The RFP Process Made Simple

Step one within the RFP process is to identify the companies you wish to consider as potential bidders to your distribution business. You might have, essentially, two options: specialist corporations that provide distribution providers to book publishers, and book publishers who handle distribution for different publishers.

Every of those options has its pluses and minuses. Consider both—the broader you cast your net, the higher your options, as well as your understanding of the range of services available.

Regardless of the players you consider, your RFP must be sent to a minimal of 4 bidders, and you need to enable ample time (four months, minimum) for your entire process from RFP creation to ultimate vendor selection.

Protect Your Information
Before you alternate any information, all prospective bidders needs to be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). The NDA shouldn’t only embody prohibitions towards divulging confidential financial and operational info provided by either party, but ought to comprise a clause clearly prohibiting the discussion of the RFP with unauthorized parties within the publisher’s organization. Moving to a third-party distribution business model is a significant step, and till the choice is finalized and a transition plan confirmed, the details of the effort needs to be shared only on a necessity-to-know basis. Past the potential anxiousness and disruption to your enterprise, your negotiating leverage is diminished in case your effort is stricken by data leaks.

Part One: Your Wants and Expectations
An RFP should have main sections. Part 1 ought to include information about your present operations and your expectations for your online business over the three to 5 years following the transition to the third-party provider.

The latter is particularly necessary—particularly in case you see your organization embracing the operational opportunities introduced by print-on-demand (POD) and short-run digital printing. As POD pricing continues to decline to close-commodity ranges, printing technology improves and stock becomes virtual, the demands on distribution facilities will undergo dramatic change—all of which ought to translate to reduced operating costs for publishers.

Section 1 additionally ought to embrace, at minimum, quantitative particulars for your small business’ last full, fiscal year, together with:

Number of active customers
Number of invoices and credit memos issued yearly
Calendarized gross sales and returns—in each dollars and units
Transaction particulars, including number of units per bill and number of lines per invoice
Number of titles in active backlist
Number of new titles published yearly
Examination copy quantity
Average number of books in storage
Specialised service necessities, together with kitting, international shipments, sticker application, re-jacketing, etc.
Publisher service expectations, including time-in-process requirements for main processes equivalent to revenue and complimentary-copy order achievement, returns processing, check-in and availability of incoming inventory, etc.
Be Accurate and In-depth
The quality and quantity of the knowledge you provide may have a direct bearing on the accuracy of the bid and the quality of the working relationship between you and your distribution partner. It is a good idea to incorporate a multiyear view of the data listed above that illustrates each historic developments and prospects for the future.

Part Two: Ask the Right Questions
Part 2 of the RFP provides the prospective distribution partners with detailed questions relating to their organizations, the services you’ll like them to provide and, after all, the
related costs.

The RFP ought to, at minimum, request the following:

• Distributor background, together with history, ownership, group chart, client list and financial statements.

• Operational descriptions. Request a list of critical warehouse, success and repair processes, and written descriptions including workmove diagrams. The operations ought to embrace order intake, pick, pack and ship, customer support, invoicing, credit and collections, and processing of incoming shipments.

• Service-degree standards. Request that the distributor provide details of service-level standards (e.g., time in process) for critical business operations.

• Inventory management, including physical stock processes, shrink-
control procedures, back-order reporting and management, and audit controls.

• Digital services. A number of main distributors have established strategic alliances with POD specialists, digital asset management service providers and e-book distributors to supply a broader range of services. These providers offer the smaller publisher a remarkable opportunity and should be absolutely explored as part of the RFP process.

• Computer systems, including a whole description of the hardware and enterprise software in place, plans for any upgrades or replacement of the enterprise systems, EDI/ONIX capabilities, client data access and reporting capabilities.

• Contingency plans, including
catastrophe-recovery plans for the facility and business systems, and a readiness plan in the occasion of a pandemic flu outbreak. A stunning number of publishers have asked their suppliers to provide their enterprise continuity plans for managing through a flu epidemic.

• Customer references. While references provided by the distributor will only be from satisfied clients, they are nonetheless valuable and should be thoroughly researched.

• Price structure. Distributors typically will quote companies on a transaction basis or as a percentage of net sales. The writer ought to specify the preferred pricing methodology, but for ease of comparing prospective costs with historical spending, the percentage of net sales method is recommended. In addition to the base prices, the distributor should be asked to provide an in depth list of costs that are not included within the base payment, reminiscent of excess returns expenses, extra stock, personalized reporting charges, etc.

• Transition costs. The move out of your present distributor to your new provider will not be without costs. The distributor ought to be asked to provide an estimate of the transition expenses that can be billed to you—if any—together with stock transfer, data upload and another expenses for which the distributor will anticipate to be reimbursed.

• Sample contract. You should have your legal advisor overview the distributor’s sample contract.

A Service Indicator
A careabsolutely crafted RFP is essential to effectively evaluating the potential value of third-party distribution. The time you invest in it will be time well spent.

If you beloved this article and you would like to collect more info pertaining to rfp data intelligence please visit the web site.