- Response Deadline – Deadline for response submittal. It is advisable to clearly state the consequences of a delayed response and to reinforce the deadline with the appropriate client contact for suppliers that anticipate delays. One often encounters the scenario where reputed, competitive suppliers refuse to bid because the timeline is too challenging. In order to avoid a scenario where a challenging deadline eliminates prominent suppliers, there needs to be a contact person who works with these suppliers to agree on a feasible submission date for their proposals.
- RFP Terms and Conditions – Set of terms and conditions that govern the procurement (such as any costs incurred in submitting bids are solely the supplier’s responsibility; proposal prices to be valid for 90 days; etc.)
- Contract Terms and Conditions – Sample contract which the buyer intends to execute with the winning supplier(s). Typically suppliers are asked to review and indicate any clauses with which they do not agree. This helps shorten the overall process by conducting contract negotiations in parallel with the overall process. Caveat – suppliers will often “agree” to the terms and conditions during the RFP without carefully reviewing the contents and will want to have extensive changes later on or lawyer reviews at the last minute. Performance metrics with supporting liquidated damages and rewards must also be included.
- Evaluation Criteria and Process – RFP’s need to outline the evaluation criteria which will be used to score the suppliers and the process which will be used to evaluate the responses. Relative weighting also needs to be provided.
By Ben Werner, Consultant, The Hackett Group and Auri Ghatak, Manager, The Hackett Group Essential Components for a Comprehensive RFP Every RFP will be different depending on the category, geography, the buying company (size, industry), current market conditions, etc., but every comprehensive and well-structured RFP should contain most if not all of the following elements: