The Problem with RFPs

RFPs (Request for Proposal) and, indeed, RFQs (Request for Quotation) are key tools in a buyer’s toolkit. These are almost certainly managed through an online platform and have become increasingly routine where there is an opportunity to run a competitive process. But do they really help bring advantage? And are these tools being used effectively throughout the procurement community?

Tracey Ives by Positive Purchasing Ltd  on 25-Feb-2016

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Where we have choice in the market, an RFP can provide vital intelligence on available options whilst creating a competitive tension amongst suppliers to claim the best offer available in that market place. An RFP is a form of negotiation; one that puts the buyer more in control through process and prevents relationship based selling. At the turn of the century, these were the key selling points expounded by the many eSourcing solution providers that had just exploded on to the scene. Today, most procurement functions will have an established approach and access to an RFP platform. Furthermore, most modern procurement practitioners tend to be familiar with the basics of how to run RFPs (ie: use only where there is market choice, provide clear instructions, process and timeline, get the supplier on board early, share questions and responses, ensure timely follow-up and feedback, etc). But despite this, is the RFP tool being used to the best advantage by the procurement community?