5 Key Steps to a Successful OEM Tender
When it comes to choosing vehicles and setting up an OEM tender, cost reduction, driver satisfaction and a greener fleet are three main aspects on the fleet manager’s mind.
In addition to achieving driver satisfaction, however, a successful OEM tender should actually keep all the stakeholders within your organisation happy. Whether you see this as a constraint or as an advantage, it should always be included in your project scope. But how?
Let’s start with the basics...
1. Know your steering committee and involve them from the start
It is essential to win stakeholder support for your analysis and results. The more you know about the expectations of your colleagues in other disciplines, as well as the strategic objectives of your management board, better you will be able to set your KPIs and define what your RFP/RFI should contain. This will enable you to ‘sell’ your ideas to them and gain their buy-in for your recommendations and solutions. So ask yourself what HR, Finance and Procurement want too.
2. Set achievable goals based on benchmark analysis
To be able to evaluate your future success, you first need to understand the ‘as is’ situation. This includes your drivers’ preferences, the composition of your current fleet and your ongoing agreements with OEMs. Be critical of yourself, using the following questions as a guideline:
- What is the current composition of your fleet (vehicle types, i.e. commercial vehicles or compact vehicles) and is this still fit for purpose?
- What do you want to achieve (e.g. quantified cost savings, fleet consolidation by limiting the number of OEMs you work with, etc.)?
- How can you maximise your buying power? Your power of negotiation is essential in achieving your goal. Some OEMs only offer discounts for fleets of a certain minimum size. Are there ways to further consolidate your fleet (e.g. regionally or internationally)?
As in all projects, apply the ‘SMART’ criteria: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. In terms of time frame, you should ideally allow yourself at least 3 to 6 months for an OEM tender project.
Answering these questions will ensure you know where you are now, where you want to be and how long it will take you to get there. This provides the foundation for your success; as the saying goes, ‘Well begun is half done’!
3. Surround yourself with experts
After requesting and gathering data from OEMs, you then need to consolidate and modulate the information received into a suitable format for sharing internally with your stakeholders, including at board level. Based on your expectations and goals, you must define and/or refine your KPIs, propose a scope of analysis and draw up a roadmap.
No matter how good your game plan is, you will need a good team to make it work; it is difficult – if not impossible – to handle such a large-scale project on your own. Whether you choose to manage your OEM tender internally or to hire external consultants, it is important to ensure that you bring together the right people with the right skill set. And if you’re enlisting the help of experts from outside your company, don’t let smart suits and slick appearances fool you – remember that relevant in-depth knowledge and experience is what counts! Choose partners who truly understand your organisation, the fleet industry and potential problem areas.
4. Be available
When running a project that could potentially change the shape of your fleet, you need to be constantly available for the team and on top of what everyone is doing at all times. Hold weekly meetings and reviews, and do not hesitate to ask if something is not clear. Devoting the necessary time to the project and ensuring your availability will avoid potentially unpleasant surprises along the way and create a more structured approach focused on the desired results.
5. Communicate at every stage of the project
Although everyone is aware of the importance of good communication in theory, it is still all too often overlooked in practice. In addition to speaking to the project team frequently to inform them about the milestones, deadlines and, of course, any issues or delays, you should also regularly update your stakeholders and co-workers on your progress. This enables you to manage expectations and anticipate any potential problems, thus strengthening your ultimate outcome.
Communication with the OEMs is equally important. Each OEM has spent time and effort on submitting the relevant information to you so it is only good manners to give them feedback, irrespective of whether you ultimately choose to work with them or not for now. This will provide closure for them on this project, while leaving the door open for potential collaborative opportunities in the future.
While there is no secret recipe for guaranteed success during an OEM tender, the steps mentioned above will provide a strong foundation for your project by ensuring that you take the strategic interests of all stakeholders into account.