Trade Show TalesBlog

RFP Certification Program: Word on the Street — April 7th thru April 11th

April 11th, 2014 2 COMMENTS

Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

Happy Spring! Hope your first full week of April was a good one. We are as busy as ever at Classic and continue to be very thankful for all the new opportunities.

I wanted to take this week’s blog post to share what I think is one of the BEST PROGRAMS ever developed for the exhibit industry — RFP Certification. It’s proudly brought to you from the Exhibit Designers and Producer Association, an association that Classic Exhibits Inc. is a member and an association that I serve as a Board member.

EDPA RFP Certification Program

Gwen Hill from ExhibitForce and her team of dedicated committee members spent countless hours, days, and months developing a program to answer a “call to action” from the Corporate Exhibitor Community.

The EDPA RFP Certification program seeks to verify that certain items are in existence and that industry standards and best practices are met and adhered to, based on various benchmarks. Research conducted in 2012 with the assistance of Exhibit Surveys to Corporate Exhibitors proved there “was unanimous enthusiasm for the concept of an EDPA ‘Good Housekeeping Seal’ that would prescreen exhibit house vendors on the basis of business integrity and operational practices and capabilities. Such a certification would even be a consideration in RFP and RFQ processes.” In response, the EDPA RFP Certification Program has been developed!

EDPA members in good standing are eligible to apply for certification. If the criteria are satisfied, member companies are certified by IComply, a division of BPA Worldwide (all data submitted is kept CONFIDENTIAL). The certification provides written assurance that the company meets the standards and practices approved by the EDPA. To achieve certification, the member company submits formal documentation along with the application. Once a member receives the EDPA RFP Certification, renewal will be required annually to maintain their status in the EDPA RFP Certification Directory.

The EDPA RFP Certification assures others that the member company adheres to industry standards and best practices. If desired, prior to sending a RFP, corporations can access certified members through the EDPA RFP Certification Directory.

Benefits

So, what does this mean for you as Classic Distributor? As a manufacturer that DOES NOT sell direct to the Corporate Exhibitor (end users), Classic Exhibits would not qualify to be certified. But, Classic Exhibits Distributors do qualify as the direct sales entity serving the Corporate Exhibitor community. And here are some stats we’ve learned from the EDPA ACCESS meeting in December 2013 and the most recent EXHIBITOR 2014 meeting

  • Average cost for RFP response is $6,300
  • Average RFPs cost is $252,700
  • Wasted average is $42,962
  • Even RFIs cost $3,343
  • 29% of Fortune 500 clients require RFPs, and
  • 52% of procurement for Fortune 500 are part of selection process

Now, we have all been a part of the RFP process. We know that even the “least involved/complex” RFP processes still can involve providing the same information over and over throughout the year to many opportunities you are asked to bid on. The Certification Program solves that problem in large part. For members that qualify and achieve certification, that data about your company that the Corporate Exhibitor client is looking for is captured, culled, and vetted. Meaning that your Certification is your “Good Housekeeping Stamp of Approval” at the beginning of the process. Saving time for the Corporate Exhibitor as well. Providing them with the ability to KNOW that the clients bidding on their project/program already meet the core qualifications they are seeking. Therefore allowing everyone involved to fast-track the process essentially and get to the meaty stuff! Designing and bidding on the client’s desired project/program.

Another way to view this is to think about when, as a business manager or owner, you are asked by a client for terms within the accounting process. As a responsible business manager/owner, you would likely do the necessary credit check on the client’s business. And if that comes back good, then you grant them terms moving forward.

This is not too different from that. The EDPA RFP Certification assures the Corporate Exhibitor Client that a Distributor or Exhibit House is who they present themselves as, that they do in fact provide all the services they say do, and that they do in fact have locations at all the places they list on their website.

For many of you, I can imagine how powerful this could be for you and your business when going into a competitive bid situation, especially if you are coming to the table with your certification in hand when others may not have that level of pre-qualification. You would likely jump to the top of the list in the eyes of the potential client.

Having watched the program develop and seeing firsthand the level of detail, thought, and work put towards making this program what it is, I would strongly suggest that those distributors who frequently complete RFPs at least see if you qualify.

It will prove to be a significant leg up for you and your organization when being considered for new projects/programs in the future

Kudos again to Gwen Hill and her team putting this program together, one that I believe is a benefit to all of us in the Industry and certainly the clients we all proudly serve daily.

For more information, please contact Gwen Hill, EDPA VP of Education, by email at gwen.hill@exhibitforce.com or by phone at (713) 331-3325.

And…if you are not already an EDPA member, but are interested in learning more about EDPA. Call me anytime. I am happy to share with you why I think we need MORE distributors in the ranks of EDPA membership, and why I value Classic’s membership in EDPA so much.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend with your families.

Be well.

–Kevin
http://twitter.com/kevin_carty
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-carty/3/800/32a


 

 

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2 Responses to “RFP Certification Program: Word on the Street — April 7th thru April 11th”

  1. Jeff Baker says:

    Image 4 staff were privileged to be involved as part of the committee process, and we are wholeheartedly supporting this initiative.

    A long-held concern of smaller and mid-size exhibit service firms – such as Image 4 – is our comparative weakness via the RFP process, when compared to the largest of firms in the industry. Historically, we attempt to do this by aligning ourselves with robust partners, such as Classic.

    The structure of this program allows the distributor network to deliver our specific best practices in the RFP environment while highlighting our alignment with the manufacturer and the dealer network.

    The end user enjoys a streamlined, fully-vetted submission, the dealer/exhibit house enjoys a reduction in paperwork and administrative load, and perhaps the industry as a whole will improve together.

    Congratulations to Gwen for her diligent work, and to the EDPA BOD for driving this initiative to a conclusion.

  2. Jeff Baker says:

    EDIT: We attempt to overcome this challenge through alignment with….

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