You NEVER Have to Go Crazy on 3 Bids and a Buy!

This is a follow-up to last Friday’s article on RFP Everything? Are You Mad? Even The Squirrels Will Think You’re Nuts!,
which was in response to a LinkedIn Post where a consultant noted that a remarkable example of AI was autonomous tail spend RFP’s generating over 15,000 RFP’s annually through a programmed bot. the doctor‘s response to this was that it was absolutely terrifying. Sales professionals who are already over-inundated with ever more demanding RFQs where they know, statistically, they will only get 20% to 33% of the business if they are on par, and less of the business if they are not, are going to be so overwhelmed that they are going to have two options:

  • pick favourites and stop responding, or selling, to clients that over-inundate but under-buy or
  • acquire an auto-responder and counter auto-generated RFQs with auto-generated bids from their catalog, which may be good, bad, or pointless

Neither is good for the buying company. The counter to this was that there is a category of services which is one off and needs the collection of a number of competitive bids. The value of these services in the €10-100k bracket needed a tail spend management program for which we developed the automated ‘3 bids and a buy program’ … and there is no better way to organize it.

Which is totally not true, because the doctor saw a better way successfully implemented 16 years ago. Back in the day, Iasta (acquired by b-pack, renamed Determine, acquired by Corcentric) identified that one of the BEST uses for strategic sourcing decision optimization was services procurement (when most firms were still using it for indirect or fledgeling direct).

What they did was:

  1. identify all of the services their large mid-market clients would contract over the course of a year with typical durations
  2. collect bids from national, regional, & local providers
  3. build a huge optimization model which would identify the lowest cost providers for each service in each area and then make an annual award to a mix of national, regional, and local providers guaranteeing a certain volume / $-value of services across a certain number of service categories / roles across awarded service areas as long as the provider locked in the rates for a year

It was ingenious because, when the service was needed, the company simply sent the requisition to one of the chosen providers (lowest-cost first if available, or second-lowest if not or if they weren’t sending enough business to the second-lowest in other categories to meet the commitment).

ONE single RFQ event. One year of quotes negated. The approach regularly identified up to 40% savings, and realized up to 30% savings. David Bush and team were geniuses!

The morale of the story is this: if you think you need to send 15,000 auto-generated RFQs to get tail spend under control, you haven’t done enough thinking about, or analysis of, the problem!