Georgia Chattahoochee Chapter

of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals


Chapter Member

Benjamin Vanderhart

Kenco


Questions Benjamin's Answers
How long have you been a proposal manager/specialist/ writer? 2 years
How did you become involved with proposals? I graduated from Covenant College with a Bachelor's in English in 2010. After joining Kenco Logistic Services and working in a warehousing and transportation environment for a few years, I was eventually recruited by the Sales & Marketing department because I had developed a reputation for writing and creative design.
Do you work in a "corporate office" or "home office" environment? I work out of Kenco's corporate office in Chattanooga, TN.
What do you like best about working in your current environment? My job affords me the opportunity to interact with numerous departments and subject matter experts within the company, which gives me a well-rounded understanding of our business and our capabilities. I also have the privilege of working with many senior leaders within the company as I manage proposals for new business.
What do you like least? The ebb and flow. As business development professionals, we are often at the mercy of procurement departments who sometimes remain silent all year and then release multiple RFP’s 2 weeks before Christmas. As a result, the "most wonderful time of the year" also tends to be the busiest for us!
What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of your job? Managing upwards. As a project manager in business development, it is always a challenge to give directions to Directors, Senior VP's, and COO's who don’t actually report to you.
What shortcuts or helpful best practices about working with proposal teams could you share? In the past couple years, we have developed a highly customizable RFP response template that combines static information about the company as well as "plug-and-play" sections that allow us to create visually customized responses with specific details about every solution we design.
Why/when did you join APMP? I have spent the last few years attending supply chain management events to learn more about our industry, but have not made any sizeable investment in my role as a proposal manager. In order for our proposals and capture planning processes to improve, I think it's essential that we apply best practices from other industries rather than being insular to the supply chain industry.
What is your method for successfully working with your proposal teams? We have developed a flexible process to prioritize opportunities according to multiple criteria (e.g. project timeline, deal size, prospect relationship, etc.). This helps us determine on Day 1 how much time the team will invest in a particular opportunity and define the expected outputs from all departments. The prioritization process then drives the timing and complexity of the project plan and the number of internal resources who will be engaged.
Which type of proposals do you do most? Commercial, government or other? Commercial

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