This is the final post in our series about best practices for pallet requests for proposal . The previous post reviewed supplier plant visits. (Need to start from the beginning? Here's the first post.)
Once the final award is made to a supplier, use the trial period to evaluate their performance and ensure expectations are met.
I have always loved the Yogi Berra quote, “It ain’t over til it’s over.”
While the legendary baseball player and coach was referring to the 1973 National League pennant race when his beloved New York Mets were trailing the Cincinnati Reds in the series, Berra’s saying also applies to requests for proposals (RFPs), particularly those involving pallets.
You’re probably thinking, “What does baseball have to do with pallet RFPs? Once the final award is made to a supplier, it’s game over!”
Not necessarily. What happens if the company with the winning bid can’t execute? What if they consistently miss deadlines? Or their quality is off. Or they can’t supply the volume or spec you need. Are you locked into a bad deal or can you walk away?
It all depends on how you structured your RFP process from the beginning and what safeguards you put in place in the event the winner was unable to perform. Let’s revisit part three of our series, “Building a Successful Timeline.” The final phase of our recommended RFP structure takes place after the award is made!
Including this phase in your RFP gives you the opportunity to “test drive” your new supplier and serves as an escape hatch if the winning bidder cannot meet expectations. Keep in mind this clause must be included in your original RFP and clearly communicated to all bidders at the start of the process.
And, make sure this is reiterated at the time of the award with the above timeline and KPIs clearly identified. Unmet KPI milestones should be listed as grounds for renegotiation or discontinuation of the contract.
If this sounds harsh, it’s not. It’s smart business. Also, suppliers that are qualified to handle the requirements stated in your RFP should have no trouble agreeing to this trial period. They promised they could support your business, right? And, you don’t want to be locked into a bad deal with the potential to jeopardize your business. It’s all about the ground rules of your RFP and sticking to them.
I hope the 48forty series on how to run a successful RFP was helpful to you. If you’re considering an RFP in the future and have additional questions, feel free to send them our way. The time you invest upfront will pay off in the end.
And by the way, Yogi Berra’s Mets ended up beating the Reds. They were the real deal.