RFP process improvements at a glance
We all know the RFP process can be daunting. There is a lot of information to capture and trying to attain it from vendors after the fact can be a nightmare. Making some key RFP process improvements can ensure you’re a rockstar in your company. While ignoring them could spell big trouble for you procurement project.
1. Identify stakeholders
One of the hardest parts of the RFP process and one that is often overlooked is the identification of affected departments in your business. An easy way to tell which stakeholders should be included in the process is by identifying all departments that fall into these four categories:
- Involved with the proposed vendor services
- Departments that will help rate responses
- Engaged in vendor sessions
- Approve proposal reviews
Assigning a project manager to your RFP process is the best way to ensure all input from stakeholders is covered. PMs will set milestones to break the lengthy process into achievable blocks allowing timelines to be met by all individuals and teams.
PMs will ensure all information is consolidated and reviewed before going out for proposal. This role can easily be outsourced to experts in RFP Management.
2. Vendor selection
Creating a shortlist of preferred vendors for a project is a great RFP process improvement to cut time and improve results. Not only does it simplify the application and review process early on, but it also guarantees a level of satisfaction with the winning bid.
If you don’t already have an idea of which vendors will be suitable for your requirements, industry specialists can be leveraged to get down the path faster. Your project manager can compile a list of contacts to solicit your RFP to, as opposed to opening the bid up to unknown vendors.
3. Compile pricing templates
Capturing all the pricing components of your requested services is essential to ensure you stay within your budget. Vendors will need to provide details on commitments, minimums, additional costs, etc.
Pricing sheets should include as much detail as possible and be easily comparable. It is also important to be aware of the different formats in which vendors will calculate their pricing, including:
- Daily charges
- Monthly retainer fees
- Customization charges
- Licensing fees
Considering all the different pricing formats, it is vital that your RFP directs bidders to provide pricing information that is measurable and comparable during your review process. RFP software can solve this issue for you, giving you a precise comparison of submissions.
4. Creating a scoring matrix
Identifying the requirements that your RFP will be filling is crucial to a successful selection process. There are two steps in the RFP process that will make scoring more efficient:
- Designing Effective Questions
Work with stakeholders to ensure the information collected is easily comparable and closely meets your consumption needs. Ensuring that vendor responses are measurable and comparable, as opposed to broad and openly interpreted. This will make your scoring process easier and more effective.
Gathering simple, succinct information is a beneficial RFP process improvement. The use of drop-down selections and simplified pre-designed answers can help with this.
- Scoring and Weighting
Different requirements have varying importance, so consult with stakeholders to rank questions and answers accordingly in advance. RFP software such as DirectRFP® will also allow you to customize the weightings of your answer so you can instantly see which vendor has the most successful bid.
5. Create scorecards
The RFP review process is equally as important as the RFP creation, and is sometimes the most manual and time-consuming stage of the process. Procurement officers often juggle between e-mail, Excel, and/or paper. It doesn’t need to be this way and is a great area for RFP process improvement.
The use of a tool like DirectRFP® will significantly reduce the amount of time spent on this stage by eliminating the need to sort Excel spreadsheets and print out vendor proposals.
You may find it easier to use side-by-side comparisons if working manually from spreadsheets. It is important for reviewers to record scores per answer by using a ranking system (1-5 for example). Whether reviewing as a team or individually, the Project Manager should be in charge of the final collation to a master scorecard.
The master scorecard will then line up with your predetermined scoring matrix giving you a full and accurate idea of vendor rankings based on your requirements.
Software-driven RFP process improvements
DirectRFP® will ensure these five key practices become standard practice — assisting with RFP process improvements across the board. By cutting out the manual, time-sapping tasks, your procurement team can focus on providing value to your business.
Automated RFP software is a must-have tool for procurement officers to elicit the right responses, helping you find the right vendor for your business. Contact DirectRFP® today and start saving time and money in your RFPs tomorrow.