Facility managers and large contract cleaners often take bids, or request for proposals (RFPs), from suppliers and distributors for purchasing supplies. While some facility managers/contractors are very familiar with the process, others are not, and mistakes can happen. This makes the process much more cumbersome and in worst case scenarios, skews the bidding results, which can prove costly.
Here are 10 tips to help facility managers/ contractors avoid such a situation.
1. Allow plenty of time to prepare RFPs. The more thorough and concise they are, the easier they will be for suppliers/ distributors to work with.
2. Make a list of up to 10 potential partner/distributors.
3. In the case that RFPs are complicated or involve larger facilities, it is often a good idea to have a pre-bid meeting with all suppliers/distributors.
4. If a site visit or walk-through is required, provide two dates when these will be conducted.
5. Make sure supplier/distributor proposals are signed by an officer of the company.
6. In the RFP, be sure to offer suppliers/ distributors the ability to showcase any additional cost-saving alternatives that go beyond the price of the product or service. Often, these companies have found a process or labor solutions within other facilities that can be replicated — issues that may initially seem out of scope or aren’t currently being considered.
7. Ensure the RFPs state who is to receive the proposals and when they are due.
8. Give suppliers/distributors enough time to complete their proposals. Usually, two to four weeks is sufficient. If the deadline is extended for one supplier/distributor, it must be done for all.
9. Verify that all suppliers/distributors receive identical RFPs. If any changes are made during the bidding process, those updates must be delivered to all vendors.
10. Once all proposals are received, take time to evaluate them. To narrow the field, weed out those that do not provide all the necessary information and be wary of low bidders. Very often they simply did not understand the requirements.
Michael Wilson is vice-president of marketing for AFFLINK, a leading sales, and marketing organization for the facility management, healthcare, education, industrial and hospitality industries. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.