Is communication with suppliers important?
Communication plays a key role in procurement. According to the newest Deloitte research 23% of CPOs focus mainly on increasing communication with the suppliers. A couple years ago the communication was based on face to face meeting in HQs and long discussions. Nowadays, the relations took a form of a digital dimension, but still the relations are key in the procurement process. Clear and detailed RFx is essential both to the purchasing team (so the detailed requirements) and suppliers, who should present their offers referring to the requirements stated by the buyers.
Unfortunately, not always all is clear and straightforward, especially in more complex processes, although the simple ones may also cause confusion. Our experience shows that 70% of RFx need to be clarified and the buyers leave some space for questions from the suppliers.
How to simplify the Q&A session in the RFx process?
At most of the companies the Q&A session is run in Excel files which are sent to the suppliers as attachments to the emails. The deadline for asking questions is also set in the emails. Then the questions are gathered manually in the bulk file, analyzed by the buyers and again sent to the suppliers as the attachment. Most likely some of the suppliers miss the deadline for the questions. In that case their offers won’t be coherent with the requirements included in the RFx. And that will reduce suppliers’ chances to be selected and buyers’ chances to get the best offer.
NextBuy team, taking into account our customers feedback, has decided to improve the process and here are the functionalities available in the system now:
Limiting time for asking questions by the suppliers.
Suppliers get automatic notification in their email inboxes regarding the deadlines for Q&A session. Benefits: a procurement team doesn’t have to control and send the reminders manually, and the supplier may be sure that they won’t miss the deadline.
Exporting the questions to the Excel file.
All questions sent by suppliers are exported automatically to the bulk Excel file with just one click. Now the procurement team needs to just prepare the answers in the file and publish it in NextBuy. Each supplier will have access to them. Benefits: analyzing questions and publishing answers done in one automatically generated file. No merging separate files from suppliers.
Today the Q&A session looks like that and may definitely improve and shorten the time for reliable offer.