Monday, August 18, 2014

Corporate RFP Responder

I have recently approved development of an ambitious new tool to add to PricePoint's growing list of features. The working title of this project is "Corporate Proposal Responder" (CPR for short), and we are aiming to unveil it at the upcoming IAM Annual Meeting in Orlando.

The Basics
With CPR, movers who are PricePoint Premium subscribers will be able to dramatically improve their speed, efficiency, and effectiveness for participating in the pricing component of corporate RFPs. In fact, our design goal is to make conventional tedious spreadsheets entirely unnecessary for calculating the myriad of door-to-door prices which are typically required by corporate buyers.

Background / Detail
Much of the most important work experience of my career was the few years that I served as the international pricing manager at the global HQ of one of the industry's largest brands. The majority of my time was spent coordinating and constructing our company's responses to the pricing component of a seemingly never-ending stream of corporate RFPs. Over time, I became highly skilled at this, largely due to developing myself into an "Excel blackbelt" (my life changed the day I discovered the VLOOKUP function).

Even as my Excel skill grew, I estimate the typical medium-to-large RFP required 10-20 hours of my time (sometimes more), plus countless hours imposed on my agents who had to continually respond to my spreadsheet template rate requests. Over 90% of our organization's RFP-dedicated time was focused solely on the "heavy-lifting" of gathering, compiling, and calculating rates. There was very little time for valuable activities such as price benchmarking, strategic review, etc. By the time we finally pulled all the pricing together, we had to get the results out the door and move on to the next RFP.

In contrast with PricePoint CPR, our objective is to reduce the typical 10-20 hours of processing time to 1-2 hours. This is possible by leveraging our growing instant-pricing database of 400+ agents across 120+ countries into a user interface flexibly designed for corporate RFPs of all shapes and sizes. The significant admin savings can be dropped to the bottom line, or directed towards more worthwhile endeavors. Such opportunities include spending more time on strategic review and scenario comparison, which CPR will also support. CPR will include a "control panel" for each RFP, which allows key variables (profit margins, supplier selection, variable costs, etc.) to be adjusted in a central hub location, with the financial impact instantly cascading down through all output prices, and summarized into comparable analytical measures.

I am eager to share this major competitive advantage with our client partners.

UPDATE 9.25.14!!

Sneak peek at development in progress... The "Setup" section allows user to establish pricing/cost structure. Then all calculations auto-populate in "Lanes" section, based on selected locations and agents. It's already working very smoothly!!!

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