Supplier feedback letters – what would you like to say?

We're quite self-critical here, and critical of the procurement profession when it deserves it, but sometimes, it is the supply side who screw up. Here’s the first in a new series – open to readers to submit your examples if you’d like to get something off your chest.

So... what would you have liked to say to suppliers in their feedback letters / conversations after they didn’t win your contract – but you couldn’t because it would have been too offensive, honest or damaging to your future relationship?  I’ll kick things off, but we’re hoping to get some different contributions here...

This is a real example – from a time I was working in the public sectorl, one of the reasons I wasn’t allowed to write a letter like this....

Dear  XYZ

Thank you for bidding for the consulting assignment to help us implement category management across the  $&@ organisation.

We were interested to see the creativity that had gone into the tender document – we assume the use of 17 different fonts throughout the document was a deliberate design decision? Using several different ones on the same page was particularly bold, we thought. And several charts used were made all the more interesting by being shrunk to a size where the labelling of the axes was actually invisible to the naked eye.

In fact, the overall layout and presentation seemed to be totally random – we wondered whether it might be an entry for the Turner Art award rather than a consulting bid?  We were also pleased to see that you value efficiency and had therefore clearly decided to cut and paste large chunks of the response, seemingly from different previous documents  - but you might in future want to make sure you actually take out previous clients’ names, past dates, etc.

We asked for brief cvs for three consultants that you were proposing to work with us. I’m not sure that 17 pages counts as “brief”, and while it was fascinating to see a summary of every single assignment that Jennifer has carried out since she joined you 12 years ago, the fact that only 3 of the 27 examples given were anything to do with category management didn’t exactly strengthen your case.

What is particularly unfortunate is that we are pretty sure you have the capability to do this work; you are one of the largest professional services firms in the world, after all. We can only assume that either you don’t value our business; or you are so disorganised that you forgot to write the bid until 3 hours before the submission deadline; or a few idiots have slipped through your no doubt extensive recruitment process and were given the responsibility to respond to us in this case.  None of these options exactly encourages us to consider you further, so in this case we won’t be inviting you in for interview and the final stage of the process.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Smith

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Voices (4)

  1. Andrew:

    ……I’m not interested about how “special” your relationship is with our CEO/CFO/Sales Director [delete as appropriate], your response will be assessed on its individual merits……..

  2. Dan:

    After having to review tenders that were from completely unsuitable companies or far in excess of the stated budget, I’ve often been tempted to send them a feedback letter that simply said “WTF?”

  3. RJ:

    How much time could I waste on this?

    One from a marketing assignment a few years back could have read:

    “Dear xxx,

    I know that we did not provide you with full budgetary details as you had (repeatedly and insistently) requested during the RFP process. However, the fact that your bid would have cost us more than three times the revenues we were expecting to achieve from the project might have given you an indication that this was a little pricey.”

    or from a more recent consultancy submission:

    “Actually answering one of the questions with a direct answer would have been helpful to understand how you would deliver the project.”

  4. eSourcingSensei:


    I love it

    The temptation to write such a letter has always been quite great.

    Certainly placed a smile on my face this Friday morning.

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