I ran across this video as I was preparing to deliver a Strategic Sourcing workshop for a client.
RFP Humor Video:
While I think this video is funny (and it is clearly meant to be) the scenario is eerily familiar. As a supplier, TMG regularly receives and responds to RFPs. Very often, the prospective client does not know their objective, true requirements or their budget. In addition, we are asked to bid on something with very limited information. I just say to myself, “Here we go again. Here is another company that is trying to prove that they are Sourcing experts by withholding information, trying to get something for nothing and asking the supplier to invest time and provide their expertise for free.” This approach immediately sets up an adversarial relationship that does not provide value for either side – even for the supplier that “wins” the business.
Why not, then, try a different approach – become a “customer of choice”. The next time you send out an RFP, provide the supplier a clear idea of what you are trying to accomplish. Spell out your requirements AND give them an opportunity to provide you with an innovative alternative – after all, they are the experts. When you enter into negotiations try to approach the discussions openly and look for opportunities for both sides to benefit. If you start out with an open, collaborative approach it can pay huge dividends. A “customer of choice” should expect special attention, ongoing education of the market and the best resources and / or product the supplier has to offer.
Think about that the next time you are ready to engage the supply base with an RFP . . . .
Join the conversation . . . . . . . . . . .