Sourcing with RFIs, RFPs, RFQs and Surveys – Part 4 of 5

June 23rd, 2011

Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Vice President of Operations and CTO at SafeSourcing. Mark asks "What if I need more additional internal information rather than external?"

For the past 3 days we have been focusing on the gathering of external information in order to make the proper procurement decisions.  Today we will be looking into when it is necessary to gather internal information before reaching out to the suppliers even happens.

Looking back at Monday’s blog there were some basic questions that need to be asked before every sourcing project. 

• Do you know who you vendors are for a specific item or service across your company and do you know how much you spend with each? 
• Do you have current contract or agreement details?
• Are your divisions, regions or offices pleased with the quality of product and service they get currently?
• Are there other companies out there that parts of your business would like to include but don’t currently today?

The answers to these questions will dictate whether or not you know enough about the sourcing project you are about to begin to proceed with a Request For Information/Proposal.  Before any communication goes to the external supplier community it is critical to have an understanding of what your company is doing today and where the potential holes are in the procurement processes for these goods or services.

Proceeding with an internal survey involves a number of factors to consider.

• What tool will I use to collect the information from the company and does that tool allow for submission of the survey without requiring login information?
• Who will handle the survey process including the initial communication, gathering and return of the collection of responses? (Many times your 3rd party sourcing partner will provide this service for you)
• Who do I want to collect information from?  (Many times this will be dependent on how your company is divided, ie Districts, States, Divisions, Territories)
• What information do I need to collect in order to move forward intelligently with an RFI/RFP?

The keys to internal surveys are to make them as succinct as possible and to make sure you include everyone you need input from.  The first way to derail a sourcing project is to find out 2 weeks into it that someone’s input was not collected and sends the project back to the beginning.

Another very important key for internal surveys is to attach a manageable but small window for answering.  More often than not, the more time you provide respondents to answer the worse your response rate is and the more delays you introduce.  Tight timeframes usually lead to respondents taking the time right then to answer as soon as they get the invitation to participate.

In the end the goal of the internal survey is to have the information needed to begin speaking with suppliers.  To refer back to a phrase used in Monday’s blog, internal surveys are conducted in order to “know what you don’t know.”

Tomorrow we will wrap up this series by discussing how all of this information ties into the formal detailed price gathering or Request For Quote.

For more information on SafeSourcing and how we can assist your company with sourcing these goods and services, please contact a Customer Service Representative for more information.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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