Large Companies – Can a Super Tanker make a Tight Turn?
A repeated complaint among the three large firms was too many chefs in the kitchen to tell who was really in charge of the budget. Also departments were billing too many hours to the proposal for work that was inefficient and poorly managed. Further, the proposal processes were overly complex resulting in unnecessary cost growth. All large businesses reps surveyed felt that simplifying the process would allow them to achieve better results at lower cost.
The large firms reported excessive time and cost for producing Resumes, Past Performance, and sample Plans. At the small firms, typically the same staff handles these pieces, making them less expensive to prepare.
Subcontractor and consultant management was an issue with high cost for both large and small business. Where there was not a commitment at a high level, subcontractor contributions to the proposals were usually weak. It comes as no surprise, there was friction affecting proposal cost where large business subcontractors were trying to dictate process and agenda to the small business primes. Both large and small groups experienced costly issues with consultants, mostly caused by insufficient vetting.
Both large and small businesses were found to be using a lot of unpaid overtime to prepare their proposals. The PM for the large firms almost always had the proposals under strict budget control, while small business was prone to have budget creep because of using only ROM budgeting.
Small Business Discovery – The Beneficial No Bid, A Genuine Lesson Learned
Each of the three Small firms contacted said they save time and money with what we can call the Beneficial No Bid. The “Beneficial No Bids” were described as RFP analyses in which the Small Business scrubbed down RFP and made the conscious decision that, although the contract was attractive, it had too many visible negatives. In this study, we found that some large businesses still continued writing to the RFP even when they saw warning signs in the proposal development process.