Some of my previous posts on this blog have provided tips for developing an RFP/RFT in order to select a logistics outsourcing partner.
In this post, I want to focus a little on the next step: evaluating the logistics outsourcing proposals from your RFP respondents.
It’s More than Just a Score
Evaluation of logistics outsourcing proposals normally makes use of an objective scoring system. However, it’s a mistake to select an outsourcing partner on that basis alone. You can lean a lot more about providers’ potential suitability from the way they’ve developed and presented the response to your RFT.
Below are some details of the things to look for when evaluating logistics outsourcing proposals. None of these points relate to the scoring system though. Instead you’ll get an idea of how to make a more holistic assessment of the RFT responses, spotting the red flags which should urge you to be cautious, as well as the indications of a vendor that’s really on top of its game.
Read Between the Lines
After reading a vendor’s response thoroughly, what does it tell you about how it differentiates itself from the other proposals? Consider how well the overall content answers the following questions:
- Exactly how does the provider intend to meet your company’s needs?
- How clearly does the provider disclose the total cost of a partnership?
- How well does the response demonstrate understanding of your problems and challenges?
- Does the vendor’s response indicate that it can bring fresh perspectives to those challenges?
Any provider that’s really worth considering will make sure it provides compelling and verifiable evidence that it can offer a unique, effective solution to your outsourcing requirements.
Evaluate Presentation Too
Be wary of any responses containing spelling or grammatical errors, regardless of how well they score on your evaluation spreadsheet. Such errors are easily avoidable. If a provider can’t manage to develop a professional response with attention paid to detail, you might not want to entrust them with an entire logistics operation and the associated customer relationships.
Look at the Detail
I’ve already mentioned that attention to detail is important. In my previous RFP articles too, I’ve explained the need to provide a lot of detail in your request for proposals. Responses from prospective partners should include the same high degree of detail. So when evaluating logistics outsourcing proposals, you might want to think twice about partnering with any vendor that hasn’t recognised or respected that need for detail.
Beware of Late Responses and Extension Requests
Similarly to the need for attention to detail, timeliness of response should serve as a barometer for a vendor’s ability to organize. If a vendor’s project team can’t meet your deadline for an RFP response, you should probably strike it from your shortlist, even if it was a front-runner that you had high hopes for.
Learn More About Evaluating Logistics Outsourcing Proposals
By adding the considerations listed here to your criteria for evaluation, you won’t miss any of the more subtle signs of service providers’ quality. Of course you could even add these criteria to your scoring system, but for example, if a provider is late submitting its proposal, you probably shouldn’t expend time on scoring the details.
However, every case is different and these are only guidelines. Remember though, that an outsourcing partnership is likely to be a long-term arrangement, so you can’t be too careful in selecting the right provider.
If you’d like to learn more about winning with logistics outsourcing, you’ll find lots of answers in my self-penned novel, Logistics Outsourcing Secrets, in which I present outsourcing challenges and solutions in the form of a storyline. To find out more and purchase a copy, just stop by at the Logistics Outsourcing Secrets product page here on the Supply Chain Secrets Books website.