The RFP Process Made Simple
Step one within the RFP process is to establish the businesses you want to consider as potential bidders on your distribution business. You have, essentially, options: specialist firms that provide distribution providers to book publishers, and book publishers who handle distribution for other publishers.
Every of these options has its pluses and minuses. Consider both—the broader you solid your net, the better your options, as well as your understanding of the range of services available.
Regardless of the players you consider, your RFP should be despatched to a minimal of 4 bidders, and it’s best to allow ample time (4 months, minimum) for the whole process from RFP creation to final vendor selection.
Protect Your Data
Earlier than you alternate any information, all prospective bidders needs to be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). The NDA should not only include prohibitions towards divulging confidential financial and operational info provided by either party, however ought to contain a clause clearly prohibiting the dialogue of the RFP with unauthorized parties within the publisher’s organization. Moving to a third-party distribution business model is a significant step, and until the choice is finalized and a transition plan confirmed, the small print of the trouble ought to be shared only on a necessity-to-know basis. Beyond the potential anxiousness and disruption to your online business, your negotiating leverage is diminished if your effort is tormented by info leaks.
Part One: Your Wants and Expectations
An RFP ought to have major sections. Part 1 ought to contain information about your existing operations and your expectations for your business over the three to 5 years following the transition to the third-party provider.
The latter is particularly essential—particularly if you see your organization embracing the operational opportunities presented by print-on-demand (POD) and short-run digital printing. As 스포츠토토 안전놀이터 POD pricing continues to say no to near-commodity ranges, printing technology improves and stock becomes virtual, the calls for on distribution facilities will undergo dramatic change—all of which ought to translate to reduced working prices for publishers.
Part 1 also ought to include, at minimal, quantitative particulars for your online business’ final full, fiscal yr, together with:
Number of active customers
Number of invoices and credit memos issued annually
Calendarized gross sales and returns—in both dollars and units
Transaction details, together with number of units per bill and number of lines per bill
Number of titles in active backlist
Number of new titles revealed annually
Examination copy quantity
Average number of books in storage
Specialized service requirements, including kitting, international shipments, sticker application, re-jacketing, etc.
Writer service expectations, including time-in-process requirements for major processes resembling revenue and complimentary-copy order fulfillment, returns processing, check-in and availability of incoming stock, etc.
Be Accurate and In-depth
The quality and quantity of the data you provide could 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 both historic trends and prospects for the future.
Part Two: Ask the Right Questions
Section 2 of the RFP provides the prospective distribution partners with detailed questions regarding their organizations, the companies you would like them to provide and, in fact, the
The RFP ought to, at minimal, request the following:
• Distributor background, including history, ownership, group chart, client list and financial statements.
• Operational descriptions. Request a list of critical warehouse, achievement and repair processes, and written descriptions together with workmove diagrams. The operations should 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 particulars of service-degree standards (e.g., time in process) for critical enterprise operations.
• Inventory management, together with physical stock processes, shrink-
management procedures, back-order reporting and management, and audit controls.
• Digital services. A number of major distributors have established strategic alliances with POD specialists, digital asset administration service providers and e-book distributors to supply a broader range of services. These companies offer the smaller publisher a remarkable opportunity and needs to be absolutely explored as part of the RFP process.
• Computer systems, together with a whole description of the hardware and enterprise software in place, plans for any upgrades or replacement of the business systems, EDI/ONIX capabilities, shopper data access and reporting capabilities.
• Contingency plans, including
catastrophe-recovery plans for the facility and enterprise systems, and a readiness plan in the event of a pandemic flu outbreak. A shocking number of publishers have asked their suppliers to provide their business continuity plans for managing by way of a flu epidemic.
• Customer references. While references provided by the distributor will only be from glad customers, they’re nonetheless valuable and must be thoroughly researched.
• Price structure. Distributors typically will quote companies on a transaction foundation or as a percentage of net sales. The publisher should specify the preferred pricing methodology, however for ease of comparing prospective prices with historical spending, the proportion of net sales methodology is recommended. In addition to the base prices, the distributor should be asked to provide a detailed list of costs that are not included within the base price, corresponding to excess returns prices, excess inventory, personalized reporting charges, etc.
• Transition costs. The move from your present distributor to your new provider will not be without costs. The distributor needs to be asked to provide an estimate of the transition expenses that can be billed to you—if any—together with inventory switch, data upload and any other expenses for which the distributor will count on to be reimbursed.
• Sample contract. You should have your authorized advisor overview the distributor’s pattern contract.
A Service Indicator
A carefully crafted RFP is essential to effectively evaluating the potential worth of third-party distribution. The time you invest in it will likely be time well spent.
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