For those of you who manage
If you don’t know about Sourcewell cooperative contracts, today's your lucky day. Sourcewell is a public corporation that effectively smooths out the RFP process. Their cooperative contracts streamline the process on behalf of state agencies, federal agencies, school districts and non-profits. And if you've dealt with the RFP process, you may have already encountered some—or all—of these problems.
5 Problems with the RFP Process
Here are five reasons why the RFP process makes purchasing difficult. Each one is also a reason to look into Sourcewell cooperative contracts.
- It’s slow.
Any major purchase your organization needs to make using the RFP process will take an average of three to six months. Using Sourcewell, this purchase time can be shortened to as little as six weeks.
- It’s hard work without reliable results.
The first step in an RFP is to assemble a team of your own people to research and find the specs on the project. The team assembles the document and gets it approved. After approval, the team needs to research and find potential vendors. If and when your RFP receives vendor responses, it's not guaranteed that any of those vendors will offer a solution that meets your needs. Their responses might have you wondering if they took the time to read your carefully prepared requirements.
- It’s inflexible.
Technology moves fast, and newly revised software is coming out all the time. Writing RFPs for a program or piece of hardware that will already be obsolete by the time the process runs its course is a recipe for frustration. It's nearly impossible to be agile and innovative when your purchasing process is slow and restrictive.
- It’s full of compromise.
Maybe all purchases require some form of compromise between what you want and what you can afford, but the RFP process can often lead to even more significant compromises. Vendors often ignore your specifications in favor of offering their own solutions. You might ask yourself yet again, “Did they read the same RFP we sent them?”
- It depends on crystal-clear communication.
There are a lot of ways to make communication between a buyer and a seller more efficient and clear. An RFP is not one of them. It depends on documents compiled by two different teams of people, which then cross through the mail or email system, often without any meetings or phone calls to clarify the specifications.