How to conduct a highly effective pallet RFP


    Procuring pallets appears pretty straightforward; however, there are nuances that must be considered to do it successfully. Use our guide to make sure your pallet request for proposal (RFP) gets the right results.


    Create the timeline

    More often than not, companies are rushed to complete the RFP process. When the schedule is designed to meet an arbitrary deadline, rather than the end goal, it can sabotage the entire process. Depending on whether this is your first RFP or a repeat RFP also impacts the time required. While it might seem tough at the outset, make time to build a realistic timeline and work toward your end goal, rather than going through the motions to meet a deadline.

    In short, stay focused on your goal, plan early, and allow enough time for your RFP to get the right results. We even have a sample timeline you can use.

    Quick tips:

    • Outline your expectations first; don’t work backwards from an arbitrary date
    • Keep your team focused on the problem(s) you are trying to solve with a new pallet supplier
    • Allow extra time if your company has large volumes and complex requirements


    Get The Timeline Template


    Communicate internally

    The RFP process may not achieve the desired results without the engagement, understanding, and alignment of internal stakeholders. Communicate with all important parties to ensure everyone is working toward the same end game.

    Quick tips:

    • Engage and include stakeholders. Go beyond procurement and include end users of pallets, finance and ops.
    • Understand what’s important. Determine what’s driving the need for your pallet RFP.
    • Align and set goals. Get on the same page so you can formulate specific requirements.


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    Qualify participants


    Instead of opening your RFP to just anyone, build in a qualifying round. This helps ensure bidders are limited to those who have the abilities to meet your requirements, and if selected, can successfully implement the program you need.

    Quick tips:

    • Don’t waste your (or your potential suppliers’) time. Narrow your RFP to viable bidders.
    • Send a short questionnaire for all interested companies to complete. (Don’t worry, we’ve got these questions for you here.)


    Get The Questionnaire


    Provide a detailed scope of work


    Clear, concise, specific RFPs save everyone time. Avoid confusion, delays, and keep your team on track during the process. Define expectations early and ensure potential suppliers can respond appropriately.

    Quick tips:

    • Provide all potential vendors with the same information
    • Include: minimum qualifications to participate, defined scope, timeline, mechanism for Q&A during the process, availability of site visits, supplier plant visits, definitions of pallet spec, expected deliverables, what you need from your supplier, what you will provide, and what is negotiable.


     Here's How


    Host on-site visits

    If your company is putting out an RFP for pallet purchasing or retrieval, invite bidders to conduct site visits and see what you actually need. Our tips for on-site visits will help generate more accurate bids and a more efficient RFP process overall.

    Quick tips:

    • Use on-site visits to avoid bids for the wrong spec or incorrect pallet mix
    • Treat the on-site like an open house and invite all bidders at once
    • Do not complete special prep – show your operations and facilities as is to get the best results


    Host On-sites Like A Pro


    Complete supplier plant visits


    It’s critical to do site visits with finalists before selecting the winning bid. From the facility, to pallet storage, equipment, safety protocols, and more, here's what to look for at supplier plants.

    Quick tips:

    • Remember, what you see is what you get. Ask questions and take notes.
    • Complete the site visit checklist.


    Get The Checklist


    Evaluate supplier performance


    Once the final award is made to a supplier, use the trial period to evaluate their performance and ensure expectations are met.

    Including this phase in your RFP gives you the opportunity to “test drive” your new supplier and serves as an escape hatch if the winning bidder cannot meet expectations. Keep in mind this clause must be included in your original RFP and clearly communicated to all bidders at the start of the process. (Revisit part one of our guide for timeline information.)

    Quick tips:

    • Make sure the trial period is reiterated at the time of the award with the above timeline and KPIs clearly identified.
    • Unmet KPI milestones should be listed as grounds for renegotiation or discontinuation of the contract. If this sounds harsh, it’s not. It’s smart business.
    • Suppliers that are qualified to handle the requirements stated in your RFP should have no trouble agreeing to this trial period.


    Here's How



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