When should companies conduct RFI’s and how do you get started?

January 21st, 2011

This question keeps coming up and my answer is always the same; when you don’t know enough or want to know more about a company you are doing business with or might do business with.

E-procurement tools make it easier today to conduct requests for information or RFI’s in a hosted format than in the past, but the fact is this particular e-procurement tool is not used often enough.

RFI’s are kind of free flowing in their format, but generally the first data companies should want to capture is specific information about the company you are interested in. Any good supplier database should be able to provide the following data for you without even having to ask or develop a single question.

1. Company name
2. Company address
3. Parent company
4. Describe ownership and/or strategic partnerships of your company
5. Name and signature of the person responsible for the information contained in this RFI
6. Phone number
7. Fax number
8. E-mail address
9. Web site URL
10. Company location (corporate office; other offices)
11. Total number of employees (include breakdown per department, if possible)
12. Employee turnover rate
13. Employee satisfaction rating (if available)
14. Key employees names and employment contracts
15. Total revenue:
16. This year
17. Last year
18. Total profit/loss:
19. This year
20. Last year
21. When was your company’s initial year of operation?
22. Company Description:
23. Product categories offered:

Once you have collected this type of information the next step is to get product specific at a high level. And remember don’t turn your RFI’s into RFP’s, that’s the next step.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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