for the printer-friendly version

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Using RFP templates – rather than creating an RFP from scratch – can save you time. However, they are easy to abuse. If you fail to expertly adapt RFP templates to your situation, you may receive fewer supplier responses. Which can result in insufficient competition. Which can result higher costs and suboptimal supplier performance.

Therefore, follow these tips to make sure that you’re properly using – and not abusing – your RFP templates:

  • Add a specification that adequately describes the product/service you want to buy
  • Make all requirements appropriately specific (e.g., “must be capable of displaying monetary values in US Dollars and Euros” is appropriately more specific than “must be capable of displaying monetary values in multiple currencies”)
  • Clearly indicate the total estimated purchase quantity and the timeline for those purchases
  • Add a summary of all supplier information required, how to submit it, and the deadline for submissions
  • Remove all non-essential template language, making the RFP no longer than it truly needs to be
  • If global suppliers are being asked to bid, remove all template references to domestic-specific requirements
  • Eliminate any requirements that are unreasonable/inappropriate for the situation (e.g., excessive insurance limits)
  • Avoid requiring “compliance with the unknown” (e.g., requiring compliance with a supplier code of conduct without providing or linking to that code of conduct)
  • Eliminate any redundancies – repeating the same requirement multiple times
  • Eliminate any language conflicts – two sections that specify different requirements for the same topic
  • Eliminate any template language that places on your suppliers any excessive costs just to respond (e.g., requiring that suppliers provide with their proposals a certificate of insurance naming your company as an additional insured)

If you’re SPSM-Certified or enrolled in the SPSM Certification Program, a free RFP template is one of the many templates you have access to in the NLPA Library.  Learn more at https://www.nextlevelpurchasing.com/procurement-templates.


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Copyright 2016. This article is the property of the Next Level Purchasing Association and may not be copied or republished in any form without the express written consent of the Next Level Purchasing Association. Click here to request republishing permission.

By Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3