Writing RFPs

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Best Practices Approach to Writing RFPs

Written by Al Kenney on Monday, 01 April 2013 16:07.

I spent my first 15 years working on the manufacturing side for companies such as Wyeth and P&G, and the last 10 on the vendor side of the equation. In that time I’ve been a part of many RFPs on both sides and I’ve seen a lot of mistakes made in the RFI/RFP process that resulted in a big waste of time for all companies involved. Worse yet, in many of those instances, I thought the wrong vendor was chosen.

In the coming months, I will attempt to provide you with a best practices approach to putting together an effective RFP, then evaluating and purchasing whatever it is you need, If you follow this process it will allow your organization to have a smoother selection process, which in turn will allow you to pick the best product for your brands in a way that meets you brand objectives, and works seamlessly for your patients, HCPs and dispensing partners while producing a positive ROI for your brand.

The current process defined…

The current process for an RFI/RFP goes something like this:

  • The “client” spends a lot of time putting together an RFP
  • Due to the extra time it took them they send it out late and now because they are behind they want vendor responses back early!
  • The vendors receive the RFP with a short deadline
  • Questions asked are for a list of standard information such as: an explanation of products, current clients, size of company, customer support, reporting options, implementation process, corporate philosophy, case studies, references and pricing.

While on the vendor side, I have never been given background information on the brand and their objectives or asked to provide our ROI methodology for our solution. Nor have I been asked to process the information and recommend the best product and application of that product to get the client the best result. As the client, you should want me to do an analysis to come up with my recommendation for the program that will best fit your need including my financial projections on the recommended solution’s performance. These can be some of the most important aspects of your program.

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Writing RFPs: Ask the Right Questions

Written by Al Kenney on Wednesday, 01 May 2013 16:07.

Let’s just say that you needed a car.  Now you go into the car dealership and ask the same questions:

What vehicle types do you sell? How large is your dealership? How many vehicles do you sell a month? How is your customer service? And what do your cars cost?

Remembering that you have to exclude questions where some type of analysis could be performed, you might get responses back that look like this:

  • What vehicle types do you sell? We sell 2 door sedans, 4 door sedans, and 2 door sport hatchbacks. Some of the two door cars are convertibles.
  • How large is your dealership? After being in business only 3 years, we rank third among dealers in this county
  • How many vehicles do you sell a month? 346
  • How is your customer service? It’s great our customers love us and we have many repeat customers!
  • Our cars are competitively priced. Our two doors cost between $12k and $24k fully loaded. Our 4 doors costs between $14k and $38k, hatchbacks are priced at $18,000, and add $4,000 for taking off the roof.
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Writing RFPs: Be Specific

Written by Al Kenney on Saturday, 01 June 2013 16:07.

Let’s try it again with more information:

Background: I am a 20 year old single male who is planning a cross country trip in 2 weeks-time (Fall). I am going to drive across the entire US and back (est. 8,000 miles total). I’ll be gone 2 months! I have 3 small bags I need to bring with me and a small dog. I broke my leg and have a full length cast on it which should come off in 4 weeks. My parents will buy me any car I wish (cash deal) but I have to insure it myself and pay all operating expenses. I’m out of work right now but I’m hoping to get a job soon. I have a decent amount of money saved which should be enough to pay the operating expenses for this trip. Whatever I have left over will determine where I stay, what I souvenirs I buy, what sights I see, and what type of food I eat. When I get back I’ll be living in the city and will probably sell the car because I won’t need it anymore after that. Please recommend the best vehicle for my situation and provide me with any facts or analysis to help me make an informed decision.

As the car dealer what conclusions can I draw from what I know now?