Sourcing Tips Inspired By Valentine's Day

What Do Sourcing & Valentine’s Day Have In Common?

PurchTips Edition #394

Valentine’s Day is just about here. Those of us with school-aged kids – or who remember when our kids were school-aged – know all about the struggle of sending our children to school with appropriate Valentine’s Day paraphernalia.

Believe it or not, some tips for Valentine’s Day parties can be applied to sourcing. Here are a few of those tips:

Be Inclusive. No kid wants to feel left out or unliked. So, teachers stress that students must come to class with a Valentine card for every kid in the class. A mistake in sourcing is that some procurement professionals only send their RFP’s to suppliers they already know and like. That’s a mistake because you are limiting competition (which usually results in higher prices) and ignoring opportunities for innovation. Casting a wide net for potential suppliers at the RFP issuance stage of the sourcing process is a good idea. It’s easy to whittle potential suppliers to a short list. But not so easy to restart the sourcing process when you realize that the pool of suppliers who responded to your RFP is too small.

Send a Hopeful Message. When selecting a supplier, you want choices. To be able to pick the best of the best. Suppliers loathe wasting time and resources. They only respond to RFP’s when they feel they have a chance to win. Be sure that your RFP entices them by conveying that your sourcing process provides a fair proposal evaluation method and a legitimate chance for any qualified supplier to win. Think of those candy hearts given out on Valentine’s Day. They say things like “Be Mine” and “Kiss Me.” They don’t say things like “Use all of your effort to respond to me but I’m just going to stay with the sweetheart I already have.” So, make sure your RFP doesn’t communicate a message like that either!

Make Sure Your Materials Are Up To Date. In 2018, no kid is going to squeal with joy when getting a Valentine depicting Hannah Montana or the Titanic movie or New Kids on the Block, right? Both Valentines and RFP’s need to be current to work well. Proofread your RFP before sending it. Look for outdated requirements like Y2K compliance or deliveries to a facility that no longer exists or the faxing of notifications. Outdated RFP’s make it seem like you’re unorganized. That scares suppliers. You want suppliers that keep themselves current, so set a good example.

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Copyright 2018. 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