Optimizing the RFP process: The 3 key pillars

For organizations to truly dominate in an increasingly competitive landscape, planning and optimization are critical success factors. Optimized plans can mitigate – or even prevent – potentially costly and disruptive issues like unnecessary employee overtime, excess inventories and logistics bottlenecks. An organization’s optimization journey often starts with a Request for Proposal (RFP).

The right solution – whether in SCP&O or other key areas or planning – to empower the shift towards optimization can be a very complex process. Sharing the RFP with potential vendors is a key step. The importance of getting the RFP right cannot be understated. An optimal RFP grants you the confidence to identify a solution that truly fits your organization, even as it grows and evolves.

An advanced planning and optimization solution will empower your organization towards meeting its KPIs as efficiently as possible. Finding the right solution generally involves a tender process, where a Request for Proposal (RFP) is created and shared with vendors. This involves input from various stakeholders, and a single missed detail can have major consequences down the line.

Complicated? Definitely. Impossible? Never. Here are the three key pillars of success in optimizing your RFP every time:

 

Pillar 1: Know what you need and how to ask for it

The RFP is essentially a two-way document between a company and a solution vendor. The organization will present the key challenges that they want to solve. The solution vendor will then propose methods of solving the challenges.

In creating an RFP, it is critical to keep a tight focus on your planning challenges and the overall aim of the planning solution, without being distracted by the details of how to reach the goals that are set out. Certain functionalities in a solution may look great on paper, but in reality will contribute little to actually solving a company’s specific planning challenges. A good vendor will provide objective – and often fresh – insights into your planning processes, so focus on identifying the results you want to see, and don’t feel pressured into identifying the solutions on your own.

 

Pillar 2: Keep your eye on the prize

Optimization solutions can be hard on the budget. It may even be tempting to choose the cheapest solution that fits you current requirements. However, when it comes to cost, the real question is: how much value will the solution create for your organization?

Another key factor that you should consider is how you envision the solution to work for your organization now and in the future. While an out-of-the-box solution may seem attractive due to its quick availability and ease of implementation, it could restrict your organization’s potential in the long run. Remember: the real indicator of success is not how a new system looks at the start of the project, but at the end, when changes and new requirements are built in.

 

Pillar 3: The best vendor is the one that works best with you

Entering into a tender process is not just about buying software. This is a long-term partnership that often extends well beyond implementation, so a good fit is crucial. Think about whether you like a vendor’s way of working. Is there a good click with members of your team? Softer factors like this will impact heavily on the success of the project, so should not be ignored.

It’s also important to consider how a vendor might handle your input during the project. Will they really take your feedback on board, and how quickly can it be processed? Will it filter through on time? As requirements change during a project, the right vendor will have both a solution and project methodology that can handle changing scope.

Remember that your relationship with your chosen vendor does not end with a successful RFP – the RFP is only the start of a working relationship. Therefore, it is crucial to keep two-way communication channels open, active and positive in the process.

DELMIA Quintiq has gained years of experience in helping clients find optimal planning solutions, no matter how complex their challenges. Begin your journey with our solution paper, containing a comprehensive step-by-step guide and recommendations based upon two decades of industry experience. Download it here.