Category Archives: e-RFx

The RFx Prescription

You could say I’m in the RFP business. Or, more accurately, the RFx business, given that I interact with RFIs, RFPs, RFQs, RFTs, and the like every week. On a regular basis, I request a great deal of information or feedback, and receive numerous requests of my company. I get to see the process of requesting information, price and non-price, from every angle. I answer questions of sourcing pros who are considering purchasing Iasta sourcing software; I build existing vendor … More

3 Optimization Tips for Success

Optimization is undoubtedly one of the most advantageous parts of managing a project using an eSourcing solution. Look at any standard sourcing process diagram, and you are likely to find optimization placed near the end, squeezed in just before negotiations are scheduled to begin. While optimization scenarios cannot be run until supplier bids and information are received, planning must begin well in advance before opening an event, whether it is an RFP, RFQ or Auction. Cost components may be straightforward … More

10 Steps to Prepare for Your Next Reverse Auction

If someone said that running a reverse auction takes a lot of time and effort, then I would have to disagree. Don’t get me wrong. Conducting a reverse auction does take time and energy, but the auction itself may only last 45 minutes. In my opinion, the real sweat and tears occur in all the preparation leading up to the reverse auction. Rather than diving right into running a reverse auction, you need to prepare ahead of time by gathering … More

4 Tips for Executing Effective RFPs

The content of your RFP drives the quality and effectiveness of the responses you receive. I often see the same types of issues arise when buyers compile RFPs, which ultimately end up pushing out timelines, leaving money on the table, and possibly even causing poor award decisions to be made. Strike a balance between the amount / type of information you gather and the amount of information you share to create an effective RFP that will help move towards the … More

Finding Economies of Scale

One of the primary responsibilities of procurement is to manage costs, and we all know that cost = price x volume. We also know that as our volumes increase, our prices should decrease, thanks to a little something called economies of scale. Increased production spreads fixed costs across higher volumes, effectively lowering the production cost per unit. Wikipedia also includes purchasing as a common source of economies of scale through the “bulk buying of materials through long-term contracts. ” Knowing … More

3 Tips for Successful Communication with Suppliers

Many times organizations begin using eSourcing tools with the mistaken assumption that the tool will automatically take care of all the work for them.  Communicating with suppliers throughout the eSourcing process is probably the most neglected, yet important, piece of an eSourcing project. One of the biggest mistakes a project manager can make when running an eSourcing event is to publish the project and then wait for supplier responses. The project manager needs to engage suppliers and demonstrate how important … More

13 Resolutions for Procurement Teams in 2013

As you and your team are preparing to execute your Procurement strategy for 2013, consider adding these resolutions to your “to-do” list: 1. Tell your sourcing story. Has your team transformed processes or implemented new technologies that blew the socks off senior management? Tell everyone by sharing your sourcing stories. Consider creating a quarterly (or monthly) newsletter or e-mail to distribute to the entire company so you can publicize your successes and impact on the organization’s growth and bottom line. … More

Six Questions to Determine if a Reverse Auction is Appropriate for Your Sourcing Project: Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, I explained how the contract status and having clear specifications / requirements can drive the success of your reverse auction.  Click here to read Part 1. Today, we will cover 4 more elements to consider when developing your reverse auction project and strategy. Is the spend volume attractive? The bigger the potential business award, the more likely suppliers are to compile all of the pre-auction information such as non-price factors in an RFI or … More

There are No Small Parts: Every Sourcing Project is an Opportunity for Development

The very first sourcing project I ran on my own was for a window washing services contract at a large retailer. Not exactly glamorous, but everyone has to start somewhere. At the time, the annual spend seemed like so much money (do you ever compare category spend to your salary?) but in retrospect it was worth nothing. And yet, for the “smallness” of it, I learned more lessons from that one project than I would from many larger and more … More

10 Ways to Drive Procurement Influence Using Advanced Technology: Part 1

Recently, Iasta sponsored a Webcast featuring Jason Busch from Spend Matters. Busch presented 10 ideas that go beyond basic sourcing to enhance procurement’s value to the business. By embracing new sourcing-related tools and services, teams can gain critical knowledge about spend to drive additional cost savings. The following post blogs will outline the 10 ways, outside of transactional related focus areas, that both Spend Matters and Iasta see delivering new value to organizations. The first idea Busch presented was to … More

The Do It Yourself RFP: Let the Buyer Beware

Buyers of recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) services show a growing trend toward managing the request for proposal (RFP) and the associated service provider selection process internally rather than investing in a sourcing advisor, such as ISG, to oversee the process. I liken this to selling a house without the aid of a realtor – it can be done, but instead of saving money on the commission, the seller may take on unexpected costs in reaping the return on a significant … More

Why Commercial Insurance Companies Should Utilize Reverse Auctions vs. RFPs

Commercial insurance companies are experiencing a lack of transparency, efficiencies and fairness in the traditional insurance buying process, which is resulting in increased costs.  In addition, buyers often form long-term relationships and do not engage in a process that yields the best financial results. Costs can spiral upward in some cases significantly above the actual pricing that is available to the buyer on equal or better coverage terms. Furthermore, there are no solid benchmarks for buyers of commercial insurance. The … More

Are You the Customer or the Product? (Part 2)

In Part 1, I covered the model and value of free tools. Click here to read Part 1. In Part 2, I will cover another important component of free tools, support. Another hard truth about free eSourcing tools is that many of them do not come with much support. Perhaps you get some online manuals or a video tutorial, but don’t expect live, experienced user support to help guide you during critical events. The onset of an eSourcing program is … More

Are You the Customer or the Product? (Part 1)

Many companies these days are providing free services and technology to different markets. This is not a new trend. Over a decade ago, I got my first free, Web-based e-mail account. It was a Hotmail account and, in fact, I still have it today. Free storage, free tools, free address book, etc. – it’s pretty cool. Today, you can find dozens of free, Web-based e-mail solutions, each having its own hook but all looking pretty much the same. The one … More

Structured Sourcing Process and e-Tool Deliver Double Digit Savings

As sourcing organizations mature, it becomes more and more challenging to deliver significant savings across well-sourced categories.  However, it has been Paladin Associates’ experience that there continue to be opportunities in both direct and indirect categories.  Recently a client engaged Paladin to lead the sourcing process for Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers (FIBCs).  While the process was not unusual, its rigor demonstrated efficiency, effectiveness and the capability to deliver not only savings, but to provide greater understanding of and continuity of … More