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Making Your Vendors Happy

Posted by Andy Baskerville | May 2, 2016 9:43:24 AM

You need quality vendors to submit meaningful and competitive bids on your projects.  Without this, you run the serious risk of making poor buying decisions.  

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Topics: Best Practices

Making Your Buyers Happy

Posted by Andy Baskerville | Apr 4, 2016 10:17:19 AM

Procurement projects may not always have the best reputation outside of procurement circles. 

When you run procurement projects, you need the participation and support of multiple stakeholders:

  • You need buyers to organize, set up and manage individual projects
  • You need vendors to submit meaningful and competitive bids on your project
  • You need evaluators to help you digest and score vendor submissions
  • You need your manager or CFO to support your team and champion your successes

Just a passing mention of an “RFP” to these groups can be enough to cause anxiety and negativity.  

It’s a knee jerk reaction to an unfair stereotype.  Especially when you consider how important and necessary good procurement is to the success of an organization.  Keeping these stakeholders happy can be crucial to the success of your procurement processes and your standing within your organization.

Having happier stakeholders in your RFx projects not only means your participants are more content, but also helps to make your projects more productive, effective and efficient.

And here’s the good news:  there are a number of best practices and helpful tips that can help you flip the script and make RFPs something that stakeholders can easily get behind.  

And that’s why we’ve created this four-part series.  We’ve put together the top things successful purchasers do to make each their stakeholder groups happy, starting with buyers.

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Topics: Buyers, Best Practices, Tips

New Study:  'RFPs in 2016'

Posted by Andy Baskerville | Feb 17, 2016 8:37:32 AM

2016 is going to be an important year for RFPs.

In today’s buying climate, sourcing is under increasing pressure to deliver ‘more’: buying decisions that are more compliant, more timely, and yield more value.  

As a purchaser, your task is to bring this all together.   And keep everyone happy at the same time.  

This means that you’re wearing a lot of different hats: project manager, compliance officer and judge, sometimes even babysitter and referee.  It’s a big job and one of the most important functions in an organization.  

Demonstrating the value and the ROI of your efforts requires accurate and actionable benchmarks.  These are crucial to understand the impact of your performance, and ultimately answering the question “are RFPs worth it?”

Yet despite RFPs being so important, these benchmarks are rarely published or otherwise made available.

That's why we created our newest report: 'RFPs in 2016' - A Benchmarking Study.  

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Topics: RFPs, Benchmarking, Case Study

When is it OK to Receive Supplier Proposals / Bids via Email?

Posted by Omar Salaymeh | Jan 2, 2015 3:31:00 PM

We’re often asked by purchasers if email is a good way to receive supplier files as part of their RFP / bid projects. And in a recent survey we conducted with almost 200 university buyers all across North America, 22% of them said they’d accepted proposals/bids via email before (an even higher % than said they’d used an eProcurement or eTendering suite).

We understand why email gets so much attention: it’s a simple, zero-training way for suppliers to send you their forms and files (far better than printing off 5 paper copies!). But email’s simplicity covers over a host of issues that could make your project more complicated or even render the whole thing non-compliant. Here are the relevant issues you need to understand about email before using it to receive supplier files:

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New Checklist: Receiving Submissions

Posted by Omar Salaymeh | Nov 19, 2014 8:57:00 AM

Following in the wake of our RFx / Bid Evaluation Checklist and Post-Project Checklist released earlier this year, today we're sharing our latest creation: a checklist to ensure a smooth and compliant submission experience for both suppliers and purchasers.


Why might you want a checklist for this? Well, many of the serious problems that can arise in a procurement process can be sourced back to issues with the what / how / when of bid reception - unclear instructions to suppliers, hidden policies on important things like closing time, sloppy procedures in handling submitted bids, etc. 

It's a crucially important part of the process to get right. And, as you'll see, running a strong submission process actually starts earlier than you might think...

This checklist covers:

  • How to define what content to ask for from vendors
  • What to include in your submission instructions
  • How to actually receive submissions
  • Distributing and evaluating submissions
  • What to do after the evaluation is complete


Download the Submission Checklist »

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New Checklist: Running an RFx / Bid Evaluation

Posted by Omar Salaymeh | Sep 18, 2014 3:31:00 PM

Back in May, we discussed the importance of using simple checklists to help audit proof your procurement decisions, and shared an example Post-Project Checklist of our own (get it here).

This checklist proved to be very popular with purchasers from all kinds of organizations (public, private, international) -- it was downloaded hundreds of times, from 27 countries across the world -- and many downloaders asked if we have any other checklists to share with the procurement community.

Today, we’re making available our checklist for running RFx / bid evaluations. Every organization’s process is a little bit different, but we think you’ll find this checklist represents a good high-level “best practice” for running these types of evaluations.


The checklist covers the evaluation stage from the kick-off meeting with the evaluators, to coming to consensus, to finalizing the decision. We hope you find it useful!

Download the Evaluation Checklist here »

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How to Prepare for an Upcoming Procurement Audit

Posted by Omar Salaymeh | Jul 11, 2014 3:12:00 PM

Procurement is always under the microscope. And while every procurement professional does their best to follow their rules and regulations, slip-ups are bound to happen - it’s only human to make mistakes. Given this, it’s no surprise that the phrase "external audit" strikes worry in the heart of any procurement department.

So, what can be done to relieve the stress, and -- more importantly -- protect your organization from the possibility of negative findings?

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4 Best Practices to Meet your RFx Evaluation Deadlines

Posted by Omar Salaymeh | Jun 11, 2014 10:34:00 AM

RFP evaluations are notorious for delays and missed deadlines. Talk to any purchaser and they’ll tell you horror stories of projects that went off-the-rails, for one reason or another, and ended up languishing for months longer than planned. Through the pain of experience, purchasers have discovered several best-practices to help keep things on schedule.

Here’s a look at the 4 best practices we’ve seen across the hundreds of purchasers we’ve worked with so far. Have a trick of your own? Let us know in the comments. 

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What are the Top 3 RFP Challenge for Today’s Purchasers?

Posted by Omar Salaymeh | Jun 2, 2014 12:06:00 PM

RFPs are a lot of work. On the front end, you have to gather requirements, produce the RFP document itself, and get it into the hands of relevant suppliers. On the back end, you have to receive and organize supplier proposals, and then coordinate the evaluation and eventual decision itself.

And throughout it all, everyone is pulling you in a different direction. Suppliers ask question after question. Evaluators complain that the process is taking too long. Your boss is constantly peaking over your shoulder to make sure things are shaping up properly. 

Yes, running competitive bids is hard - but what’s the HARDEST part?

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Not Ready for Online Submissions? Here's a Creative Way to Lighten Your Workload

Posted by Omar Salaymeh | May 26, 2014 12:44:00 PM

Here’s a familiar scene:

A prequalification RFSQ closed earlier this afternoon, and the response from contractors was great… but now your desk is cluttered with piles of paper. In fact, you’re looking at a small mountain of envelopes and documents, with a pile of USB keys right beside it. You sigh and begin organizing the paper into proposal packages to hand out to your evaluation committee later in the week. Hopefully this all won’t take up too much room in your office...

This is the typical experience of purchasers who haven't yet -- for one reason or another -- made the jump to online supplier submissions.

We’re very sympathetic to the plight of the individual described above. We know firsthand that as much as a purchaser might want to 'go digital’, sometimes they are prevented by certain policies, people in management, or overloaded IT departments.

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What is Bonfire?

Bonfire the easiest, simplest, friendliest way for purchasers to accept and evaluate supplier proposals / quotes as part of RFx / bid projects. Learn more »

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