Supply Chain Analysis 101

by Jim Damicis 24. June 2015 10:16

Co-authored by Jim Damicis and Tom Dworetsky.

What is Supply Chain Analysis?

In an economic development context, supply chain analysis is a tool for identifying growth opportunities related to a given industry within a region. Every industry is part of a greater supply chain—the sequence of industries involved in the production and distribution of a good or service, from raw materials to final products. That industry purchases inputs (raw materials, parts, knowledge) from certain industries, creates an output, and then sells that output on to another industry. Additional value is added to the output as it moves along the supply chain until it reaches its final buyer: the consumer.

 

Supply chain analysis can help a region understand how a regionally significant industry is connected to other industries located both inside and outside the region. By understanding the way the industry fits into its overall supply chain, the region can begin to make strategic decisions about the types of industries it should seek to attract, retain, and help expand.

Camoin Associates recently completed a supply chain analysis of the forestry and wood products industries for Eastern Maine Development Corporation (EMDC), the economic development organization serving Maine’s four Eastern counties. This case serves as a simple example of the use of supply chain analysis. The region is dealing with the closure of a number of pulp and paper mills that were once a manufacturing mainstay. Since these mills will no longer be purchasing forest products (such as wood) and related services (such as transportation and logistics), the region’s forestry industry will need to find new customers. By conducting a supply chain analysis on the forestry industry, we were able to identify the types of wood-related industries that already exist in the region, as well as those that do not have a strong presence but could potentially be a good fit and further understand needs and opportunities for business expansion and attraction for regional economic growth.

Tools and Techniques

 

Supply Chain Mapping – One of the first steps in a supply chain analysis is to understand how the study industry fits into its overall supply chain. There is a wealth of information online for practically any industry, so doing an internet search on supply chain diagrams for your study industry is a good place to start.

For certain industries, like forestry and wood products, the way the supply chain fits together is fairly obvious, and the component industries can be identified fairly comprehensively without having a lot of background knowledge. Other supply chains are far less familiar to an industry outsider and would require more research to understand the production processes involved. IBISWorld industry reports are an excellent resource and provide information on the key buying and selling industries (at the 5-digit NAICS level) for any industry of interest.

The goal of supply chain mapping is to identify the specific NAICS codes that comprise the various pieces of the supply chain. In the forestry example, we developed three clusters that form the basis of the industry’s supply chain: Natural Resources, Wood Products, and Logistics. This can then be used for further analysis around employment trends, drivers of growth, and specific companies both within and outside the region.

Example of a supply chain diagram 

Gap Analysis – The purpose of supply chain gap analysis is to determine where key supply chain industries source their inputs (within or outside the region). EMSI’s Industry Supply Chain module is a useful tool for conducting this analysis. The tool allows the analyst to input the study industries and geography of interest, and it will tabulate purchases made from other industries as well as the share of those purchases made in-region and out-of-region. Significant supplying industries with a large share of purchases being sourced from out-of-region present potential opportunities for business attraction. Industries providing supply chain inputs from within the region represent companies that will likely need support in identifying markets outside the region in the event of significant changes within the region such as a mill closure.

Sample gap analysis from EMSI

Import–Export Analysis – Another useful tool for supply chain analysis is import–export analysis. This technique involves examining trade data to track the flow of an industry’s products into and out of a region. This provides insight into the types of inputs that need to be imported and could point to the opportunities for attracting businesses within certain industries. This information is available from sources including WISER and DataMyne can also often be accessed from your state international trade office.

Market Research and Interviews – Once potential expansion industries are identified, market research should be conducted to determine whether the industries would be a good fit for the region given existing market conditions as well as the regional, national, and global demand drivers and projections. Interviews with industry representatives are also helpful in determining the requirements necessary for an industry to consider expanding in a region. IBISWorld and Hoovers are good sources for this market research. Check your local and university college libraries for other sources.

