This is the last installment of my series on the 12 step process from my book. Last time, I discussed Step 10 & 11 – document control and integrating material.

In this episode, I’m finishing the series with step 12, production & delivery

Even for small projects, production and delivery need to be accounted for in the project plan and overall timeline, whether the proposal is to be delivered by courier or by hand.Either way, it’s important to make sure the response gets to the destination on time. Investigate courier pick-up times and guaranteed delivery schedules, or how much time it takes to hand-deliver, including making sure whoever is delivering the proposal knows how to get to the client’s office.

Also, keep in mind that even ‘guaranteed’ delivery times by couriers are subject to events outside of everybody’s control as well as human error.

In one case, a consultant missed a deadline for an RFP because the proposal was misplaced by the courier. Not only did the consultant send the proposal at the last minute, eliminating the possibility of sending another copy, they hadn’t bothered to track the progress of the delivery – so only found out about the missing parcel after the deadline expired.

In any case, build in some buffer time to accommodate delays or issues. If you hand-deliver the proposal, get a receipt of some kind to prove it was delivered on time.

Production of a large proposal can take a considerable amount of time. While some things can be prepared ahead of time, such as binder covers, divider tabs etc., the rest of the proposal can only be produced and packaged after you’ve completed a final version.

If possible, have a least one copy produced for review before you have multiple copies produced. This gives lets you review the proposal in its final format and make changes as required.

While one of the easiest solutions is outsourcing this work to a print shop, you can sometimes have more control in-house if you have the resources and the time. If you outsource this to a print shop, be sure you have a strong working relationship with the print shop, and that they recognize the critical importance of on-time delivery. Check whether the print shop is willing to stay open after hours to meet your deadlines.

Your production will be based on the RFP submission requirements, which may outline the format, sections, number of copies (including the number of originals), and how they’re labeled. Follow these instructions carefully, but in addition, make sure your documents are easy to use and it’s easy to find the sections. If you’re producing a large technical response, you could, for example, consider including a quick reference guide that includes a list of acronyms on one side and a list of sections on the other.

If you hand deliver your proposal, make sure you don’t cut it too close and that you or whoever is delivering it knows exactly where to go. Traffic delays, parking problems and even finding the delivery location could eliminate you from the competition – after all that hard work on the proposal. Few if any organizations will accommodate late arrival of a proposal, particularly if it’s clearly stated in the RFP document. That includes electronic delivery by email or uploading. I know of another case where a technical glitch prevented a company from uploading their proposal documents to the client’s procurement website. The glitch was their own fault and they lost out on the opportunity as a result of trying to do it at the last minute.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the 12 steps. Of course there is a lot more to many of the steps and we cover them in much more detail in other podcasts and in the book.

Our Book "Win More Business - Write Better Proposals". is now available at Amazon in many countries, including the USA , Canada, UK, Japan, Germany and France. You can also order it directly from the author on this website