Typically, when an organization goes about acquiring a technology solution, they ask for specific items with a list of capabilities – not necessarily a list of their desired goals. It’s true. I could quickly go and grab the list of opportunities we’ve been invited to over the last twenty years and show you requirements documents.
But a laundry list of specific items may not necessarily solve your problem.
RFPs (Request for Proposal) vs. RFIs (Request for Information)
A lot has changed in the government market over the past few years. We’re now seeing more RFIs instead of RFPs. While that might be a step in the right direction, the challenge is that they are either still too vague (educational) or too specific (establishing justification for a pre-determined option).
What may be much more helpful is an RFP that asks for a respondent’s specific answers to a set of problems and desired results. That, coupled with a challenge to the vendor to review and demonstrate their approach in detail, with costs, would be more effective in getting to a viable solution to a problem.
However, this approach requires the buyer to be able to articulate the problem and the desired outcomes from the fix. That can be a challenge. It adds a layer of complexity (& a lot of research) and risk (what if the option chosen doesn’t deliver?) A request with a list of “items” is far more manageable.
Getting to the Problem
Most of our greatest successes have been when we solved a simple problem. For our line of work, success comes when we can answer these three questions:
- What do I have?
- Where is it?
- Can I get it where it needs to be on time?
In one case, instead of requesting a shop floor or warehouse solution with specific features, we were able to work with this client to understand the scope of their issue. Then, were were able to advise them as to what we thought would be the best way to overcome it.
We began with COTS (commercial off the shelf) software options. We just used those tools in a unique manner that matched their business. The result was significantly improved visibility of thousands of parts involved in a rebuild process that extended over multiple days for each end item serviced.
In other words, they were able to:
- Save thousands of labor hours annually
- Reduce WIP Inventory by $500M
- Meet obligations and schedules (which for them, meant saving lives)
The interesting fact in this story was how everything was accomplished relatively quickly and at a reasonable cost. We focused on how to apply our automation tools to best address the problem and desired results, not just fulfill a list of software.
In this case, our client didn’t just benefit from all of those savings and successes. They also won a significant award and recognition from the government.
Our mobilePLUS unique item mobile inventory solution was built to enable organizations and business to use our COTS product, but tailor it to their specific needs without customizations.
This design allows us to be able to address their particular requirements in annual asset inventories (like saving time, money, and improving accuracy), in monthly audits of unique items for compliance (understanding availability, producing reports), and more.
It all starts with – What are you trying to do & why?
A New Perspective
There’s a new perspective to consider in today’s trying times. As we’re all working remotely and shipping things all over the world, we still need to control our investments and resources. We still need to keep track and report on our assets.
Can a solution be implemented today, with no travel or other personal risks? Absolutely. Being able to answer yes to this challenge is a core component of the mobilePLUS solution.
We pray for our country and all of the citizens of the world during this time of challenges. While we all are 100% confident in our ability to overcome, I think it may help us establish new and more efficient approaches in areas like the use of technology. Just think of how much more productive we could be if we focused on desired results, not just lists of what we think we want.