Applications

The end goal of a supply chain analysis is to identify a targeted list of companies for attraction and expansion and ultimately convince them to set up shop or expand in the region, or in some cases to identify companies that need access to new markets in order to remain in the region. The tools and techniques mentioned above are a way of narrowing down all the potential industries to just a handful that would be the best fit for the region. A database of business listings, such as ReferenceUSA, can then be used to compile a list of companies that fall within the targeted industries for ongoing marketing, attraction, and business support efforts.


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Trends in Growing Local Economies

by Guest Author 24. June 2015 09:26

Jim Damicis recently delivered a presentation to the New Hampshire Economic Development Association on approaches and resources for economic developers tasked with growing local economies.

 

Check it out below.

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Home, Sweet Home?

by Alexandra Tranmer 23. June 2015 16:38

For many students graduating from university this month with undergraduate and graduate degrees, it is time to face the real world, find a job, buy a house… or is it? Buying a house is becoming increasingly difficult for young adults, which in turn is having profound impacts on the national real estate market. Combined with other generational, societal, and economic factors, these changes have reshaped the real estate market over the last ten years, with more change expected in the next decade. But do local trends reflect what’s going on at the national level?

 

In the first article in a two part series, I’ll first briefly discuss national real estate trends and then look at real estate data from Camoin’s local neighborhood, the Albany-Schenectady-Troy MSA. In next month’s article, I’ll explore the demographics of the area and examine the relationships between population and real estate.

 

National Real Estate Trends

It has become clear that two key cohorts, the Baby Boomers (ages 51-69) and Millennials (ages 15-35), will dominate the housing market in the coming years, and have already begun to have an impact on the type of housing styles being constructed across the country.

 

Older Millennials are now entering the housing market, seeking to purchase or lease their first property. This new generation of homebuyers is faced with a variety of factors affecting their housing preferences, some of which include:  

  • Tighter lending policies following the financial crisis are making it more difficult to qualify for loans. 1  

  • Rents are also increasing as we emerge from the financial crisis, making it difficult to save money for a down payment.  

  • Student loan debt is at an all-time high and some studies suggest that this is discouraging homeownership among young adults.2,3

  • Millennials saw what happened to their parents with the mortgage and foreclosure crisis and many families are still stuck in houses worth less than the mortgage.4

  • By waiting longer to get married, having fewer kids, and focusing on building careers, many Millennials do not have a need for larger homes.  

  • Millennials prefer to live in an environment that is pedestrian friendly and amenity-rich.5

     

As a result of these trends, a single-family home is unattainable or simply undesirable for many individuals, even if they have decent full-time jobs. According to the Wall Street Journal, the median sales price of existing single-family homes increased by over 11% between 2012 and 2013. Prices in increasingly popular second-tier cities rose at an even faster rate.6

 

Another cohort having a dramatic impact, Baby Boomers, have been a large force in the economy for over fifty years. This generation is now having a substantial impact on the real estate market across the country because they are staying in the workforce longer than the typical retirement age and increasingly are able to live independently for a longer period of time. At a rate almost as rapid as Millennials, Baby Boomers are seeking alternatives to the single-family home to continue living independently.

 

Real estate giant Cushman and Wakefield reported that with the American economy on an upward swing, the demand for housing has been bolstered over 2014 and will continue to increase. While there is a demand for housing, there has been a shift in the percentage of individuals and households actually owning property. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau there was a net decline in owner-occupied housing while there was a net increase in renter occupied households between 2007 and 2013. Part of the reason behind the uptake in renter-occupied units is the tighter lending rules that were put in place following the housing market crash in 2008.

 

Regional Real Estate Trends and Statistics  

The Albany Housing Market Area (HMA), which aligns with the Albany-Schenectady-Troy Metropolitan Statistical Area, consists of Albany County, Rensselaer County, Saratoga County, Schenectady County, and Schoharie County. Nested in the HMA are the submarkets of Albany County, Mohawk River and Saratoga County. The population of the HMA is about 880,000.

