How to Select the Right Sign Services Vendor for Your Business
September 19, 2019
The sign services vendor selection processes can be challenging and downright complicated if you don’t approach the task with a game plan. This guide will walk you through the sign services vendor selection process with a 5 step game plan. These 5 steps will cover;
- Analyzing your business requirements
- The sign services vendor search
- Request for proposal (RFP)
- Proposal evaluation strategies
- Vendor Selection Post-Mortem Review
Analyzing Your Business Requirements
This first step can often be overlooked when on the hunt for a new sign services vendor. In all the excitement of, many businesses forget to stop and consider what their business needs form a vendor. So, your first step should be to gather a team of people who are vested in selecting a sign services vendor. Then, in writing, define the products, resources, materials, and services you require. Then define any technology or business requirements you might have. Finally, define your vendor requirements. Once this is done, have your team review and make any final adjustments.
Potential Sign Service Requirements
Here is a shortlist of potential requirements your organization might want to consider. This is a general list and will need some editing based on your organization’s specific needs.
- Vendor response time: Can the vendor complete your requirements in a timely fashion.
- Work Capacity: If you have multiple locations across a state or the country. Does the vendor have the capability of servicing your work?
- Vendor Resources: Does the vendor have bucket trucks to service your signs?
- Reporting and Analysis: Does the vendor have reporting and analytic capabilities? Can they integrate with your systems if needed?
Check out our blog on, What to Look for in a National Sign Service Company.
Summary of Analyzing Your Business Requirements
- Assemble your evaluation team
- Define the products, materials, and sign services you need
- Define your technology and business requirements
- Layout your sign services vendor requirements
- Create a requirements document for approval
Sign Services Vendor Search
Now that your business requirements have been approved, it is time to start your sign services vendor search. Keep in mind, the larger the scope of work the larger your vendor pool should be. During your sign service vendor search, you will find vendors that do NOT meet your minimum requirements. Your team needs to decide which vendors to gather more intel on.
If you need even more information to narrow down your vendor list even more. Try writing an (RFI) Request for Information. Once you narrow your sign services vendor search down to a select few, move on to the next step. Learn more on how to write an RFI.
Summary of Sign Services Vendor Search
- Create a list of potential sign service vendors
- Narrow down your vendor list to ones you would like more info on
- Write and send an RFI
- Review your gathered information and create your shortlist of vendors
Sign Services Request for Proposal
With your shortlist of potential sign service vendors, you are now ready to write an RFP. Writing a service-based RFP can be just as challenging as the whole vendor selection process. We have created an interactive page for this exact reason.
We highly suggest checking out, RFP Development for Services and Projects. The page also contains Helpful Hints in blue!
Sign Services Proposal Evaluation and Vendor Selection
This step is one of the most tedious, mainly due to human emotion or political reasons. When reviewing your potential vendors there is a tendency to go with the vendor you know. This is human nature. But is the vendor you know, the right one for the job? Make sure you thoroughly review each vendor and methodically go through their abilities. This is not a popularity contest. If the selected vendor cannot complete the task, you are going to find yourself right back at the beginning of the selection process.
- Proposal Selection Tips
- Do a preliminary review of ALL of the vendors
- Match up your business requirements with the vendor’s capabilities
- Assign importance values to each requirement
- Calculate your value scores
- Select the Winning Vendor!
Vendor Selection Post-Mortem Review
This last section might sound a bit morbid, but all vendor selection processes should have one. A vendor selection post-mortem review has benefits for both your organization, as well as the vendors. In this last stage, you are going to review your selection process. Below is a shortlist of questions you can ask yourself and team members, to better prepare you for your next vendor selection process.
Questions to Ask Yourself in Review
- Was there a portion of your process that could have run smoother?
- Were there questions you asked that did not produce the desired answers?
- Do you need to rewrite your RFP questions?
- Was there a member of the team or department, who did not need to be involved?
- Did you achieve your goals in the allotted time?
- What are the lessons learned?
Reviewing the Vendors
To wrap up the vendor selection post-mortem review. Your last step should be a quick email to the vendors who were not selected. Why? This can be a helpful process for both you and the vendor. This email does not have to belong. But in the email, you should include the reasons the vendor was not selected. This might sound mean, but without this valuable feedback, vendors won’t grow and learn. If the vendors pricing was too high, say that. Their response time is much higher than other vendors, let them know. If you didn’t select them because they were too wordy in their RFP responses, tell them. No one is perfect, but by reviewing your own process as well as your vendors’ responses. You can get one step closer to a perfect vendor selection process for next time.
We know this can be a tiring and stressful task. We hope this article will help with a successful selection process. If you are searching for more information on sign services, check out the links below. If you have questions about our national sign services capabilities, call us at 610-558-9773 or email [email protected].
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