How To Obtain Responses From Sellers
When it comes to procurement, you have to be very careful as the project manager. There is a high tendency people will think that you have been compromised if the processes you followed are not transparent enough. Therefore, in this article, I want to talk about some of the ways that you can obtain responses from sellers. You should know that following a well-crafted seller response request, sent to carefully selected sellers, ensures that you obtain relevant, accurate and appropriate responses from prospective sellers.
Here are the guidelines…
#1 Review the documents
First and foremost, you have to review all the procurement documents that you have so as to know some of the rules and regulations that you have to follow when it comes to procurement for the organization. You must make sure that the procurement documents are accurate and complete before you actually commence the procurement process.
#2 Develop a qualified sellers list
There is a need for you to develop a qualified sellers list so as to choose from the list of those that are qualified to become your sellers. You need to take note of the following:
If your organization has a centralized purchasing department, there will often be lists of qualified or approved sellers available or at least some historical information about different sellers. If the resources are similar to ones procured by your organization in the past, you may be able to tap into expert judgment and historical information about different sellers and their track records. Try talking with sales and marketing people in your company; they may have contacts or know other sources.
You may also consider talking to people in your company who will be using the resource being bought, to find out more information about their needs.
If the resource you require is new to your organization, you may need to do some research in collaboration with your Purchasing Department to identify qualified sellers for that resource. You could try to search the internet, telephone and business directories, library services, and trade and professional organizations. This research may only generate a list of possible sellers. You will then need to learn if these sellers are actually qualified to deliver what you
need. These additional qualification steps could involve interviewing the prospective sellers, visiting their worksites, reviewing work sites, reviewing work samples, interviewing their references, checking with any available certification boards, or other approaches to ensure that they are indeed qualified candidates.
Determine the respondents
If your list of qualified sellers is sufficient for the work being procured, you may decide to send your procurement documents to just those prospective sellers.
If your list is insufficient, you may want to advertise to expand the list of potential sellers. If your project is a subcontract to a large government project, you may be obliged to advertise the request. You need to check your legal consultants or purchasing department experts on the wording of the advertisement.
Most government projects require that bids be publicly advertised to ensure that no supplier has an unfair advantage over others. Such notification may be in formats that include local newspapers, government publications, professional journals, and other appropriate venues.
If necessary, hold a bidders’ conference to allow prospective sellers to ask questions and seek clarifications about the deliverables and the requirements for preparing their responses.
The questions raised at a bidder conference should be of great interest to the team who prepared the original procurement documents. If there are common misinterpretations of words or if important information is found to be missing, try to capture this so that you will do a better job in the future. You may need to go back to the standard documents to include a cue to cover that information.
If the bidder conference points out serious problems that could cause the resulting proposals to be in error, you may need to amend the original procurement documents and send the amended version to all sellers originally provided with the documents. If this is done, the section amended must be clearly identified and the areas of difference annotated clearly.
- Send the request
You have to send the request for sellers’ responses to the identified prospective sellers. The type of request sent to an appropriate seller is dependent on the procurement criteria set for the project. The types of the request sent to obtain responses include a request for bid, request for proposal and request for quotation.
Sola Sarumi, the project manager for Fourth Mouse Consulting Corporate Office Wi-fi Network project, review procurement documents for the project to ensure that the requirement specifications are specified in suitable and sufficient detail. Based on the qualified sellers’ lists obtained from the Purchasing Department. Sarumi is able to identify prospective sellers from the existing list. Knowing that there may be other sellers in the market who will fulfill the project procurement requirements, Sarumi seeks his seller list by advertising in local newspapers and professional journals.
A number of sellers of the Wi-fi technology respond to the advertisements and add to his list of sellers. From the list, Sarumi now proceeds to shortlist and identify 15 prospective sellers who will meet the project’s procurement criteria.
He holds a bidder conference, which is attended by all their prospective sellers. During the conference, a number of clarifications are sought by the sellers regarding the procurement specifications and these are addressed by the project team. The updated procurement documents are now sent along with an RFP to each prospective seller. Sellers submit their bids in response to the RFP sent to them.
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