For most companies, finding a sufficient number of qualified suppliers is not the issue.
Consistent participation is a bigger challenge.
Do you continually chase suppliers to get them to respond to RFPs?
If you do, then it might be time to look at your RFP process from your supplier’s point of view.
An online tool should be better than Excel and PDFs but that isn’t always the case. If you pick the wrong tool for your needs, you won’t be better off.
Before you implement a new system or tool ask this question. Will this make it easier to do business with my company?
Time is often our most precious commodity.
Given the choice of responding to an RFP that will take 10 hours or one of a comparable size that will take 5 hours, most will take the shorter path.
Think about all the changes in buying and selling that have occurred on the consumer side in the past 5 years.
Amazon, your local pizzeria and even state agencies are making it easier to do business with them.
Commercial buyers and sellers should take notice. A competitor that makes it easier to sell to them will gain a competitive advantage and attract more motivated suppliers.
Wouldn’t your life be easier if you had more suppliers looking to make you their prize client?
Isn’t this collaboration at the highest level?
Let me share some ideas that save you and your suppliers time and effort in the sourcing process:
- Participation and completion reminders are sent at pre-determined times and only suppliers who have not completed a task are notified.
- Dashboards that provide real-time reporting on participation and % complete. Ad hoc reminder emails that can be generated based on this reporting.
- Help screens that answer frequently asked questions in plain language.
- Mapping to the document repository, so suppliers don’t have to resubmit the same items for each event.
- One-button upload of required documents or updated documents with automatic notification of document submission for both buyer and suppliers.
- Automatic notification to suppliers to update required documents.
- Auto save each answer as it is entered.
- Once a bid has been submitted, a report is automatically sent to your team.
- Exception functionality that will reject outlier bids.
- Tips to help suppliers avoid common pitfalls that will cause their submission to be rejected.
- Suppliers only see items they are qualified to bid on based on specific metrics like regions.
- Suppliers can provide alternative items or bids using predetermined guidelines like location or service level.
Begin with the end in mind. Make the analysis quicker and more flexible.
I like to think about it this way: provide a funnel that your supplier can easily slide down. This also means that they are required to provide the answers in the format that you want. This makes your analysis faster and less prone to error.
It might make sense to ask your suppliers how they rate your process compared with their other clients.
A good friend of mine noticed a decline in the number of suppliers bidding on projects. He asked several of his trusted suppliers that question and was shocked at the response. He learned that several key competitors had revamped their sourcing process. His suppliers estimated that it was taking 50% less time to respond to the competitors RFPs.
My friend was lucky and has moved quickly to update his sourcing process. He believes that if he hadn’t made changes, he might have been out of business this time next year.
Ask better questions, make changes and 2018 will be your best year ever.
Action Step: If you are uncertain where to start the process of change, a procurement professional like myself can provide guidance and expertise to help your organization achieve the results you want.
If you want to go explore this topic in greater detail, please contact me. I invite you to request 30-minute discovery conversation. In my experience the next step will be apparent at the end of the call. I never assume that what I have to offer will be right for everyone, so don’t expect a sales pitch. You can reach me at 973-936-9672.
If you would like to know more ways to reduce costs without changing the way you do business, simply give me a call or send me an email with your contact information and the best time to reach you.
You Won’t Drift to Success©
Commit to taking the next step.
Until Next Time, I Wish You Great Success in Your Business and in Your Life