A request for proposal (RFP) is the formal call for a carrier to answer a shipper’s business needs once the shipper has chosen a select group to consider. When a shipper receives carriers’ completed proposals, it provides the opportunity to compare and contrast information on an equal level across all submissions. During the process, shippers are able to narrow down the potential carriers to those who will best execute the work.
To get the most accurate and effective bid from carriers, it’s important to have a user-friendly and informative RFP. Thoroughly creating and detailing the RFP at the onset of the process will save shippers time once the proposals are returned for consideration. With clear expectations set up front, it will be easier to both eliminate carriers who do not meet the basic requirements of the RFP and spot the ones that are indeed viable candidates.
Below are key steps and concepts to keep in mind when compiling a two-part transportation RFP.
Before compiling the necessary questions and statistics to create an RFP, make sure the following decisions are made in advance. These components will affect the final proposal and impact how a carrier crafts its response.
After these decisions have been made, it’s time to create the RFP. The RFP should ask for information that is both qualitative and quantitative. This two-part format allows a carrier to provide the most accurate and comprehensive overview of its capabilities.
This portion of an RFP allows carriers to report the details of their expertise and business, oftentimes in fill-in-the-blank or short-answer formats. When providing questions for carriers to answer, keep these guidelines in mind:
For the quantitative portion of the RFP, it’s important to provide as many details as possible. The more the carrier knows, the more accurate the proposed solution will be. Additionally, more upfront information will help the carrier determine whether the potential business will be the correct fit, mitigating the risk of winning the business and later realizing it’s not the right opportunity.
When assembling the quantitative component of an RFP:
The effectiveness of an RFP comes down to the details. To award a carrier the business, a shipper needs to see a clear and accurate picture of the carrier’s capabilities. A great fit goes beyond the price of the quote. A carrier’s expertise in the industry, portfolio of services, cultural fit, network and use of technology are just a few components to help shippers make the right choice.
Published December 2018
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