Do any of you guys handle RFP responses for your job?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Rick Lee, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. Rick Lee

    Rick Lee Member

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    Rant on.

    I'm in the middle of doing one right now that I think we'll actually not be able to bid on. Gotta love the irony of requiring a statement on our company's commitment to green, renewable energy, carbon footprint reduction, etc. while also requiring 10 (ten!) hard copies and two DVD copies of our bid. Another requirement is our company's annual report or audited financial statements for the last three years. Ten copies of that alone is probably in the 200 page range, not even getting to the rest of the proposal. This is not some new fighter jet or multi-billion dollar, longterm project. It's probably under $100k worth of IT services. I can really see this thing taking up 500 pages of paper I have to FedEx them.

    Rant off.
     
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  2. JMC

    JMC Member

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    No one likes RFP's. No one.
     
  3. GuitarKidd

    GuitarKidd Member

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    I work for a large company, and we demand the same from our vendors and likewise. You're known by the company you keep. If your company continues to grow, expect more of the same.
     
  4. CosmicCowboy

    CosmicCowboy Supporting Member

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    Fact. I've had to read through way too many.
     
  5. ripple

    ripple To keep fresh, keep capped & cold. Silver Supporting Member

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    Ugggh. Yes and don't get me started...

    My favorite is the engineer requesting complete copies of product specs and cutsheets (gratis of course) during RFP period, and then wanting to charge us $300-500 for plans when the project advertises.
     
  6. Rick Lee

    Rick Lee Member

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    You demand 10 hard copies of a bid that includes a statement on a bidder's commitment to things like reducing the use of paper? Seems to me, since they're requiring two CD ROMs of the bid, they can print out their own copies for the actual number of people who might be reading it at the same time. Better yet, they can accept electronic delivery and everyone on the reviewing committee can have the same bid pulled up on their laptops at the same time.

    Alas, I think the CEO will balk at providing financials. It's a sole proprietorship and the last one of those I worked for also refusd to furnish FINS for RFPs, though the CEO always sent me RFPs and told me to bid on them. They always came to a screeching halt when I got to the part requiring FINS.
     
  7. Rick Lee

    Rick Lee Member

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    Oh, my biggest RFP success story was when I won by default, despite having the highest price, because I was the only bidder who properly completed the required affirmative action form. Your tax dollars at work!
     
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  8. Travst

    Travst Supporting Member

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    When I owned a business, I would get "opportunities" to bid on sales to the local university. Pages of forms were required to sell them a laptop. No thanks.
     
  9. EricPeterson

    EricPeterson Member

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    Lol I was thinking request for production, and my answer was boy, do I.
     
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  10. Rick Lee

    Rick Lee Member

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    Yeah, it's a silly process. However, IF you plan to bid on them regularly, you can get some standardized forms and response templates and that cuts down on the work. Thing is, once you're in, it can be a gravy train. Some of these places (usually gov't.) absolutely must spend the money and, since it's no one's personal money, price is rarely the main consideration. I had a DOD contract going long ago that I probably kept as a sole source by bringing donuts and coffee to the compliance lady once a year.
     
  11. Staggerlee

    Staggerlee Member

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    Financials are needed so they can determine whether you are a solid company or whether you will go belly up next year and leave the buyer hanging. Happens all the time. If your company doesn't provide that info, you are losing sales.
     
  12. Rick Lee

    Rick Lee Member

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    Yes, I understand, been doing this a while. Eventually, checking all the boxes on the RFP becomes a money loser because of time invested with zero ability to influence the sale beyond providing answers to their questions, which are often not perfectly relevant to the product or service they want.

    Another one I won wanted two redundant services we offered, but also had a single service that covered them both. But I had to respond to their questions the way they specified. I added some commentary on how to cut out the redundancy, which was ignored. When I was called in for the meeting after the award, I tried to explain it again, but, like robots, they said they had to spend the money on those two services. Ok, I'll take their money.

    I should add that there are ways to verify a company's viability without FINS, or at least not require them until after contract award, which I've also seen as a condition. When you're often covered in the local area business journal, have lots of enterprise-level client testimonials and examples of client projects to share, it's probably a safe bet we're not running things on Hotmail or Yahoo! email addresses. Sure, it could all be a charade, but it would have been exposed by someone, maybe even a disgruntled former employee, over the last 20 yrs.
     
  13. AZChilicat

    AZChilicat Member

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  14. Glenn D.

    Glenn D. Member

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    I manage RFQs for a very large computer and accessory company, with millions of dollars of spend. We do our RFQs via email.
     
  15. Travst

    Travst Supporting Member

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    Agreed. In my case a competitor had the lock on the business and was obviously in on writing the specs in the RFPs.
     
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  16. great-case.com

    great-case.com a.k.a. "Mitch"

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    RFP Responses shouldn't bother you. You asked for them, didn't you? I think you are talking about the proposal, right?

    Who requested the proposal? I confuse...
     
  17. gigs

    gigs Member

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    Been on both ends of the RFP goat rope. If you think its any funner being on the writing and evaluating end of an RFP, guess again. The grass just looks greener on the other side.
     
  18. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Member

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    I write and maintain software that generates these things. Ugh.
     
  19. BeBop

    BeBop Member

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    I provide the graphics that the program managers/engineers sketch up for RFP's (15+ years in a corporate proposal center).

    Holler if you need some help :)
     
  20. Rick Lee

    Rick Lee Member

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    No, I'm often tasked with responding to RFPs we receive. I hate it because it's a total coin flip decision, but murders my day or week to go through, and I am responsible for a lot of other stuff that RFPs get in the way of. Our CEO doesn't want to deal with them, so hands them off to me. But only he has the info and authority for a lot of what the RFPs require, so I end up dragging him into the whole process too.
     

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