The key to running an international tender
Fleet is not a commodity; it is a key category as the performance of an organisation’s fleet has a significant impact on its business effectiveness. It is therefore vital to select the right supplier to support you in managing your fleet needs.
The most effective way of selecting a potential supplier is through an international Request for Information (RFI) and Request for Quotation (RFQ) process. This gives companies the opportunity to question, evaluate and compare the services that each fleet management supplier has to offer.
To find the right supplier for your fleet – you have to ask the RIGHT questions. And this is in essence, the key to running a successful international tender.
Preparation & Focus
The first step of an RFI process is to listen to the requirements of internal key stakeholders e.g. your drivers, your country organisations, your HR department, your management and define your fleet objectives accordingly. This will help to focus on the key questions for the Request for Information process. Generally speaking, the focus of your objectives will fall into the following categories;
• People – your drivers and their need for mobility
• Profit – your costs and how to better control them
• Planet – your emissions and the impact your fleet has on the environment
As part of an international fleet tender, an RFI question catalogue is issued to all potential suppliers. The number of questions in the RFI will depend on the key focus of your organisation. The RFI can be categorised as either a Comprehensive or a Condensed Fleet Question Catalogue.
Comprehensive RFI – this includes many questions on all operational services in all scope countries. It will deliver a very detailed overview of all services from all suppliers and will require a good evaluation tool to analyse and compare the responses.
With this form of RFI, the International Fleet Procurement Manager must ask themselves – Does this level of detail ultimately give me the answers I need to make a supplier selection, based on my fleet objectives?
Condensed RFI – focuses only on the areas of importance for a fleet. The questions are more strategic than operational based.
If your objective is PROFIT i.e. fleet process efficiency and cost savings, your aim will be, to ask questions such as:
• Describe your harmonized vehicle order process and the efficiencies this can bring to our fleet.
• Which KPI’s do you use to measure the performance of your fleet management services?
• Describe in detail your approach to cost saving identification programmes on an international level.
• Provide examples of your Executive Management Reporting and outline the features and benefits of your reporting tool.
If your focus is on PEOPLE i.e. driver satisfaction and employee retention, then the Condensed RFI should concentrate on questions such as:
• In what ways can you pro-actively assist in reviewing our current fleet policies?
• Do you offer industry peer car policy benchmarking?
• Please outline the effectiveness of fleet as an employee retention tool.
• Outline your current driver safety training programme.
• Do you offer direct driver contact services, online driver self-serve portals and apps?
If your focus is on PLANET i.e. fleet emissions and sustainability, then the Condensed RFI should concentrate on the following questions:
• How can you support us in measuring and reducing the emissions of our international fleet?
• Clearly define your position on Corporate Social Responsibility – How can you support our company to achieve its CSR goals.
• Outline your current telematics solution and alternative mobility options
Regardless of whether the RFI is Comprehensive or Condensed, it should include open questions to the fleet management company. Ask for new ideas or alternative solutions on how your international fleet can be managed.
• What innovative services can you offer and how can these benefit my fleet?
• What mobility services and products would best benefit my fleet?
Encourage the fleet management companies to share their ideas with you – this will give you insight into how they think and show if there is a fit between both organisations.
• What are the fleet management company’s own strategic goals and how will they benefit our company?
• What developments do you foresee in the fleet market over the next 3 – 5 years?
The key to running an international tender is knowing clearly your own fleet objectives. Only in knowing these objectives can you ask the right questions and obtain the answers you need. The responses from the fleet management companies should provide insight into the benefits they can deliver to your organisation.
If you receive strong proposals that clearly answer your requirements, then you have asked the right questions and can you take the RFQ process to the next stage.
LeasePlan International has a dedicated International Tender Response team and is happy to provide insight and guidance on how to approaching an International RFI