In parts one and two we have discussed that the world of procurement is continually changing, and this includes the world of eProcurement when it comes to the request for information, a proposal, or a quote and why this process when used properly even with newer tools is still the most effective results delivering procurement process available.
The Request for Proposal (RFP)
A Request for Proposal (RFP) is a document used in sealed or electronic bid procurement procedures through which a purchaser advises the potential suppliers of (1) statement and scope of work, (2) specifications, (3) schedules or timelines, (4) contract type, (5) data requirements, (6) terms and conditions, (7) description of goods and/or services to be procured, and (8) instructions for preparation of technical, management, and/or cost proposals. As an example, government RFPs are publicly advertised and suppliers respond with a detailed proposal, not with only a price quotation. They provide clearly quoted specifications for negotiations after sealed proposals are opened, and the award of contract may not necessarily go to the lowest bidder.2
Breaking down each of these 8 pieces of information will help to form an understanding as to whether there is enough detail to move straight to an RFP, thus skipping the Request for Information altogether.
- Scope of Work: This refers to all of the elements that should be included in the proposal for the project and is generally specific to each customer along with the data and metrics provided to shape it. Simply, this is the definition of the needs and expectations for the work needing to be completed.
- Specifications: “An exact statement of the particular needs to be satisfied, or essential characteristics that a customer requires (in a good, material, method, process, service, system, or work) and which a vendor must deliver. Specifications are written usually in a manner that enables both parties (and/or an independent certifier) to measure the degree of conformance. They are, however, not the same as control limits (which allow fluctuations within a range), and conformance to them does not necessarily mean quality (which is a predictable degree of dependability and uniformity).”3 Generally, specifications will be broken into either performance or technical specifications that define the types of goods or services needed from the vendor community. Developing strong specifications ensures proposals containing exactly what is needed. As a result, vendors will know not to over bid or under bid.
- Schedules or Timelines: This is the time frame of the expectation of when the RFP is sent to the vendors, when questions (about the specifications or the RFP process) are due from the vendors, when the vendors can expect the questions with answers to be returned, and when the RFP is due to be completed.
- Contract Type: This defines to the vendor if the contract is a spot buy, a one year, two year, or longer contract. There may also be additional special contractual requirements added within this area.
Tune back in tomorrow when we will explore the Request for Proposal or RFP items 5-8.
If you’d like to learn more and can’t wait for the series conclusion, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services associate, they’d be thrilled to hear from you.