 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reports that since 2010, half of the new households formed in the Albany HMA entered into the rental market, which in turn boosted construction in multifamily residential units. It is also interesting to note that the incomes of rental households increased 0.5% more than owner households from 2009-2013.

 

The overall rental vacancy rate (including all types of housing) in the Albany HMA is considered balanced at 7.1%. A vacancy rate of 10% is considered “healthy” as it allows the right level of choice for buyers without an over-supply of housing stock that can drive prices down. However, the rental market specific to apartments has a vacancy rate of 3.8%, showing high and unmet consumer demand for rental units. According to the most recent American Community Survey, of those that rent in the MSA, most pay between $800-$899/month.

 

In the Albany HMA, it is predicted that there will be demand for 2,690 rental units over the next two years, and there were already about 1,450 units under construction as of July 1, 2014. HUD notes that many apartment complexes built in the last five years are located near the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers. Adaptive reuse of former industrial buildings in the Troy and Schenectady area have also been notable apartment construction projects.

 

Of the submarkets, Saratoga County is expected to have the largest demand for rental units. The demand ranges from 1,050 units in Saratoga County and 980 units in Albany County, to 660 units in the Mohawk River submarket. Saratoga County also has the greatest demand for sales units, followed by Albany County and Mohawk River. Saratoga County growth in both the rental and owner occupied markets can be attributed to relatively low property tax rates and job growth in the local area.

 

Between June 2013 and June 2014 in Albany County, sales of new and existing homes, townhomes and condos increased 9%. However, the average home price decreased 2% in that same time period, averaging $202,900. In Saratoga County, the sales of new and existing housing units in the same period was down 11%, while the average existing home price increased 3% to $251,700. Lastly, in the Mohawk River submarket, sales of housing units were up 7%, while the average existing home price remained fairly steady, decreasing 1% from the previous year, to $147,900.

 

Next month I’ll examine the demographics of the Albany-Schenectady-Troy MSA and revisit this data to see what it means for the future of local real estate.

 

The data for the Albany-Schenectady-Troy MSA is sourced from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Comprehensive Housing Market Analysis for Albany, NY as of July 1, 2014.

 

For more national and real estate trends in your local area, check out HUD’s website for regularly updated materials at http://www.huduser.org/portal/home.html.

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Featured Indicator: Educational Attainment of the Foreign Born

by Tom Dworetsky 23. June 2015 16:10

Last month we mapped the foreign-born labor force and found out which metros have the highest share of immigrants. In continuing with the theme of immigration and economic development, we’ll now take a look at the foreign-born population in terms of educational attainment.

 

The chart below shows the share of the native and foreign-born 25-and-up population achieving each level of educational attainment. The downward sloping line representing the foreign-born population indicates that the least educated comprise the greatest share of the population while the most educated make up the lowest. About 31% of the immigrants have less than a high school education, while just 11.5% have a graduate or professional degree.

 

 

In contrast, the line representing the native population is an upside-down “U” shape. The shares of the native population on each end of the education spectrum are roughly equal: 10.6% have less than a high school education, while 10.7% hold a graduate or professional degree. The largest share (31.1%) is made up of those with some college or an associate’s degree.

 

Unsurprisingly, the share of the foreign-born population not completing high school is almost three times greater than that of the native population. What is surprising, however, is that the percent of the population with a graduate degree is higher (if only slightly) for the foreign-born than it is for natives (11.5% compared to 10.7%).

 

There is huge variation in educational attainment levels of immigrants across U.S. metros. The top ten MSAs (metropolitan statistical areas) by share of the foreign-born population with a bachelor’s degree or higher are shown in the table below. While geographically disparate, all ten are relatively small metros that are home to major universities. Immigrants residing there likely work as university faculty or may be students or recent graduates. The immigrant population of Ithaca, NY, home to Cornell University and Ithaca College, has the highest educational attainment, with 73.6% holding a bachelor’s degree or higher. This compares to 29.1% for immigrants nationwide.

