The RFP process requires a great deal of coordination among various parties, and international conference calls can play a helpful role. In fact, you can hold international conference calls at various stages of the RFP process.
Below are a few ways that procurement professionals use teleconferencing to communicate with colleagues, suppliers, bidders, and other interested people from around the world.
Using International Conference Calls During the Bid Planning Process
As with any major project, planning is one of the most important parts of the bid planning process. You will need to communicate with multiple internal contacts, and potentially external subject matter experts, during the planning phase.
If some of those contacts are located internationally, traditional conference calling becomes difficult if not impossible. Fortunately, using an international conferencing service provider is an affordable option that ensures that participants from around the globe can easily connect to the conference.
Use international conference calls during pre-bid planning to collaborate with your procurement team on key planning areas. For example, you could use international conference calls to:
- Establish goals for outsourcing goods or services
- Determining why you need to outsource and how you will benefit
- Document internal costs
- Establish baseline costs
- Determine your return on investment / break-even point
- Set milestones
- Set performance benchmarks and criteria for success
- Set criteria and expectations for vendors (for example, size, stability, credibility, experience, target market, etc.)
- Review the RFP draft before distribution
Using International Conference Calls to Educate Bidders
International conferencing is also helpful in educating bidders about the process. If any of your bidders are located outside of your country, use an international conference call service provider to ensure that international bidders can access your bidder teleconference.
In addition to providing you with the opportunity to explain the bid process, requirements, and expectations, international conference calls provide bidders with the opportunity to have their questions answered. Not only that, you could optionally record the call and grant attendees and/or absentee bidders access to the recording after the fact. Making a recording of the call available to bidders may eliminate the need to repeat yourself.
Using International Conference Calls During the Bid Evaluation Process
Finally, as the bids arrive, they will need to be weighted and evaluated. While much of this work is done according to your pre-determined bid evaluation process, you may have occasions where your team needs to compare notes or get clarification from a bidder.
Again, if any party is located internationally, a traditional conference call won’t necessarily work. By signing up with an international conference call service provider, you can collaborate with your team, vendors, and other parties during the evaluation and decision making process without encountering international dialing roadblocks.
How International Conferencing Works
International conference calls throughout the bid process ensure that all participants including those located outside of your country can communicate in teleconferences, but how do they work?
While international conferencing plans vary by provider, they work much like traditional conferencing plans in that each participant dials a phone number that connects them to a “teleconference room” which is identified by a PIN code. Once a caller dials the number, a voice prompt prompts them to enter the PIN code. From there, the caller is connected and can participate in the call.
With international conference calls, this same process takes place. However, participants from various countries are given country-specific phone numbers to call in order to connect to the conference.
For example, a bidder in Japan would dial a Japanese phone number or Japanese toll free number to connect to your teleconference. It doesn’t matter if you are located in a different country as all calls would be routed to the same “conference room” regardless of where they originate.
Various international conferencing plans are available including pay-as-you-go, no contract international conference calls. A no contract plan is ideal for procurement departments with occasional international conferencing needs. With a no contract plan, you simply pay for each international conference call you make on a per person, per minute basis. There’s no minimum usage requirement and no monthly fees. Each country has its own per minute rates, many of which are highly competitive. Do the math by looking up the costs per minute for the countries involved in your next bidder’s conference and you will likely find that making international conference calls on a pay-as-you-go basis is an affordable choice.
The RFP / bidding process requires extensive planning, bidder education, and analysis. Many people, both within your organization and outside of it, will need to communicate and collaborate. If any international participants are involved, you can overcome roadblocks by hosing international conference calls.