Helping a technology company respond to enquiries more efficiently2021, France
Businesses cannot afford to ignore enquiries or decline invitations to tender. But if they lack time and resources to prepare estimates and write proposals, what is the solution?
Being a small company they could not afford to hire new staff, but ongoing projects and new product development were suffering as key people were tasked with responding to a high volume of enquiries. They engaged Newman Eventus to find a solution which enabled them to strike the right balance between operations and responding to enquiries without increasing costs or headcount.
A challenge was that the enquiries did not arrive on a regular basis, meaning several could arrive at the same time, some with very short deadlines for responding. This made resource planning very difficult, and often the task of writing the proposal fell to whoever had the lightest workload, rather than the person who was most qualified.
Newman Eventus identified three issues to address:
- Enquiry evaluation:
Enquiries were being treated without a clear understanding of what the customer actually needed, which meant in many cases our Client was spending resources providing details and costs that weren’t required or wasting time with unserious queries.
- Understanding of products:
The more junior staff did not have a full understanding of the products, and the information to prepare a proposal was fragmented and disperesed. This meant they were dependent on senior personnel contributing to each proposal.
- Existing processes:
The process of reviewing an enquiry and preparing a response was very basic, dependent on individuals, and did not utilise the benefits of standardisation and automation. This meant each proposal required more time and effort to prepare.
Newman Eventus understood that, if new resources cannot be brought in to manage a problem, the alternative is to reduce the resources required to tackle it. This meant standardisation and automation.
Our first task was to structure our Client’s offerings into clearly-defined product lines so each enquiry could be categorised. The next step was to prepare a proposal template for each product containing the information which is common to all proposals in that category. We then looked at the technical calculations required to prepare a proposal and created standard sheets for each containing formulae which automatically generated the required information from customers’ input data. The outputs were used to populate the proposal template, which had been set up to receive them. Finally, we set up cost estimation templates which required only updated cost data to be entered for a selling price to be generated.
Drawing on our client-side vendor engagement and procurement experience, Newman Eventus also delivered training on how to ascertain what information is actually needed by the customer, and how to tailor the response accordingly.
With the system put in place by Newman Eventus the time and effort to respond to an enquiry reduced substantially and enquiries were responded to within 2-10 days, compared to 2-4 weeks which was the case previously. The involvement of senior personnel was mimimised leaving them to focus on their core activities, and fewer resources were wasted preparing detailed proposals which the customer didn’t require.
The categorisation of the Client’s offerings into product lines resulted in an improved cross-functional awareness allowing synergies to be identified and more efficient work practices.