STORES Magazine - May 2011 - (Page 102)

CONSIDER THIS / DIVISIONAL UPDATE Recommitting to Business Integrity BY RICHARD MADER Richard Mader is executive director of ARTS. The March 16 issue of Storefront Backtalk featured an interesting article. “Want Truthful RFPs? Try Having Vendors Fact-Check Competing Bids” suggested that vendors do not always provide accurate responses to RFPs. I read this article with great interest as the ARTS RFP program was referenced and longtime ARTS member Gene Cornell, president of Cornell-Mayo Associates, was quoted. vide “Honest Abe” responses. As a close-knit industry, retail has in the past “weeded out” those who have misrepresented their capabilities or failed to perform as advertised. Regretfully, however, ARTS is reconsidering this assumption and updating the Master Agreement accordingly. Now emphasized within it is our position that retailers should carefully review the RFPs’ business process and feature and function lists and modify them to their specific business model before submitting it to vendors. The article also suggests having a few vendors review the RFP responses for accuracy. ARTS can attest to the fact that vendors know their competitors’ products. I am often asked, “How does ARTS ensure a neutral position in standards?” My answer continues to be, “Get a few competitive vendors around the table with retailers to referee and you will get unbiased standards.” I wonder, however, if this would work as well in a competitive bid situation. Another suggestion is to select several key responses from the top candidates and verify them via reference calls to customers or competitors. I would recommend doing this before settling on a group of finalists, just to be sure you have made the “right” first cut. This will take some extra time, but living with or paying to correct inaccurate Retailers should carefully review the RFPs’ business responses will be worse. A possible process and feature and function lists and modify them shortcut would be to verify vendor responses by referencing the Technolto their specific business model before submitting ogy Evaluation Center (TEC), a RFP it to vendors. service provider that has published consultant-verified vendor responses to their available RFPs. Do you have a tried-and-true method for verifying the The article prompted me to go back and re-read the accuracy of RFP responses or suggestions to improve Master Agreement to re-familiarize myself with the speother topics in the ARTS RFP Master Agreement? We cific advice it provides on validating responses — or ask you to share them by using the comments function on recourse, should those responses prove to be incorrect the STORES website [] after selection. I found nothing on this issue, as the and ARTS will factor them into our update of the Master ARTS committees of retailers, vendors and consultants Agreement. who developed the RFPs presumed vendors would proThe article offered several suggestions to retailers on how to improve their RFP process to ensure that responses are accurate — and, therefore, that the product or solution they select is truly matched to their needs. The ARTS RFP program was launched in 2003 for this exact purpose: Our library contains RFPs for those applications most often purchased (POS, workforce management, business intelligence, warehouse management and, the latest, cloud computing). Every RFP has two parts: 1. The “Request for Proposal Master Agreement and Proposal Instructions” is a Word document providing guidance for scheduling and managing the RFP process, suggestions on which retailer organizational units need to be involved, formatting vendor response documents and negotiating contract terms and conditions. 2. The “Request for Proposal Response Document” presents a comprehensive list of the business processes that can be automated by the subject application (including features and functions) within each business process that the retailer should consider when implementing the application. 102 STORES / MAY 2011 WWW.STORES.ORG http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - May 2011

STORES Magazine - May 2011
Editor’s Page
President’s Page
Retail People
Supply Chain
Getting Closer to Customers
Workforce Management
Customer Satisfaction
Customer Rewards
Human Resources
2011 Software Sourcebook Guide
Website Security
Divisional Update
NRF News
Point of View
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap

STORES Magazine - May 2011