Despite being methodical in theory, the RFP process can quickly get derailed...
Despite being methodical in theory, the RFP process can quickly get derailed.
Managing the opinions of senior stakeholders to the sound of traveller noise, while being flexible to accommodate different timelines and priorities, at the same time as trying to secure the very best deal and most amount of value for your organisation makes for a project that can easily be thrown off course.
The fact that RFPs can become a black hole into which the time and resource of procurement departments can vanish without a trace is one of the most common reasons why organisations feel reluctant to undertake the process in the first place. However, when carried out correctly the RFP process provides a great opportunity to find out more about your organisation, which will in turn benefit other areas of procurement.
Decades of experience in receiving and answering RFPs, as well as issuing them ourselves, means that we’ve found a comprehensive list of ways in which the whole process can be streamlined, limiting its impact on time and resource across your organisation.
Here’s our expert advice >>
1. Nominate a project leader as soon as it’s decided that your organisation is going to issue an RFP. This person can act as a central contact for suppliers and internal stakeholders, helping to ensure that wires stay straight.
2. Be clear about any deadlines for stakeholder feedback. Waiting for comments from one stakeholder before being able to progress onto the next stage of the procurement process can bring things to a grinding halt, so it’s well worth communicating and agreeing on these deadlines in advance.
3. Just as you would allocate a financial budget, work out a time and resource budget for the project – be realistic!
4. Try not to skimp on research. Gaining a detailed understanding of the direction that the corporate travel industry is moving and any technology developments early in the project will help you to focus efforts. This information will be invaluable when compiling a supplier shortlist.
5. Pull together a short checklist of focus areas, essential outcomes and goals, grading each with A, B or C. When writing your RFP ask yourself whether each question fits within one of these areas; if not, does it need to be included?
It's my belief that...
- The RFP is an outdated method
- There will always be a place for the RFP in procurement
6. Have a blurb about your organisation already written, as well ensure that key metrics and information about your current travel programme are easy to access. If you’re unsure about which data will be needed, check out our short guide in chapter two.
7. Add regular update calls/meetings with senior stakeholders to the calendar early in the project. Maintaining communication throughout the RFP process will help to ensure that all stages flow smoothly – nothing throws things off course like a stakeholder feeling left out or uninformed.
8. Be concise
9. If possible, ask for impartial recommendations and feedback from industry peers. Case studies provided by suppliers are all well and good, but past or present customers can provide a more balanced view.
10. Create an evaluation matrix and share this with all stakeholders to ensure that everyone is on the same page when assessing responses.
Want to find out how to make the RFP process work for you, rather than against you?