Get Lean: 3 Ways to Do More (RFPs) With Less
“If you don’t have time to do it right, you must have time to do it over.” - John Wooden
The financial crisis of 2008 has changed the playing field for everyone, including those of us who live in the land of the Request for Proposal. For us, the recession has meant corporate and government belt-tightening. And while the economy may have gotten "better," most of our RFP budgets haven't.
Less is More
The result is a contradiction. Tightening purse strings increases pressure on Procurement teams, while simultaneously dwindling their resources (smaller staff means more overtime, and absorbing workload from layoffs). Less help to do more work.
Basically they're told to "get a better deal, faster." Classic catch-22. But the principle is nothing new. "Do more with less" is a fundamental principle of entrepreneurship, often referred to as the Lean Methodology.
So let's take a leaf out of their book, let's leverage.
Here are 3 ways to do more RFPs with fewer resources. 3 ways to get "leaner."
#1 Use Templates
Firms that repeatedly issue for the same goods and services should be storing that information so it can easily be used again and again. Details will always be tweaked, but having master RFP/RFI templates will keep your team from having to reinvent the wheel with every new project.
#2. Unbiased Scoring
Avoid disappointment, disagreements, and endless meetings by having a plan a sticking to it. Invest some time planning how each question will be scored before you even think about sending out your request. Include the entire team, even stakeholders. That way, your bidders are evaluated with exact scores, according to the concerns your team has already designated and agreed upon. Making for a much smoother and faster selection.
#3. Go Digital
You have a lot of information. Correspondence, meeting notes, proposal scores, all add up to be a whole lot to wade through when you're trying to find something specific. The good news is, all this data can be managed through secure software. An application not only takes your personal information and makes it easy to organize and search, but it makes every question and response easy to comb as well. With less (or no) paper to manually scan and sort, you get instant answers (and fewer paper cuts).
Bottom line, you have too much to do and too little manpower to not make your RFP process as efficient as possible.
And to be a lean, mean, fighting machine, you need 2 things:
1. Intentionality might look like overhauling some daily habits. Upgrading your system might require springing for some software. But the payoff is less: paperwork, headaches, and unsatisfied stakeholders.
2. A great process might take more time to get it right, but it means you have something repeatable and scalable.
**Photo Credit: Floriana, Creative Commons