Why RFPs Don’t Work in the 21st-Century

14754739_sLet’s face it. RFPs are a MASSIVE time-suck for all concerned – for the team that creates them, to the team that responds to them, to the team that has to review all of the responses. They add time, complexity and bureaucracy at a time when we all strive to remove these barriers from the workplace. And in some instances, they are either a “make-work” or a formality, when a vendor decision has already been made. I increasingly hear of vendors being asked to contribute toward RFP documents, or, in some instances to write them on behalf of a company. Now if that isn’t a conflict of interest, I don’t know what is.

So to those organizations that still use the good ‘ol RFP, I am wondering if you can please answer the following questions?

1.) Did you know that the RFP process was created before Al Gore invented the Internet?

2.) Do you not have the expertise and market knowledge in-house that you can simply short-list 2-3 vendors for a 60-90 minute presentation, where they share work samples, exchange ideas with you and your team, and provide an overview of how they see your business/organization?

3.) If you add up the hundreds/thousands of collective hours that go into an RFP, would you rather not spend those hours on driving your business/organization forward, or on R&D, innovation, training, increasing operational efficiencies, etc.?

4.) Who do think ultimately pays for the hundreds/thousands of hours that RFP participants put into the process? Think about it.

5.) If the companies that you are requesting to participate in the RFP process are really that good at what they do, why do they need to participate in RFPs?

6.) If your Procurement team knows their stuff, why do you need the RFP process to try and drive down cost?

7.) And if your boss needs you to go through the RFP process in order to select a vendor, what does that say about their confidence in you?

Excited to hear from anyone that still uses RFPs, or anyone that believes they need to continue participating in them.

If everyone stopped submitting responses, the process would come to a grinding halt pretty quickly!

-David Sly, President