How a good Request for Tender (RFT) Document is Designed

Best practice RFT design starts with a meeting of representative stakeholders in the buying organisation to determine what they want. Typically, their requirements will include some goods and/or services which they’ll get the experts within their organisations involved in to put the specifications together. For example, if they’re buying food it may need to be cut to certain dimensions, frozen, have a specific country of origin etc. With input from their colleagues, they’ll also get a list of things that are important to them which might look something like:

• Experience in providing the goods/services
• Understanding of our organisation
• Geographic coverage
• Implementation planning
• Value add
• Cost effectiveness of the offer

These will form the evaluation criteria which will be the basis of the RFT and against which suppliers’ responses will be measured. The stakeholders will then decide how these criteria should be weighted based on what is most important to the organisation. How they are weighted really depends on the buying organisation and whether they let suppliers know what the weightings are is typically at their discretion. It’s a great help if they do publish the weightings in the RFT as it gives suppliers an idea of where to really focus their efforts.

The Sections

Most RFTs I’ve seen start with some RFT terms and conditions which are informational. The terms and conditions serve to protect the buying organisation (e.g. clauses to say that they don’t need to appoint any one supplier, that costs of putting together responses are solely to be borne by the participating suppliers etc.) and to inform the suppliers (e.g. when the responses are due, the process for asking questions).

Next, typically comes a bunch of questions which suppliers are to respond to. These questions are linked to the evaluation criteria. Relating to our above example criteria they may ask you to provide examples of similar clients that you’ve got or had. The marks assigned to this question would likely be attributed to the “Experience in providing the goods/services” criterion.
Usually at the end there’ll be a place for you to enter your pricing (may be spreadsheet if there’s a list of commodities/services) along with some attachments which may or not include the buying organisation’s standard contract.

Extract from the eBook HOW TO PREPARE A WINNING TENDER… From the Procurement Marker’s Perspective

Next up… How a good RFT process is run


Sourcing strategy options

Sourcing strategies determine how your company will ensure supply of a particular product or service. Typically development of a sourcing strategy includes consideration for where to purchase, considering demand and supply situations, while minimising risk and costs.

Potential sourcing strategies include:

  • Direct negotiations,
  • Insourcing,
  • Outsourcing,
  • Competitive bidding (RFx, Reverse Auction),
  • Panel contracts (having a restricted number of suppliers signed up to your terms for one procurement category),
  • Volume aggregation (using fewer suppliers), and
  • Global sourcing (also low cost country sourcing).

Several factors go into selecting a sourcing strategy such as:

  • What the supply market looks like,
  • Volatility of supply/prices, and
  • How important the product/service is to our company. (Often there are four groups in which products are divided; critical, routine, leverage and bottleneck products).

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