Q. What is Unique about RAS Consulting’s methods?
A. RAS Consulting uses proprietary pricing analysis and quantitative and qualitative analysis in all our projects so you get both the most comprehensive objective (by the numbers) and subjective (reading between the lines and evaluating what is not obvious) analysis in our projects. We have over twenty years’ experience in the Purchasing/Procurement Analytics field, but we also have practical experience in being able to evaluate the all-important human element of outsourcing because that’s also our background—we managed the mail-rooms and the copy centers in outsourcing’s infancy so we’ve “walked the walk”.
Q. How is RAS Consulting’s approach to Business Process Outsourcing Services different from other companies?
A. RAS Consulting understands that while Outsourcing Consulting Services is about services, technology and equipment—it is still primarily a human and operational service, unlike some of our competition who views outsourcing services as a commodity, like office supplies, completely ignoring the human nuances, technical requirements and areas like litigation support services.
RAS Consulting prides itself in being a savvy technology evaluator. Richard Schreiber has a background in software development and design and uniquely understands the nuances of the many industry software solutions, plug ins and applications as well as understanding copier/multifunctional device’s many technical requirements. RAS Consulting spends the time in vendor showrooms and technical conventions witnessing equipment and software/ hardware demonstrations, not handing out business cards in industry or trade shows or luncheons.
Q. Why should I hire RAS Consulting vs. our competition?
A. Because you will ALWAYS be dealing with a principal who will be the lead project manager on your project, Richard Schreiber. We don’t turn it over to underlings or delegate your projects to junior business analysts like some of our competition. You get what you pay for—someone with over twenty years’ experience in outsourcing—Richard Schreiber, who started in Outsourcing as a line manager in 1982 and who later started an outsourcing company, later was a lead business analyst for an outsourcing provider before pioneering his Outsourcing RFP process in the late 90’s which continues on today.
RAS Consulting sets the industry standard for integrity and vendor neutrality. We have never shown favoritism over any vendor nor engaged in any compensation from a vendor for a bid award. RAS Consulting abides by the Consultant’s Code of Ethics, which prohibits this practice. RAS is also the only Outsourcing Services consultant that holds a PMP from PMI, a prestigious project management certification.
Q. Why should I consider hiring a Business Process Outsourcing Services consultant vs. writing the RFP and running an evaluation myself?
A. You’re an expert at what you do; we’re an expert at what we do, which is obtain the most favorable, cost savings and the best win/win outsourcing agreement between client and vendor. You can do it yourself, but it takes literally hundreds of hours and a level of expertise and experience that can add much additional burden on top of your time. RAS Consulting has been handling outsourcing RFPs for over 15 years and has both written them and responded to them (as an outsourcing provider analyst). You won’t likely achieve the same level of savings either, as we know what to look for in a contract that can protect our customers from unfavorable terms, conditions or pricing options.
Q. How much additional money would I save by hiring RAS Consulting to handle my RFP Process?
A. Compared to a client’s current contract, RAS Consulting typically saves at least 15% in its RFP process and also offers opportunities for increased revenue through charge back mechanisms.
Q. How can I be thoroughly comfortable with an outsourcing consultant to do my RFP project?
A. Above all check references; don’t be overly influenced by consultants who make many appearances at networking events and trade shows and offer little more than high visibility. Writing articles for trade publications is nice, but what does that mean to you and your firm? What is the caliber of the organization behind the “front man”. Ask to speak to the actual project manager who will be in charge of your project on a day to day basis. He/she better knock your socks off or your results will reflect that.
Q. Why can’t I just create my own RFP by using a document template or collecting RFPs from other sources?
A. Most outsourcing opportunities and contract vary dramatically and vendor to vendor and customer to customer. An RFP document and process may appear cookie cutter but it’s not. RAS has done over 50 RFP processes over the past 15 years and no two are alike. Cutting and pasting together bits and pieces from past RFPs may get you a document, but it doesn’t get you the key expertise needed to evaluate the ever-changing industry. Again, we know how to ferret out the invalid or unfavorable contract terms from our experience. That can save you thousands.
Q. Is my fee really going to be paid by the vendor, or is the vendor going to pass the cost on to us?
A. The vendor must reimburse the Firm at the award of contract. How they build that into their cost structure is their prerogative; at the end of the day many choose to “write off” this cost and may not even imbed it into your contract cost. Ultimately, the RFP fee is a small percentage of the total contract cost, and when amortized over 36 or 48 or even 60 months, it is minimal. You, the customer do have the option to pay the fee directly to RAS Consulting as well
Q. If I hire an outside consultant, they are going to have exposure to a lot of Firm inside information. How do I know they’ll protect the Firm’s interests?
A. RAS Consulting routinely signs a Confidentiality or Non Disclosure Act on all of our projects. Further, it is written in the Consulting Code of Ethics that we never release or attribute any information about a customer that is covered under confidentiality. To do so would jeopardize our standing and integrity as well a possibly have legal consequences.
Q. A large multi-national firm may often have in house purchasing or operations management personnel that may be in put in a position to manage an RFP process. Why should I still consider an outside consultant?
A. The bigger the project the even higher number of hours that is necessary to run an RFP process. For example, a large national outsourcing bid process from soup to nuts may require 300 to 450 total man hours; do you have that number of hours on your team to spare? Given our experience at running outsourcing RFP processes, it may take twice as long if you’re not experienced. Again, our rule of thumb is no matter what our fee is, we will ultimately save a client 3-5 times our fee when all is said and done, taking the risk out of the equation.
Q. If I’m happy with my current outsourcing services vendor, why wouldn’t I not simply renew with them?
A. Even if you are totally happy with your outsourcing provider it is beneficial to periodically go through an RFP process to benchmark costing, evaluate work-flows and technology requirements and to take advantage of other new advents that you might miss out on with a single provider. Further, contract creep is typical when you’ve been with the same provider for a number of years. An RFP process can get your incumbent to re-sharpen their pencils.
Additionally, you have the option of running a closed bid process with your incumbent provider, which RAS can benchmark against similar vendor services and costs.
Q. How are RAS Consulting’s fees structured?
A. RAS Consulting works on a not to exceed fee basis, based on our estimation of what the project will take. Unlike some of our competitors, we are not incentivized by achieving additional savings, often by deploying solutions not in the customer’s best interests.
Q. How far in advance should I look into renegotiating or bidding out my outsourcing contract?
A. At least one year if not 18 months out. A typical RFP process, once fully engaged, will take 5-6 months or longer, depending on the customer’s one vetting process and decision-making cycle. Remember, this is a critical decision for your firm; you want to allow whatever necessary time for the ultimate decision, not wait until the last minute and try to rush the process.