One of the biggest mistakes a procurement manager can make when organising an eSourcing event is to publish the RFP/RFQ/eAuction and then just wait for the vendors’ offers.
Using a sourcing platform doesn’t mean that communication with suppliers must be neglected. While a platform helps automate the process, the tips below outline some communication strategies that you need to consider before, during, and following an eSourcing event.
Communication before the eSourcing event
Before publishing a RFP/RFQ/eAuction, especially for larger projects, it is ideal to contact suppliers and inform them about the future RFI / RFP / RFQ. This information can be communicated by e-mail or by phone.
Make sure you have the right contacts from the suppliers.
A brief initial discussion can help to anticipate possible issues regarding choices of data, requirements or event parameters.
A small initial training ensures that suppliers are clear of what is expected from them, and should minimise their additional questions.
Supplier training is particularly important for eAuctions, as they need to be comfortable with the technology and avoid any confusion during the actual bidding.
If there are vendors who have never participated to such online events they should receive special attention, so that they do not have a disadvantage to other suppliers.
Communication during the eSourcing event
Once the project is published, monitor who opens the invitation, who has agreed to participate and who has not.
If providers seem to have no intention to submit a proposal or bid, they should be contacted to confirm whether they have received the invitation and whether they intend to participate. Thus, you keep strict control of the process and ensure that you get the maximum or at least sufficient participation for effective negotiation.
If there are changes to the event (e.g. extension of deadlines, change of project conditions etc.), the timely communication of these changes to suppliers is crucial. Even if there are minor changes, there is no disadvantage in drawing suppliers’ attention to them.
As the deadlines come closer, providers who have not yet sent their offer should receive notifications and be reminded of the deadline.
Communication after the eSourcing event
Once the event has been completed, keep the providers informed about the evaluation process.
Selected vendors should be notified when and what the next steps will be.
Suppliers that were not selected should be acknowledged for participating in the project and make sure they know their importance in the procurement process. Remember that suppliers spend time to present quality responses, and you may be working with them in the future. Suppliers want to know that they are seriously considered for this opportunity and that you professionally manage the procurement process.