Better RFP Responses & Management
Advice to Procurement Professionals: Get Visual

Advice to Procurement Professionals: Get Visual

Bidders are highly motivated to do well: to submit, on time, a compliant proposal that will score well and offer the lowest price they can. So why don’t they do better? A major reason is the complexity of bid documents.  Simpler documents will lead to fewer questions during the process, and to better responses at the end of the process, where “better” means closer to the requirement, easier to evaluate, and more competitively priced. Herewith, three specific examples of one practical suggestion for keeping it simple.

This week’s advice can be summed up in two words: Get visual.

Use a Picture

Schedules are best communicated visually. To ensure your schedule is feasible, lay out the dates or durations on a timeline. To ensure it’s clear, name the milestones and periods/stages, and then remove any terminology variants from the document.

Use a Form

When you want data, not lengthy narrative, design a simple form for bidders to populate. Whether it’s details on experience, or equipment/product specifications, a form helps ensure that answers are complete, and simplifies both the bidder’s job in organizing the information, and the evaluator’s job in assessing it.

Use a Spreadsheet for Bidder Questions

Give bidders a spreadsheet to submit questions. That gathers all the necessary information in a standard format, allowing you to easily combine questions from different bidders, and saving bidders the bother of designing a readable format.


This post is based on an article I wrote for the National Institute of Government Purchasing, Canada West Chapter.