The RFP Process Made Simple

The first step within the RFP process is to identify the businesses you want to consider as potential bidders in your distribution business. You’ve, essentially, options: specialist corporations that provide distribution companies to book publishers, and book publishers who deal with distribution for other publishers.

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

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

Protect Your Info

Earlier than you change any data, all prospective bidders should be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). The NDA should not only embody prohibitions against divulging confidential financial and operational information provided by either party, but ought to comprise a clause clearly prohibiting the dialogue of the RFP with unauthorized parties within the writer’s organization. Moving to a third-party distribution business model is a significant step, and till the decision is finalized and a transition plan confirmed, the main points of the effort ought to be shared only on a need-to-know basis. Beyond the potential nervousness and disruption to your small business, your negotiating leverage is diminished if your effort is tormented by information leaks.

Part One: Your Wants and Expectations

An RFP should have two main sections. Section 1 ought to contain details about your existing operations and your expectations for your small business over the three to 5 years following the transition to the third-party provider.

The latter is particularly necessary—especially should you see your organization embracing the operational opportunities presented by print-on-demand (POD) and short-run digital printing. As POD pricing continues to say no to near-commodity levels, printing technology improves 토토 and inventory 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 embody, at minimal, quantitative details for your online business’ final full, fiscal year, together with:

Number of active customers

Number of invoices and credit memos issued annually

Calendarized gross sales and returns—in each dollars and units

Transaction particulars, together with number of units per bill and number of lines per bill

Number of titles in active backlist

Number of new titles printed annually

Examination copy quantity

Common number of books in storage

Specialized service requirements, including kitting, worldwide shipments, sticker application, re-jacketing, etc.

Writer service expectations, including time-in-process requirements for major processes equivalent to income and complimentary-copy order achievement, returns processing, check-in and availability of incoming stock, 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 suggestion to incorporate a multiyear view of the knowledge listed above that illustrates each historic tendencies and prospects for the future.

Part Two: Ask the Right Questions

Part 2 of the RFP provides the prospective distribution partners with detailed questions regarding their organizations, the providers you’d like them to provide and, after all, the

associated costs.

The RFP ought to, at minimal, request the next:

• Distributor background, together with history, ownership, group chart, consumer list and monetary statements.

• Operational descriptions. Request a list of critical warehouse, achievement and repair processes, and written descriptions together with workcirculation diagrams. The operations ought to embody order intake, pick, pack and ship, customer service, invoicing, credit and collections, and processing of incoming shipments.

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

• Inventory administration, together with physical stock processes, shrink-

control 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 management service providers and e-book distributors to offer a broader range of services. These providers offer the smaller publisher a remarkable opportunity and should be fully 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, consumer data access and reporting capabilities.

• Contingency plans, including

catastrophe-recovery plans for the facility and enterprise systems, and a readiness plan in the occasion of a pandemic flu outbreak. A shocking number of publishers have asked their suppliers to provide their enterprise continuity plans for managing by means of a flu epidemic.

• Customer references. While references provided by the distributor will only be from happy prospects, they’re nonetheless valuable and should be totally researched.

• Fee structure. Distributors typically will quote companies on a transaction basis or as a share of net sales. The writer ought to specify the choosered pricing method, but for ease of evaluating prospective prices with historical spending, the share of net sales method is recommended. In addition to the bottom prices, the distributor should be asked to provide an in depth list of prices that are not included within the base payment, comparable to excess returns costs, excess stock, personalized reporting fees, etc.

• Transition costs. The move out of your present distributor to your new provider won’t be without costs. The distributor must be asked to provide an estimate of the transition expenses that will be billed to you—if any—including stock transfer, data upload and another bills for which the distributor will count on to be reimbursed.

• Pattern contract. You need to have your legal advisor review the distributor’s pattern contract.

A Service Indicator

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

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