Request for Proposal Process

Strengthen your partnerships with your customers and lay the foundations of perfect value-adding processes

An effective RFP process lets industrial businesses submit individual, innovative and attractive proposals quickly. Once the offer is accepted, the process already guarantees that it can be fulfilled at competitive conditions, within the promised deadline and at the assured quality. Adherence to industry standards and compliance guidelines is ensured as well. The key to a high-quality RFP process is a structured, interdisciplinary evaluation of customer requirements.

Business potentials of optimal RFP management

Demonstrate your strengths right from the start: An effective proposal management lets industrial businesses reliably fulfill customer requirements in line with the request for proposal (RFP) and lay the foundations of long-term business partnerships.

It also lets you successfully market your portfolio and the innovative potential of your product and service development. Effective, early coordination therefore ultimately leads to additional customer references, a stronger market position and a boost to your business success.

Requirements Management In future, requirements management will play an even more crucial role for manufacturing businesses. Read on to discover how to transform this process and exploit new potentials in product creation. Read more about

What makes the RFP process important?

Your sales division wants to use the tender to close a well-prepared deal. Your account manager plans to support your key client on the way to the next milestone, and your business development unit wants to exploit a new business opportunity. To convince the customer, all three need clear communication and the right arguments. They want to be able to react more quickly and would benefit from accelerated RFP workflows.

The crucial factor in all this? Your business units need collaboration tools that let them analyze all client requirements and arrive at coordinated, informed decisions quickly.

Such a requirements analysis reviews and evaluates the following aspects:

  • Relevance to the business strategy
  • Contribution to business success
  • Resource availability
  • Technical feasibility

The process ensures that once the order is procured, the value proposition can be fulfilled as well – at the highest level of operational excellence. In this sense, the proposal is the hinge between the “before” and the “after” – for your company as well as your potential customer. If this connecting element works as it should, the operating result and the customer experience will be both be optimal from beginning to end.

What does an improved RPF process do for you?
  • it structures and prioritizes data and information
  • it regulates rapid coordination and evaluation
  • it identifies the path to the ideal solution

What the RFP process can do for you

Build trust

An offer that is optimally tailored to the RFP is an indication of your performance capability.

Guarantee quality

A structured process ensures that your value proposition and your order fulfillment are 100% congruent.

Promote market leadership

You proactively place your innovations on the market and stand out against the competition.

How does the RFP process contribute to successful product creation?

What do your customers want, and what can your business offer them? The RFP process is designed to give answers to these key questions. An analysis of customer expectations and product requirements is usually based on a detailed list of specifications. But the RFP process takes other factors into account as well, e.g. delivery deadlines, legal provisions and sustainability aspects.

In terms of product creation, this means that you must develop a requirements structure that organizes and categorizes the specifications contained in the customer’s request. All your engineering disciplines and various other business segments will be involved in this process. Together, they prepare a product proposal that reflects your company’s potential and approximates the ideal product to the best possible extent.

With respect to framework conditions and resources, each product proposal is developed based on the goals and guidelines of your product creation scheme – including, for instance, precise price calculations so as to ensure profitability.

What the RFP process does for you

A structured analysis of customer requirements reveals whether the product can be delivered within the expected timeframe and at the expected quality level. This analysis takes business-specific and entrepreneurial aspects into account, as well as legal provisions and industry standards.

How much effort and input will the product require from your development division? This is a crucial question particularly for proposals in response to “engineer to order” and “design to order” requests, because these are highly customer-specific in nature. And to adhere to your budget, you have to keep an eye on your suppliers’ cost estimates as well.

The RFP process also determines the degree to which the customer’s requirements can be fulfilled at all. For smart products, for example, order fulfillment may involve considerable software input. This sort of evaluation may be complex, but you must know from the outset whether you will be able to realize the product proposal with a sufficient degree of quality, or otherwise concede that you can’t meet certain specifications. Also, clarifying ambiguous requirements helps you develop a mutual understanding of the desired product – both internally and in relation to your customer.

Additional business units will need to be involved in aspects that transcend product creation per se – e.g. sales, marketing, finance, legal and management.

For all of them, the RFP process provides a strategic and entrepreneurial evaluation of the required resources, expected R&D costs and investment orientation. This is the juncture at which opportunities, challenges and potential risks become identifiable.

