‘Think small and focused’ when writing an RFP

10 August 2012

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10 August 2012 | Kamalpreet Badasha

Buyers should use a ‘think small and focused’ approach when developing an RFP, according to a report by BravoSolution.

This suggestion was among the five best practices highlighted that purchasers should employ when producing a request for proposal (RFP) document for a tender processes. To Bid or Not to Bid: 5 Best Practices for Asking RFP Questions detailed a system that ranked questions and sections to eliminate the least relevant questions.

The second tip is to “include key terms and conditions” in the RFP with supplier’s responses to them scored as part of the tendering process. Tip three is to “explain questions” to ensure only relevant supplier details are collated. For example, for supplier diversity the RFP should outline what qualities and certifications required.

The fourth piece of best practice is to “give suppliers the correct answers”. This means buyers should detail exactly what they need. Instead of using an open-ended question for payment terms, the question should detail the type of payment terms required. And the fifth tip is to collate a library of questions, which consists of all the best questions from previous RFPs. This would save time as new question need not be written from scratch and previous questions could be reused.

“These tips sound so simplistic, but condensing what you want to know from suppliers is a challenge for many companies,” said Ian Dawson, author of the report and e-sourcing consultant at BravoSolution. “The ultimate goal of every RFP should be to entice all relevant suppliers to submit a bid, which drives higher competition and a better savings opportunity for the buying organisation. Put yourself in the shoes of a supplier. Lengthy RFPs take massive amounts of time and man power to answer, and at some level, those extra costs are passed onto the buyer.”

The report can be downloaded here (registration required)

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