In our first article, we noted that sometimes good RFP responses are hard to come by. We noted that there are a variety of reasons why this is the case and tried to give some insights on what makes a good RFP. Then, in Part 2 of this series, we defined some critical requirements of a good RFP in an effort to help you write better RFPs. Finally, in Part 3, we discussed how to understand and incorporate the supplier’s perspective into your RFP so that you can be a “prospective customer of choice” by presenting an “RFP of choice” that makes your business even more attractive to the prospective supplier. To do that, let’s dive into some details on the best practices needed for creating one.
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In our last article we noted that too often good RFP responses are hard to come by. If you want a good response, your odds will greatly improve if you have a good RFP. We also gave you some hints as to what makes a good RFP. In this article we define some more requirements of a good RFP to help you write better RFPs.
As a buyer, you send out dozens, if not hundreds, of RFPs every year, and whether it is for a simple operating system upgrade for the local office or a complex global print project that involves 100 different countries and nine digits of spend, you need good responses to make a good decision and a good award. But sometimes good responses are hard to come by. Why? Sometimes the market is against you because the value of your dollar is falling, demand exceeds supply or your competition has launched a smear campaign against your brand. Sometimes the best suppliers have no capacity and you are relegated to picking the best option from the alternate backup providers. And sometimes your RFP just isn’t very good. You heard us. Sometimes your RFP isn’t very good. And if your RFP isn’t very good, how can you possibly expect to get good responses? Unless you tell them, the suppliers’ personnel don’t know your business, your challenges, your goals, your needs and what makes a good response and what doesn’t. Unless you reach out to them, they don’t even know how serious you are about considering any proposal they put forward. How do they know you aren’t just using them as “RFP fodder” and merely collecting their bids to use against your incumbent that you plan to award to anyway?
Direct materials sourcing refers to the sourcing of custom manufactured goods, and of course, raw materials from first tier suppliers that meet the particular needs of the buying organization. It is distinct from the sourcing of commodity goods and services in that the nature of the requirements are considerably more detailed than the requirements for consumables or low-value goods. If all you are buying is toner cartridges for the laser printers, cleaning suppliers for maintenance or commodity packaged goods to round out the low end of a product line, any compatible toner cartridge, cleaning detergent or aftermarket good will cut the mustard. But if the organization is buying components for a high-end laptop, looking for custom molded manifolds or building engines, the goods have to be precise. Sourcing these goods is considerably more complex than sourcing toner cartridges and detergents.
Even though it will annoy a lot of vendors, I’m going to say it: Source-to-pay (S2P) suites may be here to stay, but top performing procurement organizations continue to select and use multiple sourcing technologies for different purposes — and they will also pay a premium for specific needs. This Spend Matters PRO brief breaks down the different categories of e-sourcing tools that companies are buying, lists specific vendors in each category, provides pricing ranges for various types of solutions and makes recommendations on how best to use different solution types — and where.
Webinar Thursday continues in October as we present Supercharging Category Management: Free Yourself from Siloed Sourcing to Unlock Breakthrough Value on Oct. 22, at 9 a.m. CDT. This is the concluding event on supercharging category management, following a wildly successful e-book and preview webinar held last month. From this webinar, you will learn case studies, technology support examples, specific industries and verticals, as well as participate in a closing Q&A. Register today!
In just two weeks, we'll present the concluding webinar from our ongoing coverage of Supercharging Category Management: Free Yourself from Siloed Sourcing to Unlock Breakthrough Value. Join us Thursday, Oct. 22, at 9 a.m. CDT, as Pierre Mitchell, chief research officer at Spend Matters, and Mickey North Rizza, vice president of strategic services at BravoSolution, present the nine different ways you can evolve from simple category sourcing to category management 2.0. Register today!
To the naked, untrained eye "e-signatures" and "digital signatures" are basically the same thing: an updated take on a historical practice in contracting for the technological age. But there are very important distinctions to make between the two. First, every digital signature is electronic, but not every electronic signature is digital. This might sound confusing, but let us explain. Download the free research brief, E-Signatures and Digital Signatures – Understanding the Difference and Learning What They Really Mean for You.
Brand new hot-off-the-press research is now available from the Spend Matters team! Jason Busch, founder and managing director, and Thomas Kase, vice president of research, present The Past and Future of Strategic Sourcing – Looking Back to Look Forward at E-Sourcing. What does the future hold for strategic sourcing? Have we reached the full value potential for this segment or are there even more savings to be had? Get the full story here!
We recently received a note from a reader with questions regarding the latest China currency devaluation and how sourcing professionals ought to engage with their Chinese suppliers. The questions included: 1) Should I be approaching all of my Chinese suppliers for a 3.5% price reduction? 2) Should I expect to get it? There are several ways to answer that question. This Spend Matters Plus article begins with the narrow answer and then expands into other aspects of China’s currency announcements.
For years, Coupa has explored the concepts of incorporating leveraged contracts into its arsenal (leveraged contracts provide pre-negotiated pricing and specified terms with select suppliers). Coupa’s own GPO program, positioned under the Coupa Advantage label, is finally real and has a number of active users and members. Earlier this week, Coupa’s GM Ashish Deshpande, who has spearheaded the effort from day 1, led a discussion with a number of Coupa customers who are already using leveraged contracts. This Spend Matters PRO analysis explores Coupa’s new leveraged contract program (including available contracts, suppliers, typical savings, business model and related topics) and strategy and explores what types of organizations should think about signing up for Coupa Advantage.
In our previous Spend Matters main site coverage of Amazon Business and Part 1 of our Spend Matters PRO analysis, we dove into some of the details of Amazon’s re-vamped foray into B2B e-commerce, particularly regarding the user experience and Amazon’s selection and pricing features. In this next edition, we’ll dive into some of the marketplace solution functionality and some opportunities to close the key gaps. In the next installment, we’ll also analyze some of key opportunities we see for Amazon to improve its B2B solution for larger firms – and even form smaller ones, too! Many associate the term “solution” only with software applications, and while Amazon Business is initially basically a re-skinned version of Amazon.com, we expect to see more e-procurement-like functionality embedded in it to serve the needs of smaller firms where a large percentage of their spending could come from a provider like Amazon. For larger firms, the story is, of course, different as we’ll explain...