First, let's start by defining the terms of RFI or RFP.
While similar, a request for information (RFI), and a request for proposal (RFP) serve different purposes. The determination of which works best for your organization is to align with what information you are seeking.
An RFI is typically a higher level, less intensive process for both the buyer and provider, and explores how a provider may solve the challenges outlined in your business case. Typically, if pricing is included, it is based on high-level information
An RFP is a more in-depth process in which you evaluate the different approaches by providing detailed questions to the provider who responded with their answers and supporting documentation. An organization then reviews the responses, and which typically includes detailed pricing as compared to other like providers.
Buyers have varied approaches to defining what the best contingent workforce program model aligns with supporting the needs of their organization. Buyers have to determine if they want an Internally Managed Program (IMP) and outsourced Managed Service provider (MSP) and then, of course, the technology component the vendor management systems (VMS). Stay tuned for a future blog for more information on the various contingent workforce models. A bidding process can provide an education on the various models, offerings and provides insights on the various provider's capabilities, strengths, and alignment to the providers' organization's core values to that of the buyer.
1. Varied viewpoints or approaches are considered
One of the critical steps of developing an RFP is to build out a cross-functional committee to understand their viewpoints and together examine the desired solution that best suits your organization and constituents of the program. The team should collaborate on an informational document that you will send to the providers with the RFP. This document should share your current state and models you are seeking to explore to assist the providers in creating a proposal that aligns with your desired future state or offer an alternative solution that the provider has seen success within other organizations.
In an RFP Tracz Consulted facilitated, the client was torn between two approaches to a critical function of their process. Different departments had conflicting benefits to the two approaches, so we elected to provide information on the two approaches we were considering and asked providers to propose pricing and models for both and further asked that the providers provide their opinion on the benefits of the varied approaches and provide a case study to support it further. We found this approach incredibly valuable in the client electing which of the two options worked best in their environment and further assisted them in making a selection on the top providers and untimely the selection of the provider that best aligned to their organization’s needs.
2. Supporting or Updating your business case
During the development of the information document to provide to the suppliers, the cross-functional team further aids in assisting in the development of or providing supporting documentation for your business case. As it provides to an external audience, what your organization's needs are, and what you are looking to be accomplished. Furthermore, this activity can provide information or changes to your budget and timeline. As if your original business case did not include conducting a sourcing process of an RFP, it may be longer than planned.
3. A systematic approach for identifying the correct partner
In the development of questions for the RFP, a component should also be determining the criteria of the weighting for the questions. Defining the criteria before responses are received and determining what you are seeing in a partner provides the systematic process for selection. This approach is a great benefit when internal groups or departments have differing viewpoints as the criteria selection is solidified before the bid goes out.
4. Quickly learn of new providers and their differences between providers
An RFP allows you to open participation to all of the suppliers you have identified and their competitors to ensure you have visibility to all options in the market. In the contingent workforce space, there are publicly available resources to identify potential partners to include in your processes such as Spend Matters or Sourcing Interest Group, or there are even research groups who rank the providers annually. Hiring a contingent workforce consulting firm, like Tracz Consulting, can ensure you have an inclusive list of all the providers and contacts at each organization.
5. Reinvigorate your existing partnership
In the event you have an incumbent provider; maybe you have an existing Managed Service Provider (MSP) or a Vendor Management System (VMS). This exercise allows your incumbent to reinvigorate the relationship, services offered, and potentially the pricing. Do not discount your current provider(s) as there often needs to be an opportunity to look at your current partner through a new lens.
If considering a sourcing process for a contingent workforce solution whether it’s you are in the information gathering and educational phase, or if you have an existing program you are looking to optimize, Tracz Consulting has almost 20 years in the space and a proven track record of satisfied clients and an extensive network of providers for the various offerings you might be seeking.