RFP intake
  • Ensure that all required documents are complete and that you have fully understood the request.
Start evaluation process
  • Evaluate customer-side requirements and targets, including e.g. technical specifications, delivery deadlines, budget requirements, legal provisions and sustainability prerequisites.
RFP analysis
  • Define and organize a requirements structure based on your customer’s specifications: Identify principal categories, define sub-categories, allocate requirements, verify and adapt structure, documentation.
  • Assemble a team of relevant experts and assign them their respective roles. The team may include members from a variety of divisions, e.g. sales, engineering, finance and legal.
  • Allocate sub-tasks based on the evaluation structure; monitor the progress of evaluation.
  • Before approving the analysis, ensure that all evaluations are complete and relevant.
Quality assurance and validation
  • Analyze the overall result of the completed evaluations. Ensure that your solution strategy, the descriptions of the proposed products or services, the implementation schedule and the pricing all correspond to the request as well as your business performance capabilities.
  • Correct any identified errors or inconsistencies.
Prepare and release your proposal
  • Prepare a proposal based on your requirements evaluation and your approved results. Your management, business development or marketing division may take the lead on this step, depending on the scenario. Ensure that the proposal contains clear and precise information on all required content and costs.

Further pages on the topic

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Blog Leveraging SAP EPD Engineering to integrate requirements management and system… SAP Enterprise Product Development (EPD) is SAP’s new solution for requirements management and requirements development across system and enterprise boundaries. In this article, SAP PLM expert Christian Markus tells us about the potentials of… Read more about
SAP Partner
About Us SAP Partner As SAP partner we, and the member companies of CENIT Group offer our clients comprehensive SAP solutions along their entire value chains. From product concept through to product maintenance, across provider and system worlds, you get it all from a… Read more about

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Transformation tasks for the RFP process

To fully exploit the opportunities of the RFP process, you need to master the structural challenges of the tasks this entails in a scalable way.

What makes the RFP process difficult?

RFP processing is a multifaceted and – in parts at least – complex process, because the expertise you need to manage it is distributed along your entire value chain, from development to manufacturing and assembly to service and maintenance.

Additionally, this interdisciplinary process is made more difficult by the growing number of complex systems (system of systems) and increasing variant diversity. If the digital maturity of your product development scheme is inadequate, you may need to fall back on costly and time-intensive manual procedures.

All this makes RFP management a prolonged process – for businesses working in the “engineer to order” or “design to order” sphere, it may take weeks or months. And miscalculations or shortcomings in RFP management can have dire consequences: You may overlook risks or lose the tender altogether.

Transforming the RFP process to boost sales
  • Investing in time and IT pays off – by perfecting the RFP process and producing better results.

Improving your RFP process

Standardize, digitalize and integrate: These are effective strategies toward enhancing the quality and improving the results of your request for proposal process. Standardized workflows ensure reliability, consistency and rationalization, and you minimize misunderstandings and eliminate errors because your units collaborate according to precisely defines rules.

User-friendly IT support offers additional efficiency benefits. Software can help optimize the RFP process, e.g. by:

  • supporting the structured evaluation of requirements
  • promoting collaboration and information exchanges across business units and company boundaries
  • displaying the status of requirements fulfillment
  • ensuring transparency, e.g. on the processing status of each team, lack of documents, etc.
  • promoting on-schedule RFP handling
  • providing monitoring tools for process evaluation and identification of weaknesses

Leveraging digitalization to increase process efficiency can be particularly effective if your teams have ready access to seamless, up-to-date data when processing requests for proposal. This can be achieved by integrating your various business applications.

What changes for you when you optimize your RFP process?

Transforming the RFP process means improving its quality. For example, all stakeholders can now work with the latest information. Identifying similar or already existing solutions gets easier. You can keep your eyes on the important things and see more easily where you have to make adjustments. This boosts your productivity but also reduces the number of coordination loops. And another benefit for your teams: RFP processing now means less stress because they can be confident of finishing the job on time.

The progress gained by transformation also improves the results of the RFP process: Shorter cycle times, better proposals, reliable risk management and mutually attractive pricing lay the foundation for greater business success.

Requirements Valuation Cockpit by CENIT The Requirements Valuation Cockpit (RVC) by CENIT provides a central platform for managing and processing customer requirements in typical quotation processes. This allows you to submit a qualified offer in a timely manner. Read more about

Win customers – by tendering the best proposal!

Attracting new customers, strengthening existing relationships and building long-term partnerships: These are the results of an efficient and professional request for proposal process. The key aspect is being able to rapidly submit the offer that (a) best fulfills the customer’s requirements and (b) can be realized securely. You greatly enhance the efficiency and quality of your proposals and save costs thanks to new, standardized approaches.

Gain competitive benefits by making your RFP management faster and more precise, producing positive collaboration, transparent communication and intensive support – the sort of customer experience that yields close, long-term partnerships.

Rely on data and analysis: A digitalized process lets you gather valuable information and combine it with RFP data evaluation, customer feedback and success quotas to optimize your tendering strategy and business decision-making.

Enduring business relationships

Attractive business proposals build trust that is confirmed by your operational excellence.

Long-term sales success

Collating and analyzing your data lets you make better business decisions and optimize your tendering strategies.

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