 

 

The MSAs in which immigrants have lower levels of educational attainment are shown in the next table. Some of these metros rely heavily on unskilled immigrant labor for agricultural production. Yakima County, WA, for example, is a top producer of apples and hops. Others have manufacturing industries that employ unskilled immigrants willing to perform menial tasks for low wages. Dalton, GA, for example, is known as the “carpet capital of the world”—Hispanic immigrants form the backbone of the carpet industry there.

 

 

Why Is This Important?

 

It’s no surprise that where immigrants choose to settle comes down to economic factors; they migrate to places where they can find jobs that match their skill levels. Immigrants with low education levels are drawn to areas with abundant low-skill farming and manufacturing jobs, while highly educated immigrants are attracted to highly educated cities with major universities and knowledge-based economies.

 

As the national immigration debate rages on, it’s interesting to consider how the economies of different cities will be impacted by tightened or loosened immigration restrictions. Laxer immigration laws will mean that cities with a high concentration of industries relying on low-skilled labor are likely to see reduced labor costs as abundant cheap labor floods the market. As a result, native-born Americans with a high school education or less are likely to see their wages drop.

 

At the other end of the spectrum, companies like Google are practically begging Congress to increase the cap on H1-B visas, which are non-immigrant visas that allow U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in high-skill specialty occupations. High-tech companies are often unable to adequately fill highly specialized positions drawing from the U.S. labor pool alone. Many argue that allowing more H1-B visas will only make the U.S. more competitive in the global knowledge economy, while others contend that the program leaves fewer jobs for the native-born.

 

Whether a region stands to gain or lose from immigration reform depends greatly on the industries that comprise its economic base and the skill levels of its workers. How are important are foreign-born workers to your region’s economy?

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Humans Need Not Apply

by Michael N'dolo 11. June 2015 10:46

As we have discussed in this blog before (see below), one of the greatest challenges economic developers face these days is the immense transformation of our economy that has allowed us to produce more and more goods and services with fewer and fewer workers. This is perhaps most pronounced in the field of manufacturing, where it has been occurring slowly over the past fifty years. However, rather than abating over time, the trend seems to be accelerating and spreading across virtually every sector in our economy.

Nowhere is this better illustrated than in this fascinating short video I recently came across thanks to a co-worker. As we continue to innovate and as sophisticated technology becomes cheaper and cheaper, automation will accelerate. So, the basic paradigm of "full employment" of everyone in society of working age will absolutely have to change. What does it mean? Part time work for everyone? Reduced work life? Mass unemployment? Social unrest? A utopia of "everyone-gets-all -they-need" and "People work where their passion lies"?

Enjoy! Below are two posts I previously authored on the same topic:


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21 States Honored for Economic Development Effectiveness

by Alyson Slack 9. June 2015 08:50
Area Development has issued its 2015 Gold & Silver Shovel awards recognizing excellence in state job creation and economic development efforts. Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Nevada won the five Gold Shovel honors for their respective population categories.


The awards are based on the top ten economic development projects initiated in 2014 in each state by evaluating a combination of weighted factors, including the number of new jobs to be created in relation to the state’s population, the combined dollar amount of the investments, the number of new facilities, and the diversity of industry represented. 16 other states won runner-up Silver Shovel honors, including Pennsylvania and New York, where the top projects included the $5 billion SolarCity GigaFactory in Buffalo; a Pratt & Whitney aerospace investment in Middletown; and an optical/pharmaceutical project in Rochester.

 

More here.

 

 

 

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Mapping the Foreign-Born Labor Force

by Tom Dworetsky 2. June 2015 13:42

For this month’s indicator, we’ll take a look at the composition of the labor force in terms of foreign-born population.

