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17 July 2014 | Gurjit Degun
Marketing procurement professionals should engage with suppliers as early as possible to get ideas to help shape the brief.
Adam Jacobs, managing director at V4 Services, encouraged procurement professionals to “invest time upfront”. He was speaking during an SM webinar debating the effectiveness of RFx processes, held in association with Paperhat Group, earlier today.
“Bring suppliers into the process before you have defined your requirements,” Jacobs told listeners. “It tells the supplier you are serious and they have an opportunity to help with the design brief and also build up a relationship with you. It’s also good to get different views.”
He advised practitioners to make use of references to ensure the supplier can deliver what it proposes. Jacobs added this is also a good opportunity to ask referees about good ways “to get the best from this organisation”. “This is a good way of understanding any nuances, and how flexible the supplier is if issues arise [during the project],” he explained.
Peter Rowe, group sourcing manager for marketing at the Royal Bank of Scotland, said when consulting with design agencies, buyers should make sure the designers understand that they are comfortable with the good and bad ideas. This way no ideas are left out of the room, explained Rowe. He added however that it is a good idea to set boundaries, for example manufacturing restrictions if the size and shape of a drinks can cannot be altered.
He also said marketing is “notoriously short-term and fickle” so procurement professionals should try to add value at every stage of the project. “Look at strategies in technology or facilities where long-term engagements can deliver different perspectives on what can be achieved,” he explained.
Ian Sullivan, director at Paperhat Group, said he believes the RFP process is not suited to marketing because it is a very traditional approach, “strips vendors of their creativity and individuality” and is very buyer-influenced.
He advised practitioners to replace tender documents with face-to-face interviews. “Set and hold workshops so the market provides you with the best ideas and solutions,” said Sullivan.
☛ A replay of the webinar, Rip up the RFP?, is available to watch online here