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Why Use an RFP

Prior to the days of fully integrated business management systems, (i.e., ERP), manufacturing and distribution organizations attempted to automate their businesses with software.  In those early days, business management software was comprised of accounting management tools, production management tools, inventory management tools, or order entry management tools.  There were no integrated business management toolsets.  These software systems (called MRP and a few tears later, MRPII Systems) were incomplete.  Businesses looked for assistance from professional consulting firms to help find software that matched the business from those relatively few offerings. 

Consulting firms saw an opportunity to send junior consultants into these companies armed with standardize templates to help customers differentiate business software based on Yes/No questions in these templates.  Businesses called these questionnaires RFP (Request for Proposal) and RFQ (Request for Quote) templates. Because the software was did not fully integrate business processes, a Yes/No questionnaire was an appropriate tool to help find software that somewhat fit the business; in other words, RFPs were a quick and easy method to rule out software that did not fit the business.  Because at that time, everyone spent huge sums of money to modified the software to fit the business.

Software today is much more sophisticated that in those early days, and there are many more offerings that in the days of MRP and MRPII.  Companies understand that the effort to find a good fit between a business and the software for business management is much more complicated now than previously.  Does this mean that RFPs and RFQs have gone the way of the Dodo bird?  “They certainly don’t have the same importance today that they once had,” says Mike Roman, Business Capabilities Architect and founder of Manufacturing Practices Mike began advising manufacturing and distribution organizations in ERP selection and implementation more than 20 years ago and performed more than 60 successful ERP implementations on three continents.  Today, Manufacturing Practices continues to work with the same types of organizations to help select and implement ERP System to move them from good to great. 

For companies looking for ERP Software, many dos and don’ts exist; and successful organizations follow a standard process to find and implement business management software.  Click here to read about the dangers of “Putting the Cart before the Horse”.  RFPs and RFQs have their place in the process but instead of a tool to find software, companies properly deployed the Request template to eliminate software that does not fit the business model.  This supposes that companies have streamlined their business activities before they begin to find software to help manage the organization.  It also supposes that organization have prepared a document for software vendors to follow during the software review, for a better understanding of that process read “Leveling the Playing Field”.

RFQ and RFP templates are available from a number of resources, on the web.  However, realize the benefits they provide.  They eliminate, and do not qualify software for a specific type of company.  Consultants that work with companies to find business management software and not the end user company best use them.  If your organization is beginning an effort to find business management software (ERP), seek the advice of a consultant qualified to perform such a service.  The time and expense saved by their services are moneys well spent.

To begin a dialogue, contact us. Call us at 770-772-6894, Skype: michael.a..roman, or email: operations@manufacturingpractices.com. We look forward to earning your business.