Requests for Proposals

Competitions for Procurement

Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and other forms of product or service acquisition represent a complicated language that must be improved to get new and better results.

Traditional solicitation for the procurement of products and services is an alphabet soup. Whether it’s an RFP, RFQ, RFI, or tender notice, everyone agrees that the process is often opaque and usually attracts the same audiences. For those trying to secure a grant, contract, or award, they typically need professional assistance just to speak the same language. In fact, the field of “grant writing” is consistently recognized as one of the fastest growing professions. This makes sense when we consider that the World Bank estimates that $9-10 trillion (USD) is spent each year by public agencies to procure goods and services (representing ~12% of global GDP). It’s a very big marketplace, and unfortunately the same problems have plagued private foundations and corporations using similar tactics. Yet, when surveyed, most grant makers and contracting entities recognize this problem (Deloitte’s Chief Procurement Officer Survey). For those willing to adopt new approaches, the advantages are many, including the ability to meet new mandates (that expect agencies to attract outsiders and non-traditional solutions), the ability to ensure a value-added experience to any person or agency (to align with best practices and to strengthen the brand of an agency), and the ability to accelerate the rate at which these processes can be managed (overcoming age-old criticisms). These are just some of the reasons why we’re witnessing an evolution in how public and private procurement is adapting to meet new expectations and to realize better results.  

At the same time, we must understand the inherent risks for those willing to break the mold. Rarely are innovators recognized for improving a process, which may not be considering broken by senior managers. Yet, the data shows that procurement is one of the leading activities “most vulnerable to corruption” globally (OECD Report), and recent developments clearly show that the price for getting this process wrong is steep and severe. At the same time, new legal authorities provide cover for agencies to adopt more open, transparent, and fair procurement practices (e.g., America COMPETES Act or new interpretations of Europe’s Competition Laws). Today, the path towards adopting stronger and more effective procurement requires new tools and tactics, that embrace wider participation, require more rigorous assessment, protect decision-makers from undue criticism, and yield more diverse and effective solutions.

At Carrot, we have worked with many sponsors and partners to ensure that new methods to acquire products or services match (or do not conflict with) complex procurement laws. This remains a critical factor when working with any client, particular those who are governed by conventional regulations. We’ve worked with such agencies as the European Commission, NASA, the US Department of Homeland Security, the governments of the United Arab Emirates, Sweden, Canada, UK, and many who are bound by sophisticated administrative precedent. Our track record managing those hurdles has inspired our private clients to reimagine the possibilities too. In our experience, while these issues are real and require a strict interpretation, none get in the way of opening your process – it just takes time to reset and align stakeholders’ needs. In the long run, we’ve found that no matter the size of the client (local, regional, national, or international), the movement towards new forms of procurement is more than just a trend. It’s inevitable, and we look forward to helping you navigate the many options available to you.

Book a Demo today, to learn more about Requests for Proposals.

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