We're back again sharing the tips and tricks Source One has learned in its 25 years.  This week, we'll share with you some best practices for entering the RFx stage and attracting and retaining the right suppliers.

11. Don't Rely Solely on the RFI
An RFI is most effective when it supplements comprehensive independent research and reflects a thorough understanding of the market.  A generic or all-encompassing RFI will only yield generic and all-encompassing information.  Strive to create a situation in which thorough research makes the RFI unnecessary.

12. Be as Specific as Possible 
The RFP is a valuable resource for comparing suppliers side-by-side.  It is a decidedly less valuable one when loaded with vague language and ambiguous requests.  Let potential suppliers know precisely what your needs are and you'll likely receive the answers you're looking for.  This should help you make informed decisions moving forward.

13. But, More is Often Less
Too much detail or too many questions can also limit the scope, quality, and efficacy of an RFP.  An overlong document runs the risk of exhausting or alienating vendors and could obscure pertinent information.  It's crucial to present suppliers with a document that's both straightforward and accessible.

14. Don't Use E-Tools as a Crutch
Many procurement professionals make the mistake of trusting the technology at their disposal to do most of their work for them.  This typically results in a series of dangerous assumptions.  One cannot assume that potential suppliers will be receptive to or understanding of invitations to e-Sourcing events.  Never underestimate the importance of the human element.

15, Become the Perfect (Potential) Customer
In sports, it's often the intangibles that set top performers apart.  Sourcing, too, sees customers differentiate themselves through more than just volume commitments. Be sure to ask suppliers what they believe defines their best customers.  Take pains to emulate these qualities.

A good first impression could mean everything when it comes to supplier relationships. Check back in with us next week for advice on strengthening your existing relationships to better manage spend and drive savings.  In the meantime, why not check out last week's tips?
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