Utilize Request for Product or Request for Quote Submittals As a Marketing Tool

April 25, 2012 by  Filed under: Branding 

While rendering quality management system consulting and auditing services to an oil & gas supplier quality management organization, there was an opportunity to evaluate and score the “quality” Request for Product (RFP) responses from 3rd party surveillance providers, companies that specialize in global product inspection services.

My client’s RFP process required participating surveillance providers to submit responses to several questionnaires, of which one was a quality questionnaire. Responses were evaluated per a predetermined 1 to 10 point scoring criteria with a passing threshold of 6 points.

After reviewing quality RFP responses from twenty-two companies, it was noted that a number of providers were not completing their quality responses with an adequate degree of due diligence:

a. There were instances where questions were not fully understood because the responses were incomplete and in some instances did not answer the question.

b. Frequently, responses lacked depth and substance leaving the impression that the responder did not fully understand his/her own quality management system.

c. A number of sub-questions contained within the primary question went unanswered.

d. There were instances when the responder did not provide any objective evidence to demonstrate compliance with the client’s quality requirements.

For those providers who did not score well, it was apparent that the designated RFP responder(s) did not have the required bandwidth or expertise to provide optimal responses to the quality questionnaire or did not receive cross-functional support to complete the quality questionnaire.

Companies that did not achieve a passing RFP score were extended the opportunity to revise and re-submit their responses. Those who chose to resubmit their responses were given guidance regarding what constituted an adequate response(s) and what type of compliance evidence could demonstrate compliance with the client’s quality requirements. It is noteworthy to mention that the providers who opted for re-evaluation managed to improve their overall RFP evaluation scores.

The RFP re-evaluation activity created access to senior management and the opportunity to point out that any “Request for Product” (RFP) or “Request for Quote” (RFQ) submittal should be considered as a major marketing opportunity….to distinguish themselves from their competition and to impress the potential client thereby gaining new business opportunities.

The following recommendations were shared with executive management in an effort to aid them to recognize and utilize their RFP/RFQ process as a legitimate, viable and effective marketing tool:

1. Establish a cross-functional team as well as a designate a management representative to conduct a review and approve the RFP/RFQ prior to submittal. Providing complete, accurate and optimal responses will enable you to distinguish your company from your competitors and provide the client with a rational and confidence to award your company new business.

2. Ensure that questions and sub-questions are answered in such a manner that the client is able to determine the level of compliance with their supplier requirements. If a question is not fully understood, the client’s RFP single point of contact must be accessed to obtain clarification.

3. Provide objective evidence of compliance with specified or contractual requirements by referencing or attaching a quality manual, procedure, work instruction, record, certificate, etc. (excluding proprietary information).

4. Record and maintain RFP/RFQ submittal trend data such as:

a. Initial RFP scores

b. Revised RFP scores

c. Frequency for request of additional information

d. The number of times new business is obtained from RFP/RFQ submittals

e. Review gathered data to identify opportunities for continual improvement of your RFP/RFQ submittal process.

5. Recognize and reward team(s) for successful RFP/RFQ submittals.

The conclusion of this brief article is that submitted RFP/RFQ data must clearly convey to the potential client that your company is significantly more competent that the competition when it comes to consistently meeting specified and contractual requirements as well as exceeding their expectations, thus deserving of the new business. If your current RFP/RFQ process cannot accomplish the aforementioned capabilities, you may actually be damaging the reputation and brand of your company.

Frank Loriaux invites you to contact the Peloton Strategy at http://www.pelotonstrategy.com to discuss your ISO9000 quality management system to ensure that your products or services consistently meet your customers’ requirements and exceed their expectation. Our consulting, auditing and interim management services can assist you to retain the reputation of your “brand” in the market place. Our principal consultant is available to you at http://www.pelotonstrategy.com.

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