Vendor communication is an important part of the tendering process. While an RFQ is open and sitting with vendors, information may change and when it does, vendors should be informed.
Not only does this alleviate missed bids or receiving bids with incorrect information (and some headaches!), being transparent with vendors also improves vendor relationships which will keep your supply chain running smoothly.
Building a relationship with vendors through open communication can give you a major advantage, as you rely on your vendors for your own success. Effective communication boosts trust between parties, reduces the risk of error all while helping to align and work towards a common goal.
For organisations who have the Sourcing module, Felix offers a range of functionality to allow you to correspond with vendors in-platform. This blog post explores the ways you can use these features to promote open, fair and transparent communication with your vendors during the tendering process.
There may be occasions when you need to extend the deadline of an RFQ which will mean that vendors have more time to quote and therefore should be informed. When updating the closing date within Felix, you will be asked if you want to communicate this change to all vendors in that tender. Simply make sure the Notify Vendors check box is ticked when you follow the prompts to update the tender closing date/time and Felix will send out an automatic notification to the relevant vendors.
Felix will automatically notify vendors of tender closing date amendments when the check box is ticked
You can communicate with vendors about tender changes within Felix, ensuring that all correspondence is kept in one platform with a clear audit trail.
Refer to the top bar navigation within Felix and click Projects > Request for Quotation to access your list of RFQs. Click on the RFQ name and hover over the ellipsis icon and select View Details. You will then see the Communications tab, allowing you to correspond with vendors. There are three types of messaging options to choose from.
1. Communicate to all vendors by sending a Notice to all Tenderers
Access the Communicates Tab by selecting View Details on your chosen RFQ
For informational messages, you can send a Notice to all Tenderers about RFQ updates so that all vendors on that tender receive the same piece of information, ensuring fair communication to everyone.
2. Send an Addendum if you require a formal acknowledgement
Sending an Addendum will also send the communication to all vendors on the tender, however this option will require vendors to acknowledge receipt, which is a great feature to use to issue formal notifications about changes in scope. You can also add attachments.
An example of a vendor confirming receipt of an Addendum within Felix
For example, you may want to send an Addendum when advising a change to drawings so that vendors have the most relevant, up-to-date details when quoting back. As this information update is critical to getting an accurate quote, you will want to confirm receipt.
Sending an Addendum also provides the vendor with the opportunity to create a Request for Information if they need to ask questions for further clarification, which is great way of starting a conversation and supporting two-way communication all within Felix.3. Communicate directly with a vendor or a shortlist of vendors
Most often you would want to communicate with all vendors on a tender to share information equally however there may be occasions where you want to communicate with a single vendor, or a shortlist of vendors, privately through Felix. For example, you might want to ask a specific vendor a question about their quote, or you may have shortlisted a group of preferred vendors for a package to ask them for their best and final offer. In these instances, you would want to send a Direct Message.
An example of sending a direct message to vendors
|TIP: Why not use the Direct Messaging feature to close the feedback loop with vendors. Once a vendor has been awarded, send direct messages to the other vendors to let them know how they performed.|
Learn more about using the above three methods to communicate with vendors by visiting our Support Centre.
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We understand that vendors are busy, they more than likely have numerous tenders which they are responding to at the same time which can be overwhelming. Felix automatically sends notifications at intervals to remind vendors that their RFQ is outstanding.
You can also choose to send additional reminders from Felix, as required. For example, you might see that a vendor hasn’t looked at your RFQ and want to send them a polite nudge.
|TIP: Add a personal touch when sending reminders. Get the Contact Name from the Vendor Details so that you can address the person that you’re liaising with by name, further enhancing your relationship.|
Learn more about Felix’s automatic reminders, or how to send reminders yourself, in our Support Centre.
To ensure a smooth communication process between you and vendors, make sure there’s somebody to respond to questions by keeping the RFQ owner up-to-date. The RFQ owner is visible on the tender and will also receive any updates or notifications for that RFQ. If the original RFQ owner is going on leave, or in the instance of staff changes, you can easily change the RFQ owner in Felix to make sure any important information relating to that RFQ doesn’t go missing.
Update RFQ owner to ensure a smooth communication process between you and your vendors
Don’t forget that you can add RFQ watchers to an RFQ so that they also get notified of questions from vendors. This is particularly useful to add technical people such as engineers so that they can immediately respond to specialised questions from vendors, speeding up correspondence and allowing for timely communication.
Consider some data from Gartner’s recent research:
Procurement is undeniably one of the most crucial aspects of any business - regardless of any business factor, whether it is business type, customer base, financial model or otherwise, procurement is a significant part of what enables a business to provide value to consumers.
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