Procurement teams face a number of challenges as companies take an increasingly critical look at their processes in the hopes of producing more value. It might not surprise anyone that the value-driving RFP process is still regularly met with resistance from departments outside of procurement. Even procurement teams have been known to push back, describing the process as too time-consuming and antiquated. Sourcing professionals know that RFPs are critical components of a well-run procurement practice, but pressure — both external and internal — can result in teams’ skirting or completely abandoning the process altogether. The risks are significant as the organization is far more likely to be dealing with the consequences of an ensemble of mismatched services and low-value purchases as a result. Here are the 4 of the biggest challenges facing your RFP process today.
It’s easy to get lost in a sourcing event. In addition to making sure you nail each step of the RFP process itself, you’re also trying to wrangle data, vendors, and internal teams across a variety of communication and management platforms — none of which seem to speak to each other. There is an understandable temptation, and sometimes even pressure, to cut corners for expediency's sake, but you’re fully aware that cutting corners will lead to a less-than-ideal outcome. While for some organizations, the RFP has devolved into a box to be checked, top sourcing professionals understand the value of running a high-integrity, rigorous process. Below, we’ve put together a list of tips to keep your team on track, and maybe even show you some steps you didn’t know were missing.
Procurement doesn’t work in a tidy bubble; everything the team does is both influenced and catalyzed by the needs of other departments. Any improvement to the procurement team has a positive impact across every department that spends money. And if you have any departments that aren’t spending money… well… give us a call, we’d love to learn how they do it.
The Amazon HQ2 RFP has gathered quite a bit of buzz due to cities competing to become the new home for the tech giant. This will be the biggest individual sourcing project that the company will likely ever undertake, by a wide margin. The money involved is huge, the commitment massive, and the time scale extremely long... this project will span an entire career for some members of the Amazon sourcing team.
Supplier relationship management is tricky, and many organizations are unknowingly mismanaging their supplier relationships. From tunnel vision to a dangerous vendor “lock-in,” a mismanaged supplier relationship almost always impacts your bottom line… even if — and probably especially if — you can’t see the problem.
Imagine…. You’ve just finished an incredible dinner at a Michelin-rated restaurant. It’s the capstone on an amazing day that included massages, spa treatments, and tickets to a show. "It’s crazy," you think to yourself; you’re not even doing business with this vendor yet, but it feels like there is some special connection there. Or perhaps that’s just the wine talking.
Goal-setting in procurement is nothing new. After all, it’s not like your procurement team is just wandering into a 7/11 and picking up the first thing that catches their eye. Your company has a need, and it’s the procurement team’s goal to fill that need to the best of their ability. That ambiguous “best of their ability” however, is the catch that we hear skipped time and time again by company executives. Truth be told, many executives have only a high-level understanding of procurement, and what it really means to have that department excel. Here, I’ll get down to brass tacks; I will give you the metrics you need to track your procurement efforts and learn why understanding goal-setting is essential to your purchasing process.
It’s the cold truth of procurement that when it comes to your RFP response and winning new business, you have to compete with other vendors. Unfortunately, when the buyer is ready to choose a winning vendor, there can only be one. It’s like the Highlander series of movies, only far less bloody.
Procurement professionals who send multiple RFPs each year will generally have a library of RFP templates. While this makes a lot of sense and could save a good bit of time in the sourcing process, there’s also a much higher chance of replicating mistakes across RFPs by using the same template over and over. Here’s the breakdown of the good, the bad, and the ugly for RFP templates, and what you can do to make sure your requests are as effective as possible.
Not all procurement processes are equal. That’s because buying a pallet of printing paper is a very different purchase from purchasing a new server network for your entire corporation. In general, the more stakeholders, technical challenges, and moving parts a purchase has, the more complicated it will be. There is an interplay with sourcing and change management, which is important to consider early in the process.