Effective RFP Creation

  WHAT

A Request For Proposal (RFP) is a document that organizations issue to solicit bids from potential suppliers for procurement of a product or service. The RFP Creation model is a collaborative model that helps organizations write effective RFPs synchronously or asynchronously.

Of the several steps involved in creating an RFP, this model helps with the following:

  1. Determining the goal(s) of the RFP
  2. Defining the RFP scope
  3. Assembling the RFP team
  4. Determining solution and business requirements
  5. Setting pre-qualification and proposal evaluation criteria

  WHO

An RFP should be used by organizations interested in services or complex products where quality, service, or the final product will be different from each responding vendor (Bucki, 2017). This model is meant to be used by the leadership teams and can be used to address one or all the above-mentioned steps in RFP creation.

  WHY

The RFP process has been the most common soliciting method of purchasing organizations for decades (Guth, 2008). An effective RFP that provides the right information to vendors and seeks the right information from them, saves organizations from sizable losses of money, time, and effort. A poorly written RFP can result in proposals that are too dissimilar to compare, supplier performance that fails to meet expectations, or additional fees (Dominick, Lunney, & Lunney, 2012).

An RFP is an important internal exercise for the purchasing organization to identify the product/service requirements in detail, and helps to gain buy-in from all relevant departments (Barry, 2016).

From identifying realistic goals and requirements to determining valid evaluation criteria, each step of the RFP process is crucial to elicit quality responses from vendors. Enabling all the relevant departments to participate in the process candidly goes a long way in creating a proposal that reaps stellar responses.

  HOW

The RFP process typically starts with identification of the high-level goal(s) of the RFP and its scope. A team is then formed to determine the requirements, pre-qualification criteria, and evaluation criteria.

Identify goal(s) of the RFP

  1. NOODLE: What specific goals do we want the solution to achieve?
  2. COMBINE to eliminate duplicates and move forward with only unique goals.
  3. VOTE for the most important goals the solution must achieve.
  4. RATE each goal based on how important it is to state in the RFP.

Define the scope

  1. NOODLE/COMMENT: What core elements should be considered in the scope statement?
  2. DISCUSS COMMENTS and review the alignment of stakeholders on the scope of the RFP and as a team, identify the most important scope elements.

Assemble the RFP team

  1. NOODLE/COMMENT: For each of the listed departments, identify the appropriate SME's that should be working on the RFP.
  2. DISCUSS COMMENTS and identify the best-suited SME’s.
SME.JPG

Identify critical milestones

  1. NOODLE: Are there any critical dates that will influence the solution or its timeline?
  2. COMBINE to eliminate duplicates and move forward with only unique milestones.
  3. RATE each milestone based on the impact it has on the solution.

Determine solution requirements

  1. NOODLE & TAG: What requirements must the solution meet? Categorize them.
  2. COMBINE to eliminate duplicates and move forward with only unique ideas.
  3. RATE each requirement based on how critically it needs to be met.
  4. SHARE AND DISCUSS RESULTS: Review alignment of the teams on solution requirements.
Rate.JPG

Determine business requirements

  1. NOODLE & TAG: What business requirements should the vendor meet? Categorize them.
  2. COMBINE to eliminate duplicates and move forward with only unique ideas.
  3. RATE each requirement based on how critically it needs to be met.
  4. SHARE AND DISCUSS RESULTS: Review alignment of the team on business requirements.

Determine prequalification criteria

  1. NOODLE & TAG: What minimum requirements should be used to prequalify bidders? Categorize them.
  2. COMBINE to eliminate duplicates and move forward with only unique criteria.
  3. VOTE for the requirements you agree should be used for prequalification.
  4. SHARE AND DISCUSS RESULTS: Review alignment of the team on prequalification criteria.

Determine proposal evaluation criteria

  1. NOODLE & TAG: What criteria should we use to evaluate the proposals? Categorize them.
  2. COMBINE to eliminate duplicates and move forward with only unique criteria.
  3. PRIORITIZE: Assign weights to the evaluation criteria by designating a percentage to each.

  RESULTS

  • A prioritized list of technical and business requirements
  • Well-informed and realistic goals, scope, budget and critical milestones
  • A complete inventory of prequalification and evaluation criteria

  BENEFITS & IMPACT

This exercise will enable:

Quality – Effectively engage subject matter experts to prepare a well-written and realistic RFP.

Efficiency – Use your organizations’ limited resources efficiently by reducing meeting times through asynchronous stakeholder participation

Engagement – Involve all relevant stakeholders in the process to achieve deeper buy-in and alignment on the RFP’s requirements and expectations.

Agility – Quickly align relevant stakeholders for a faster yet creative RFP creation process.

  REFERENCES

Barry, C. (2016, December 20). 5 reasons why an RFP is crucial to your system selection. Multichannel Merchant. http://multichannelmerchant.com/blog/5-reasons-rfp-crucial-system-selection/

Bucki, J. (2017). How to write requests for RFPs and RFQs. The Balance. https://www.thebalance.com/rfp-rfq-requests-2533816

Dominick, C., Lunney, S. R., & Lunney, S. (2012). The procurement game plan: Winning strategies and techniques for supply management professionals.

Guth, S. (2008). Truths and tips on the flawed request for proposal process. CIO. https://www.cio.com/article/2437009/outsourcing/truths-and-tips-on-the-flawed-request-for-proposal-process.html