This session at the 2018 PRIMA Annual Conference, Mark Sulek – Associate Director, Public Sector – Aon, presented some “do’s and don’ts” as well as helpful hints.
The RFP process has a reputation for being tedious, strenuous and frustrating. With a well defined plan, an RFP process, from conception to award, can be seamless while maximizing the responses you receive.
The objectives of developing a successful RFP process are proactively limiting Q&A, increase the quality of submissions, and create more objective evaluation. Begin with preemptive discussions with procurement/purchasing and follow some of these guidelines.
Top 10 Do’s & Don’ts:
- Requirements. Have a list of must-haves that provides a checklist if possible, know what will cause a bidder to be deemed non-responsive, include DBE/MWBE requirements, and include forms (how they must be signed and when they need to be provided).
- Pricing. Specific the scope/items to be priced including any optional items that may be sought. Clearly delineate between capabilities and scope of work.
- Format & Structure. Don’t leave to the imagination. Have a clear and concise desired format which will limit subjective content and promote objective evaluations.
- Minimum Qualifications. List all the minimum qualifications of a bidder including general descriptions, relevant experience and background.
- Scope of Work. Specify how you want the scope of work addressed in responses including confirmations, itemized responses or narrative descriptions, categorizing scope, and addressing optional services.
- Evaluation criteria & timeline. Define and itemize the evaluation criteria clearly, provide scoring system if applicable, and establish an anticipated timeline.
- References. Don’t broadly request references. Specify a minimum, related requirements (recent, size, & scope), and format and type of requested information.
- Vague and repetitive questions. Don’t be vague or repetitive. Ensure clarity and review for accuracy.
- Contract exceptions and negotiations. Make sure to address the future contract, providing a sample with exceptions or revisions that would be acceptable if possible.
- Coverage and program details. Don’t think the scope of work and instructions are enough. Provide information about your current program, ensuring the information is sufficient for bidders to respond completely.
Overall, ensure your mindset is considering what you are expecting in terms of responses received. The responses received should be similar in format and structure to aid in objectivity and ease of evaluation. Proactively limit Q&A by providing clear concise information and directions. The information need to respond should be provided in the initial solicitation release. Engage procurement/purchasing with ample time to revise the RFP as needed.