Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Vice President of Operations and CTO at SafeSourcing. Mark asks "How do you handle sourcing situations where you don’t know what you don’t know?"
Information rules the world and the sourcing world is no exception. It is often said “you only know what you know and you don’t know what you don’t know.” This may seem like a simple concept but it is amazing how often it gets ignored and decisions get made without people having all the facts they need to properly make those decisions.
In this week’s series, we will be exploring how simple information gathering techniques can help make better million dollar decisions and we will finally answer the reoccurring question “What really is the difference between an RFI and RFP and an RFQ and when should I use them?” Before we do that let’s focus on determining what, if any of these things, is needed to make the right purchasing decisions.
When faced with an upcoming purchasing decision there are several factors that need to be determined to know which direction to take should you need to gather additional internal or external information.
• Is this something you have purchased before?
• If this is not a new purchase, do you have current copies of contracts or agreements for these items or services?
• Is it clear who is providing this product or service across your entire company? (In many cases, the larger the company the hazier the answer to this question becomes.)
• Are the current suppliers national companies or is there a mix of regional vendors included?
• Is it clear within your organization how much is being spent and is that information broken down by region, state, division or some other fashion?
• Are you pleased with the performance and quality of the item(s) or service(s) your incumbent supplies?
• Are there additional features or services you are not currently purchasing that you would like to gather information on from suppliers?
These are the basic questions that need to be asked before determining if more information needs to be collected. In the end all of these questions lead to this, “Do I have what I need to supply information to potential vendors and then properly and fairly evaluate their responses in order to make a purchasing decision?”
Later this week we will dissect the different methods of information gathering as it relates to the questions above, explaining the purpose and expected result of each in order for you to determine, project by project, which will serve you best.
For more information on SafeSourcing and how we can assist your company with this process, please contact a Customer Service Representative for more information.
We look forward to and appreciate your comments.