 

The interactive map below shows the percentage of the labor force (population 16+ that is employed or unemployed) that is foreign-born in each MSA (metropolitan statistical area). MSAs in blue have a greater share of immigrant workers than the U.S. overall, while those in orange have a lesser share. About 16% of the U.S. labor force as a whole is foreign-born. Data is from the 2013 American Community Survey 5-year estimates. Note that some MSAs are excluded due to low sample size.

Here are the top 10 MSAs by share of the labor force that is foreign-born.

The MSA with the highest percentage of foreign-born workers is Miami—a whopping 47%. Six of the top 10 MSAs are in California, and two are in Texas. The New York metro has highest number of foreign-born workers, with over 3.6 million.

 

We see from the map that places with a high share of foreign-born workers seem to be clustered in California, south Florida, Texas cities along the Mexican border, and large Northeastern cities. Chicago also has a significant share, as well as several MSAs in Washington State. The middle of country has considerably fewer immigrants in its labor force.

 

Why is this important?

 

When we think of immigrants, we generally think of uneducated, low-skilled workers in low-paying positions: service workers, agricultural workers, day-laborers, etc. However, the skill level of foreign-born workers in the U.S. has risen considerably in recent decades. Since 2008, immigrants with at least a bachelor’s degree have outnumbered those with less than a high school education.

 

Cities that are able to attract skilled foreign workers may have an advantage in the future as the nation is faced with a number of workforce challenges. As the population ages, the potential for more unfilled jobs and talent shortages may impede economic growth. Cities with sizeable working-age immigrant populations may be better positioned to mitigate the effects of retiring boomers. Moreover, immigrants, with their language skills and international ties, have the potential to stimulate new global business and trade.

 

In next month’s indicator, we will look at the foreign-born labor force in terms of skill level. We will attempt to explain why some cities tend attract high-skilled immigrants, and other cities are destinations for lower-skilled workers. Stay tuned!

 

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Like Free Webinars? Tell us what topics to cover!

by Ian Flatt 1. June 2015 13:31
Camoin Associates is developing plans for more FREE webinars, to follow up on the Bridging the Gap webinar series about changes to the workforce development system. If you would like to share your webinar preferences, please fill out this short survey to let us know the best times and the topics for these webinars. If you have any webinar-related questions or suggestions that are not covered in this survey, please contact Ian Flatt at ian@camoinassociates.com. Thank you!

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Infographic: Saratoga Race Course Economic Impact

by Dan Stevens 1. June 2015 10:44

The Saratoga Race Course provides a local, regional, and statewide economic boost each year as visitors are drawn to the historic thoroughbred racing event. The Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency asked Camoin Associates to determine the magnitude of that economic impact. The study shows the race course generates an impressive economic impact, as shown in this infographic summarizing the results.

Click here for the full-size image.

 

/Newsletter/2015_05_May/saratoga%20race%20course%20infographic_small.jpg

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How to Run a Successful RFP Process for a Strategic Economic Development Plan

by Michael N'dolo 1. June 2015 09:57

Some tips from a guy on the other side of the table.

 

Imagine you are just about to launch into a major strategic planning effort in your community to update your economic development plan from a decade or two ago. You do not have an “extra” 500 hours this year, in addition to all your other responsibilities, to pull it together. So, with some arm twisting and perhaps some lucky grantsmanship, you get the funds together to hire a consultant. Congrats! You have taken a couple of important steps already. The next step is to solicit proposals and select the best possible team to perform the work.

 

As simple as that sounds, there can be some real pitfalls. Below are straightforward ways you can increase the odds of a successful request for proposals (RFP) process, i.e. of soliciting and actually receiving multiple, high-quality responses from experienced teams. The alternatives can be ugly: no responses at all (whoops! There goes three months) or 20 bland, generic responses (have fun reading those) or a handful of disappointing proposals from underqualified groups (you could have done much better).

