The Message Center is the home for communication on the RFx: a place where questions can be submitted by suppliers, and answers and other messages can be shared by the Sourcing team.
Each RFx you run in Scout has its own Message Center. Here, we break down:
- What is the Message Center?
- Sending Messages to Suppliers
- Assigning and Answering Questions for Suppliers
- Supplier Question Deadline
- Message Center Notifications (email and Scout)
What is the Message Center?
The Message Center is the line of communication between the Sourcing Manager(s) and the suppliers on any given RFx. The Sourcing Manager can send messages to suppliers, and suppliers can send questions to the Sourcing Manager.
The Message Center essentially eliminates the need for communicating with suppliers via email because you can:
- Answer a supplier's question directly OR share the answer with all suppliers
- Send messages to all suppliers
- Upload attachments to your answers and/or messages to suppliers
Additionally, you can set the Supplier Question Deadline when you are building the RFx, which prevents suppliers from submitting new questions to you after the specified date and time.
Where is the Message Center?
Open the Message Center for any RFx from your RFx's Dashboard:
Sending Messages to Suppliers
Do you want to notify your suppliers of updated deadlines or requirements? You can quickly and efficiently send a message to all suppliers from the Message Center.
To do this, open the Message Center and click the Send a New Message to Suppliers button at the bottom of your screen:
This will expand a section where you'll be able to draft a message, attach any necessary documents, and send the message out to your suppliers - all in a few simple clicks!
Answering Questions for Suppliers
When a supplier submits a question to you via the Message Center, you can:
- Answer the question yourself, or
- Assign the question to a Stakeholder to answer.
Once you or your teammate has answered the question, you can:
- Send the answer directly to the Supplier who asked it, or
- Share the question and answer with ALL Suppliers.
Don't worry, shared Q&As are completely anonymous - other Suppliers won't be able to see who asked the question (or see who specifically on your team answered it).
To further clarify, if a supplier submits a question that you believe is relative to all of the Suppliers you are able to type a response and click the Send to All Suppliers button. By doing this, you are sharing this question with ALL of the Suppliers. As long as there is no context within the original question giving away the identity of the original Supplier that asked the question - Suppliers will see the question but will not know who asked it.
If someone has asked a great question that you want to send to all Suppliers but they included there name in the text, you can simply click into the text box and remove their name. As the Sourcing Manager, you have full capability to edit the question before you type your reply and send it out through Scout.
Choosing to share a question that one Supplier asked to all of the Suppliers is a great way to share helpful information with all Suppliers on an RFx quickly and easily!
Supplier Question Deadline
You can choose to set a Supplier Question Deadline when you build an RFx. If a Supplier Question Deadline is set, suppliers will not be able to submit questions after that deadline:
Note: We understand that there are instances where Sourcing Managers prefer to keep the Message Center open after an Event is closed. If you would like to open up the Message Center to receive questions from your Suppliers after an Event is closed, you may reach out to Scout's Support Team to extend or remove the Supplier Question Deadline from your closed Event.
Message Center Notifications
The Sourcing Manager (and any Read/Write stakeholders) receive Message Center Notifications via both email and Scout to ensure that they are aware of Message Center activity.
Sourcing Managers will receive email notifications about activity in the Message Center (e.g. supplier sends a question, stakeholder answers a question, etc.). Email notifications are sent out in twice-daily intervals to keep the number of emails sent to your suppliers and stakeholders at an effective level.