Those of you who are entrenched in the supply chain industry can certainly understand when I say that more often than not businesses tend to complicate the sourcing process beyond necessity. Creating an over complex RFx can lead to a more complicated analytical process which in turn makes decision making multifarious when it may not need to be. Of course each sourcing initiative is unique unto itself in that they pertain to different categories, involve different stakeholders and include specific scopes of work. In most instances I would certainly recommend referring to your friendly sourcing professional in order to truly simplify your life but this may not always be an option. The content of this particular article will provide tips on how to simplify parts of the process that will ultimately lead to a more streamlined approach when conducting sourcing within your organization.

Whenever you conduct a sourcing exercise try to look at the big picture, what are trying to accomplish and what is your timeframe for doing so? If timing is a vital factor then simplicity can be your best friend. Right from the start you want to ensure that you collect all of the pivotal aspects of the data that you will need for the RFx, the contract and the perimeters to make a final decision. Laying the right groundwork initially will guarantee a smoother process regardless of the complexity level of the project.

When it comes to developing the qualitative portion of the RFx think about what information is necessary for qualifying suppliers as a fit for your organization and what points you need to consider for the final contract provision. Do not overinflate the RFx documents with unnecessary data requests, removing superfluous content will save the suppliers and you time in the response and analytics of the RFx. Keep in mind that as you move through the sourcing process you can negotiate additional value added services and requirements with the suppliers in which you have narrowed down as serious considerations for the business. For those RFx’s requiring a quantitative quote make sure you provide all of the data required and do so in a clear and concise manner. Leaving gaps in the data or providing generally unclear information will cloud the process and extend timelines.

Another way to reduce the complexity of the RFx process is to only invite qualified suppliers to the bid process. By conducting an initial interview with potential alternates you can eliminate suppliers that cannot serve the needs and requirements of your organization. While it is important to have a diverse and plentiful supply base providing proposals you will find that having too many suppliers creates excessive work and extends your timelines. Depending on the category of spend you should select enough qualified suppliers that can offer unique advantages while developing a solid market assessment based on your individual requirements and goals.

If you follow these and other useful tips for setting up your sourcing initiative, such as those found in the Managing Indirect Spend book, you will find that your decision making process can be much less complicated.
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Jennifer Ulrich

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