 

Background

In the RFP document itself, tell us exactly why you are doing this, what your community looks/feels like today, what you think are your major issues/opportunities, and what you want out of the process. Be as specific and detailed as possible, more is better.

 

Calls, emails and Q&A

Allow and encourage consultant teams to call you directly and discuss the RFP. We learn so much in just 20 minutes of talking to you and this insight allows us to tailor a response to your exact situation. This is an opportunity to discuss nuances that cannot be described in the RFP itself. For example, is there a major political hot button topic to be aware of, either to (a) avoid completely, or (b) address head-on in the proposed scope of services? [Not something you are going to describe in detail in writing for the world to see in the RFP.] How important is general public engagement versus limiting it to key stakeholders? [Everyone will say engagement is necessary, but how essential is it really to your process?] What elements of the scope are non-negotiable and which ones are flexible?

 

A call also allows the consultant to bounce ideas off you to see if they get any traction. Sometimes these ideas can make all the difference in the actual work: you may have left out an interesting variation to the planning process that could be included. Sometimes these ideas are just not appropriate for one reason or another. Either way, the consultant does not know unless he/she gets the chance to talk to you about them.

 

Some might argue that having calls is somehow showing favoritism to one group over another or not giving everyone the same set of information. My response is that each team should have the opportunity to ask the questions they feel are important. Each team is different and will likely ask different questions and may interpret responses differently. If, however, something significant is uncovered in this process, then do the right thing and notify all the teams in writing. Problem solved.

 

We recognize that sometimes this is not possible given local procurement guidelines that prohibit anything other than written communication. In such a case, seek a waiver. If not granted, then allow for at least two rounds of Q&A and be thorough in your responses to the questions. (I can’t count the number of times a question was left essentially unanswered because the response was short, did not address the entirety of the question, or simple says, “See page 16 of the RFP”.)

 

Budget

Speaking for consultants across the country, this is the #1 strategic planning RFP pet peeve. You know how much money you have, we know you know, you know we know you know. Just come out and say it in the RFP. Unlike the procurement of, say, road salt for your local DPW, this is not a commodity product that you are trying to purchase at the least possible cost. We believe that strategic planning RFPs are about getting the best possible plan for the resources you have available.

 

To be clear, this is not saying to give up trying to get a good deal. You can try to get the best deal by clearly stating that price will be a factor in selection. Just make sure to specify how important that factor is! Is it a 10% weighting or a 50% weighting in selection? Consultants will respond to your guidance accordingly, especially if you give a specific “anticipated budget range.” You will likely get proposals that run the gambit of the anticipated budget range and then you get to decide if the higher price proposal is worth the difference in scope/qualifications with respect to the lower priced proposals. 

 

Otherwise, we all get caught in the “budget dance” where you maybe give hints but do not specify, we thrust, you pary, euphemisms abound (“tell me about the level of effort you expect…”). We spend all kinds of time ferreting out this information: (a) looking at past plans your organization has funded and at what level, (b) combing through meeting minutes to see if a budget resolution included an allocation, (c) trolling through grant awards to see if your community’s name pops up, (d) reading newspaper articles for any hints, etc. Sometimes we get selected only to find out the community needs us to cut out $50,000 worth of work to get to their budget. Sometimes we find out we came in too low because we thought you did not have much money, so we ended up cutting out essential scope that could have made your process much more fruitful. Some communities end up throwing out all bids because they were all way beyond resources, mandating a restart of the entire process. Most often, however, you will just get far fewer bids and of lower quality – consultants have to put in tons of effort on proposals and do not want to waste their time. It is one of our own top criteria for our go/no-go decision on whether or not to respond to an RFP (see below for the complete list). No one wants to put in 40 hours of work on a proposal just for it to land Dead-On-Arrival.

