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eProcurement & Procure-to-Pay Resources

3 Steps to Building a Needs-Based RFP for Procurement

Posted by Matt Setta on February 18, 2016 at 12:04 PM

BQ_RFP.jpgThe cold, hard truth: the Request for Proposal (RFP) process for any procurement solution is demanding, often overwhelming and lengthy. From identifying vendors to drafting and formatting all documents to scoring answers, your team will invest a ton of time and energy into the final decision.

The silver lining? Companies that adhere to a regimented, strategic RFP process are more likely to find the ideal solution for their unique business needs. Those that don’t will likely toil with tech integration hassles, escalating costs and ultimately lower user-adoption rates.

Don’t settle for working with the top brands. Before simply firing out your RFP to vendors you’ve heard of, ensure you’ve laid a healthy foundation to identify which solution is best for your business.

1. Set strategy and goals.

In the words of Simon Sinek (@simonsinek), it starts with why.

It’s critical to assess your current procurement process. Are there any efficiency gaps? Is user adoption an issue? Any tech integration challenges? Flagging these challenges can help your team address all problem areas upfront, and in turn, better guide vendor evaluations.

>> Related read: How To Jumpstart Your Search for a New eProcurement Solution

The most significant piece of your strategy is goal setting. Once a new solution is integrated, how will you measure success? Sample goals might include:

  • Reduction in invoice cycle time
  • Total time savings
  • Increase in number of orders processed

A comprehensive strategy will give your team a 360-degree perspective on what’s needed, what’s not working, and goals to measure your performance against.

2. Select a team of experts.

Ironically, the eProcurement software search doesn’t begin and end with the procurement team. Procurement impacts all areas of your organization, so ensure the right stakeholders are involved early on in the process.

Experts from other departments can bring differing insights to the table, and even identify problem areas you might not have uncovered yet.

We’d suggest pulling a team member from each of the following departments:

  • Information Technology: IT’s level of involvement will depend on the integration complexity, and technological capabilities of the vendor.
  • Finance: The finance team should control, manage, and have visibility into all spend.
  • Accounts Payable: AP should reap benefits of automation via touchless processing.

3. Identify responsibilities.

Before too many voices muddle the process, clarify roles and responsibilities across team members. Each department should be able to articulate end goals, and RFP questions to identify priority vendors.

While every department will have different pain points and questions, the procurement team will shoulder the majority of the work.

The workload includes:

  • Representing the voice of the end user
  • Defining team wide goals
  • Curating and consolidating all RFP questions
  • Distributing the actual RFP
  • And more

A solid foundation will accelerate smarter decision-making. 

Guide to Creating a Successful RFP

Topics: Vendor identification and selection

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