The RFP Process Made Simple

The first step within the RFP process is to determine the companies you wish to consider as potential bidders in your distribution business. You have got, essentially, two options: specialist corporations that provide distribution companies to book publishers, and book publishers who deal with distribution for different publishers.

Each of those options has its pluses and minuses. Consider each—the broader you solid your net, the higher your options, as well as your understanding of the range of companies available.

Regardless of the players you consider, your RFP must be despatched to a minimum of four bidders, and it is best to enable ample time (4 months, minimal) for the complete process from RFP creation to remaining vendor selection.

Protect Your Data

Earlier than you alternate any data, all prospective bidders should be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). The NDA should not only embrace prohibitions against divulging confidential financial and operational info provided by either party, but should comprise a clause clearly prohibiting the discussion of the RFP with unauthorized parties within the publisher’s organization. Moving to a third-party distribution enterprise model is a significant step, and till the choice is finalized and a transition plan confirmed, the small print of the hassle ought to be shared only on a necessity-to-know basis. Past the potential anxiousness and disruption to what you are promoting, your negotiating leverage is diminished in case your effort is suffering from info leaks.

Part One: Your Needs and Expectations사설토토

An RFP ought to have major sections. Section 1 ought to comprise information about your present operations and your expectations for your corporation over the three to 5 years following the transition to the third-party provider.

The latter is particularly vital—particularly in case you see your group embracing the operational opportunities introduced by print-on-demand (POD) and quick-run digital printing. As POD pricing continues to decline to close-commodity ranges, printing technology improves and inventory turns into virtual, the calls for on distribution facilities will undergo dramatic change—all of which ought to translate to reduced working prices for publishers.

Section 1 additionally ought to include, at minimum, quantitative details for your business’ final full, fiscal yr, including:

Number of active customers

Number of invoices and credit memos issued annually

Calendarized gross sales and returns—in each dollars and units

Transaction particulars, including number of units per invoice and number of lines per invoice

Number of titles in active backlist

Number of new titles published annually

Examination copy quantity

Average number of books in storage

Specialised service requirements, together with kitting, worldwide shipments, sticker application, re-jacketing, etc.

Publisher service expectations, including time-in-process requirements for major processes resembling income and complimentary-copy order fulfillment, returns processing, check-in and availability of incoming inventory, etc.

Be Accurate and In-depth

The quality and quantity of the information 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 include a multiyear view of the knowledge listed above that illustrates both historic traits 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 services you would like them to provide and, after all, the

associated costs.

The RFP should, at minimum, request the following:

• Distributor background, including history, ownership, group chart, consumer list and financial statements.

• Operational descriptions. Request a list of critical warehouse, fulfillment and repair processes, and written descriptions including workmove diagrams. The operations should embody order intake, pick, pack and ship, customer service, invoicing, credit and collections, and processing of incoming shipments.

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

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

management procedures, back-order reporting and administration, and audit controls.

• Digital services. A number of main 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 services offer the smaller writer a remarkable opportunity and ought to be totally explored as part of the RFP process.

• Computer systems, together with an entire description of the hardware and business 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 enterprise systems, and a readiness plan in the occasion of a pandemic flu outbreak. A surprising number of publishers have asked their suppliers to provide their enterprise continuity plans for managing by way of a flu epidemic.

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

• Fee structure. Distributors typically will quote services on a transaction basis or as a share of net sales. The publisher ought to specify the wantred pricing method, but for ease of comparing prospective costs with historical spending, the share of net sales methodology is recommended. In addition to the bottom costs, the distributor must be asked to provide a detailed list of prices that aren’t included in the base charge, corresponding to excess returns prices, extra stock, customized reporting fees, etc.

• Transition costs. The move from your current distributor to your new provider will not be without costs. The distributor ought to be asked to provide an estimate of the transition bills that will probably 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 authorized advisor evaluation the distributor’s pattern contract.

A Service Indicator

A caretotally crafted RFP is essential to effectively evaluating the potential worth of third-party distribution. The time you put money into it will probably be time well spent.

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