Who your business chooses to do business with can have major financial and operational impacts both in the short and long term if the decision is not well considered.
Taking a consistent step by step approach when appointing suppliers will provide true governance around the process and give your business the tools to succeed in on-boarding quality suppliers. To kick start a successful supplier appointment, here are our top 5 steps:
Step 1: Determine the scope
Ensuring you know exactly what goods or services your business requires is key. Stakeholders from multiple divisions may be required to assist, plan and identify key products or deliverables which will allow better refinement of the scope and cost control. This refinement allows you to be direct in your approach with the supplier and limit scope creep. When defining the scope, you should ensure there are formulated guidelines for how the team will assess each of the suppliers in a consistent manner. Assigning performance values and weightings in these guidelines should be a priority. Cost cannot be the only determining factor for your business.
Step 2: Request For Proposal (RFP)
Now that you have determined what is in scope, your business should craft a detailed Request For Proposal (RFP). An RFP sets out the scope and highlights the process and timelines that all parties will be accountable to. A well-crafted RFP clearly defines the expectations and helps run a smoother, more organised campaign. Determining who will participate in the RFP is also part of this process; will it be open to market or will you have a closed selection of suppliers you prefer to work with?
Step 3: Evaluate the RFP
Your clearly defined RFP will have provided the suppliers ample time for Q&A to refine their understanding of your requirements, submit their proof of concept in some cases and issue their proposal. As you have already defined the guidelines for assessment of the proposal, you should now be able to review each proposal objectively and shortlist suppliers.
Step 4: Supplier assessment and contract negotiations
Now that you have been able to shortlist the suppliers, undertaking reference checks will provide key assurances from external parties and can provide great insight into performance and areas of focus for the team when negotiating and implementing the supplier into your business. Following this process is the negotiation and agreeing to commercial terms. These commercial terms in contracts allow for both parties to limit financial and operational risk and should be well documented. It may be prudent for you to have the contracts reviewed by your legal counsel to assist you in identifying any blind spots or red flags within the contracts.
Step 5: Award and implement
Having completed the above step, now comes time for the final supplier selection. Based on all of the inputs throughout the process above, your business should be well informed to select the supplier and execute contracts. As touched on earlier, having the relevant stakeholders in your business involved through the process of the supplier selection will streamline and allow for successful implementation into your business.
If you are looking to improve your supplier selection process or have any queries around how the process above could work for your business, please contact your usual Mazars advisor, the author or one of our specialists via the form below or on:
Author: Christopher Cicutto
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