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How can a vendor change their RFP response after it has been submitted?

Posted in Inviting Vendors to Respond last updated on June 16, 2014

Once submitted, a vendor's response can no longer be edited. The standard workflow for an RFP/RFx managed in SupplierSelect is:

  1. Buyer publishes the RFP
  2. Vendors complete the RFP, answering questions
  3. Vendors submit their responses before the deadline
  4. Buyer evaluates the vendors' responses

Once a vendor has submitted their response, they are no longer able to edit their answers. A standard RFP or tender should adhere to this invite-respond-submit process to conform with procurement best practice and ensure vendors compete on a level playing field.

However, in some cases it's necessary for a vendor to update a submitted response. For example, they have misinterpreted a question, or they are invited to revise a price value. To allow such changes, their are two possible approaches:

Issue a second Invitation to the same vendor

A single vendor can complete multiple responses to the same RFP Project. When creating a Response for a vendor, there is a field "Label" that can be used to distinguish responses in such cases. If a vendor needs to submit changed information, but the buyer needs to track or record the changes made between submissions, this feature can be exploited. An example workflow would be:

  1. The buyer creates a vendor evaluation project, and invites Acme Suppliers to respond.
  2. Acme Suppliers complete their response to the RFP, and submit.
  3. The buyer realises that some of the supporting documentation for the RFP was incorrect, so they wish Acme Suppliers to amend their response and resubmit. However, for transparency and future reference, they wish to keep the first submission.
  4. The buyer creates a new Invitation for Acme Suppliers, setting the deadline appropriately, and adding the Label "Revised Submission"
  5. Acme Suppliers accepts the Invitation, and uses SupplierSelect's "Import Answers" functionality to import their previous set of answers. They then edit their answers in the light of information in the revised supporting documentation, and resubmit.
  6. The buyer now has two full sets of answers from Acme Suppliers, and can compare the differences. This comparison is easier if a "Benchmark Response" is set to the original response for the newly submitted response. This setting enables SupplierSelect to produce reports that show a side-by-side comparison between any modified answers.

Re-open the Response

  1. Create a Message in SupplierSelect informing the vendor that the RFP will be reopened for them
  2. Click on Respondents. and then the Response for the given vendor
  3. Click to "Revert Status to Accepted"
  4. The vendor is now able to edit their response once more, after which they should resubmit

The audit trail that logs when when vendors have edited or saved answers is not visible to buyers (buyers) by default. However, such information is logged, and can be accessed either on request from SupplierSelect, or directly by customers running their own dedicated instance of SupplierSelect.

Comparison of approaches

Re-opening the response is quicker and easier. However, it is not very easy for the buyer to see what changes have been made, and the audit trail is not so easy to interpret.

Issuing a second Invitation creates a lot of duplicate data. However, this data is easy to manage, and the audit trail is very transparent.

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