 

Solicit Us Directly

Nothing motivates a consultant to respond to an RFP more than a phone call from the issuer saying, “Hey, we think you would be great for this job. Would you consider submitting?” Clear signals like that show us that our 40 hours of work on a proposal could pay off. Another good option is to pre-select a set of consultants to whom you will be sending the RFP and state this in the RFP. You can still keep it open-ended (i.e. we will accept proposals from any qualified group whether or not they are on this distribution list). Likewise, you can absolutely check in with us during the process to ask, “Hey, are you planning on submitting? If not, why?”

 

Secret Hint: Some communities “accidentally” forget to use blind copies when sending out the RFP itself or when sending out addenda. All the consultants make it into the “To:” or “CC:” lines of the email – effectively showing everyone what the field of competition is. It tells us that you are not sending this out to 50 companies but maybe only 5 or 10.

 

You can also consider doing a joint RFQ/RFP solicitation process (RFQ = Request for Qualifications). While it adds another step, it does not add much time to the process. Briefly, first issue a simple RFQ and broadcast it to a large audience soliciting only qualifications from each team (i.e. no custom components like scope, budget, schedule and the various narratives that accompany proposals). This can be a quick turn-around as it does not take much time for the teams to respond. Then select 5 teams to whom you will issue the RFP. Again, this means you get a set of highly qualified and highly motivated consultants who will very likely submit a customized and thorough proposal.

 

Clarity of Scope

Be as clear as possible with the anticipated scope of work. Focus more on deliverables and outcomes than on the process itself. This allows flexibility in how consultants respond with their scope of services while ensuring that you will get the product that you need. For example, you can specify a minimum number of meetings with the steering committee if that is important to you. You can specify a particular analysis (e.g. targeted industry analysis, supply chain study, etc.) or a list of stakeholders that must be consulted. Perhaps you want a project-specific website or a social media campaign? You do not need to tell the consultant how to get there, but do tell them what you want.

 

Miscellaneous

(a) Allow email submissions in lieu of paper. It is easier for everyone, costs less and shows you are game for moving things into the modern era.  

 

(b) Avoid arbitrary submission requirements – the exact type of binding on paper copies, font size, page limits, tabs, etc. But do suggest how you want the proposal to be organized – it can make it a lot easier for you during the review process.

 

(c) Make sure you include waiver language in case some technical detail comes up (i.e. “…we reserve the right to waive any informalities…”) that could otherwise be challenged. For example, if you require paper copies and a blizzard hits, you can waive the deadline requirement due to acts of god.  Or someone forgets an original signature on a form. You can “cure” these technical issues if you have a waiver clause.

 

We hope this gives you a little perspective on what we, as consultants, think about in terms of the ideal RFP process. To show this in more concrete terms, below is a “back of the envelope” test we informally use in judging whether to pursue an RFP. Think of it as a cheat sheet you can use to make sure you get good responses to your solicitations.

 

Our “should we respond?” list:

  • Is this within our core service area?

  • Do we know the budget? Can we do the “budget dance” and figure it out one way or another?

  • Do we know the client? Does the client know us?

  • Is there a significant disconnect between the budget and the anticipated scope of work?

  • Are we able to have a meaningful discussion with them prior to submission?

  • Is the scope of work clear? Do we know what they want? Are there any major ambiguities that were not answered during calls/emails?

  • Is there a clear incumbent that would be hard to dislodge?

 

Resources:

6 steps to write a better Request for Proposals (RFP)

http://www.confluentforms.com/2009/06/6-steps-to-writing-better-request-for.html

From the same author, with a bit of levity, on how these things can drive people to drink… 

http://www.confluentforms.com/2011/03/requests-for-proposals-rfp-drinking.html

One example of a good RFP here.

 

 

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About Camoin Associates

Camoin Associates is a professional service firm that utilizes its understanding of the public and private sector investment process to assist businesses and developers in capitalizing on funding, financing and tax programs established to encourage private investment. We also specialize in advising economic development organizations and municipalities in creating strategies, policies and programs that support investment and job creation.   [Click Here for More]