18 Sep How I Learned To Stop Struggling And Love The RFP (With apologies to Stanley Kubrick)
Is there anyone who likes doing carrier RFPs?
We all know that issuing an RFP is the best way to get carriers to compete for our business and to really see how much better we could be doing on shipping charges than the incremental discounts we have been able to negotiate with our incumbent carrier every year.
But the RFP process as usually constituted is horribly time-consuming. Meeting after meeting to gather the necessary information, then lots more work to put that information into some unified form that can be supplied to all of the competing carriers.
And once we get proposals back, it’s a ton more work to come up with some way of comparing them, apples-to-apples, to see what kind of deal each carrier is offering for the kind of shipping we actually do.
It’s no wonder many companies do RFPs only every other year, if that often. I know experienced fulfillment professionals who have never done an RFP – they just have never seen how they would get a sufficient return on the time and effort needed to justify the process.
Wouldn’t it be nice (and sorry for the Beach Boys/Toyota ad earworm) if there were some way to take the time and friction out of the RFP process – easing the preparation of RFPs, the comparison of the resulting proposals, and even automating the management of the process itself?
Think about what it would take to really remove all the boulders blocking the path to successful completion of the RFP process.
First, you would need to have some way to normalize shipping data across your carriers, so you could get a single, coherent, aggregated view of all of you shipping.
Second, you would need some way to take that information and, with a simple, template-driven process, put it in a form that is easy for the carriers to digest and respond to.
Third, you would want the ability to take all of the carrier responses and compare them at both a high, aggregate level as well as granularly across service types and lanes, so you could see how what they are offering matches up with the way you actually ship.
Finally, you would want to automate the project management aspect of the process, to make it easy to stay on top of and even to do multiple rounds of proposals and negotiations.
We think that would be awesome, which is why we built TurboRFP. As the name suggests, this feature of the Fulfillment Intelligence Cloud speeds the RFP process and provides you with more power in dealing with your carrier partners.