Once you’ve accomplished the first steps in the developing a comprehensive and accurate request for proposal (RFP), and you have your initial list of prospective partners, the next step is to contact the targeted relocation management companies (RMCs). As a first step, most companies either request a proposal from the RMCs or they issue a more formal RFI (Request for Information).
An RMC’s standard proposal will give you general information about the company and its capabilities, but it will be a rather high-level document, as the RMC would not have the information at this stage to present a more customized solution.
An RFI is a more targeted questionnaire, designed to weed out any potential providers that do not meet your baseline requirements. For example, you might need an RMC that can relocate employees to a specific, less developed country and provide destination services. With an RFI, you can eliminate providers that cannot meet this requirement early on.
Whichever document you choose to lead with, your objective is to get an idea of what the RMCs can and cannot do and decide which RMCs you’d like to hear more from.
Issuing a Request for Proposal
Most companies use a formal RFP process to evaluate and select an employee relocation partner. The RFP is a more detailed drill-down into the RMC’s background, service capabilities, service model, supplier network, pricing and terms and any other issues that are important to your company. You can ask the RMC to identify the service team that would work with your company and to share their bios.
An RFP based on your company’s specific requirements helps you to evaluate the expertise, cultural fit and flexibility of prospective partners. It helps to spotlight any weaknesses or omissions on the RMCs’ part while giving them an opportunity to illustrate their strengths and unique advantages. (TRC can provide sample RFP questions and points to consider in evaluating service partners.)
A few considerations when issuing an RFP:
1. RFP Response Time
Usually, companies invite RMCs to participate in the RFP and give them a week or so to confirm their intention to respond. You send the RFP to those who express interest (and sign a confidentiality agreement, if applicable). Normally, companies give RMCs at least two or three weeks to respond, depending on the length and complexity of the RFP.
2. How Many RFPs to Issue
You might be tempted to send out many RFPs to gather as much information as possible. This is not usually an effective use of anyone’s time. Reading and scoring 10 or 20 detailed, technical proposals is likely to be more confusing and time-consuming than enlightening. A manageable number is around five. If you have a procurement group, it will be a big help in issuing the RFP and evaluating the responses.
3. Request for Client References
Most companies also ask the RMCs for several references from their current clients. When you have narrowed the field, you can reach out to the finalists’ references and discuss their working relationship with the RMC and its performance.
Relocation Consultants and Sourcing Technology
As with just about any other business discipline, you can hire a consultant with expertise in corporate relocation services to help you through the process. While this guidance can be helpful, it will not substitute for the internal thinking and planning that are an essential part of this activity.
There are also electronic sourcing platforms that require the RMCs to respond via an online form. The system aggregates the responses to each question from each provider, which can make it easier to compare the responses. Your procurement group might use this type of technology for all of your company’s RFPs.
Best and Final Presentations by Corporate Relocation Partners
After your team analyzes and discusses the RFP responses, you will probably want to bring in two or three finalists to present their capabilities and field live questions in your offices. (In light of the coronavirus pandemic, you could also opt for virtual meetings using Zoom, Skype or other meeting technology.) You provide the finalists with an agenda of what you would like them to discuss and the amount of time available. These presentations usually include a demonstration of the companies’ relocation management technology, so be sure you are set up for that.
The RMC team will normally include the salesperson, the proposed account manager and often, other members of the service team or RMC management. Your group would include your RFP working group and others as appropriate. For example, a senior manager might want to meet the finalists, an IT manager might want to sit in for the technology demo and a finance manager might have questions about expense reimbursement, invoicing or tax.
Some companies choose to visit the RMC’s service location, to meet the prospective service team, tour the facility and observe the relocation provider’s daily operations. This is less common than it once was, because of the time and expense involved and because RMC team members often will be in more than one location.
Next Steps in Selecting a Corporate Relocation Partner
For a step-by-step guide on the next steps to take, including evaluating pricing proposals and working through contract negotiations, download the Relocation 101 eBook. This eBook also guides you through the steps required to establish a relationship with the selected relocation management company and implement new employee relocation processes.