What defines a Facility Management RFP and how can buying organisations make sure to select a well-qualified Facility Management provider? Here’s a five-stage process of a successful RFP in Facility Management.
Making sure to have the right collaborations and partnerships in place is the key to success of any business.
Executing an RFP (Request for Proposal) can be a good way for buying organisations to secure a high-value deal and enter a relationship with the most qualified Facility Management provider.
What is an RFP?
In its simplest form, a Request for Proposal (RFP) is a document issued by the buying organisation to request vendor bids for solutions, services, and products. An RFP informs selected Facility Management providers of the needs, wants and expectations of the buying organisation. In turn, the Facility Management vendors respond specifically to the requirements outlined and present their take on how to best solve the needs and challenges proposed. Gathering responses from a variety of FM vendors helps organisations to identify the best-qualified service provider and can often result in more favorable contract terms for both parties.
The five stages of a Request for Proposal process
A Request for Proposal process can be broken down into five key stages.
Stage 1: Specify needs, conditions, and requirements
A key factor in getting the best deal is for the buying organization to define its needs and the conditions under which those needs are to be satisfied. The clearer the buying organisation can be around needs and requirements, the better chance Facility Management providers are given to propose a personalized value proposition.
Internally, the buying organisation must agree on the evaluation criteria and the methods that will be used to compare, contrast, evaluate and rate the incoming proposals. This process can be challenging as different stakeholders may have different views and requirements. Be persistent and listen to your colleagues. Gathering inputs from varied internal areas are vital to the ultimate success of the RFP.
Besides securing internal alignment around wants and needs, the Facility Management vendors should be required to answer specific questions about their company and provide evidence to validate their claims.
Finally, the RFP needs to communicate information related to the bidding process itself, i.e. how bid proposals should be delivered and when they are due.
Stage 2: Publish bid and solicit contractors
The buying organization should advertise the RFP in targeted media and make direct contact with preferred FM providers.
Where the RFP indicates that one or more “contractor information meetings” are to be held prior to submission deadlines, it is a good idea to allow sufficient lead time for providers to become familiar with the RFP.
Stage 3: Review and evaluate
When reaching stage 3 in the RFP process, the FM providers have had their opportunity to propose and explain how they would meet the organization’s needs, under what conditions and at what cost.
Now it is the time for the buying organization to evaluate to which extend the providers meet their criteria and resonate with their organizational values.
Cost alone is rarely the sole criterion for the selection of an FM provider. Evaluations should be based on an agreed set of criteria, which are ranked and possibly weighted as to their importance to the overall performance of the services and the contract.
Evaluations should be made by persons who are familiar with the content and the intent of the RFP and who have a strong interest in assuring the success of the Facility Management partnership.
Stage 4: Select provider
When the evaluation process is down to the final stages, each of the two or three final contending providers should be asked to make a presentation of their proposal. At that time, final negotiations about prices and terms within the contract are typically conducted, and a contract is drawn up with the assistance of an attorney competent in business contracts. The final selection of a contractor is then made and the contract awarded.
Stage 5: Evaluate the process
Process evaluation is significant as it will be used to help the buying organisation to create standards that support an RFP and to evaluate how effectively that process functions.
Because changes in circumstances may require adjustments in requirements along the way to meet goals and objectives, a team may review or evaluate the process for its successes or failures during the term of the contract.
This will clarify whether funds allocated for the RFP were spent for the intended purpose and how the process can be optimized for the future Requests for Proposals.