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6 Ways to Optimize your RFP

August 21, 2019 | 3 min read

Use RFX software to get the right kind of proposal responses.

Use RFX software to get the right kind of proposal responses.

Optimizing your request for proposal (RFP) is all about improving on the response process. The whole purpose of an RFP document in the procurement process is to get responses that are both relevant and fit into your procurement budget. The better your RFP is presented, the faster you will find a supplier with the goods and services you need as well as the contract terms you want.

A flood of e-Procurement tools follows a general trend of digital migration in almost every industry of the global business market. As Gartner points out, enterprise software is the fastest growing market in IT spending. In fact, it represents a 457 billion dollar industry in the United States alone. As procurement entities go digital, there is a spectrum of digital solutions that are making every step of the process easier. From digitized contract management to strategic sourcing, an e-Procurement platform can clean up a lot of confusion.

As far as RFPs are concerned, remember that building sustainable partnerships is all about long-term planning. Your RFx solution should be aimed at filling needs, but only in a sustainable way. How? Here are 6 ways to optimize your RFP.

1. Understand Your RFP’s End Goal

An RFP is a description of specified goods and services that an entity is hoping will be rendered by a supplier. Suppliers respond to RFPs with a proposal regarding the products being asked for as well as the terms and conditions of provision (business, technical, operational, and security issues). Successful RFPs include service level requests, management procedures, and an explanation of evaluation criteria. The end goal is that after an RFP gets a satisfactory response, the parties will sign a contract and partner on some aspect of mutual business.

2. Get the Details Ahead of Time

Go to the source. Have your procurement team contact the production team. Make sure the supply chain is built to meet the requirements of your company. Use your e-Procurement platform’s functionality to solicit details like size, number, frequency, and more. With a detailed RFP, you can eliminate time-wasters like throwaway responses and follow-up with vendors that can’t meet your needs. It can’t be overstated: Silos are the enemy of the procurement process.

3. Optimize the Internal RFP Process

One way you can create a better RFP faster and easier is by using business process management (BPM) software. With built-in workflow solutions, the content creation for an e-RFX is collaboration-friendly. Across geographical locations, time zones, and departments, e-Procurement with BPM capabilities can push your RFP along faster than old-fashioned couriers ever did.

4. Address RFP Specifics for Efficiency

RFP creation is the basis for finding the right products and suppliers at a budget you can afford. The more specific you are in detailing your needs (for both supplies and the terms) the faster it will be to find a vendor. If you find a vendor quickly, you are working efficiently. With efficiency comes savings. It’s an entire cycle that depends heavily on getting relevant information before your RFP gets reviewed by any potential suppliers.

5. Use an e-Procurement Platform that Addresses the Bigger Picture

For e-Procurement systems, what happens before and after an RFP is created is part of a larger, integrated process. Going from RFP to e-Auction to digital contract management should be a linear and automated cycle. If your pre- and post-RFP processes are efficient internally, your new partnerships with winning suppliers will happen quickly externally.

6. Circulation

Circulation of RFPs is crucial. The more eyes looking at your needs, the more relevant vendors show up to bid on the possibility of doing business with you. This reduces prices and caters to your goals as a buyer. The reverse auction process is your procurement department’s secret weapon. It creates a fair market where new and incumbent vendors have the potential of competing to become your preferred supplier. To increase your circulation, be sure and use an RFP software solution that is designed to make connections with other procurement entities on the market as well as tap into emerging markets for newcomers.

Does your RFP process sound like the one above? If not, contact ProcurePort today and request a demo to see which of these 6 areas could benefit from optimization.