Today’s post is by Heather Powell, Customer Services Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.
The world of procurement is continually changing, and this includes the world of e-procurement when it comes to the requirement for information, a proposal, or a quote. In this series of blogs I hope to simplify for you readers the differences between the three requests, what your expectations are when receiving the requests back, and how to make a sound business decision with what has been presented back to you.
According to businessdictionary.com a request for quote (RFI) is a request made typically during the project planning phase where a buyer cannot clearly identify product requirements, specifications, and purchase options. RFIs clearly indicate that award of a contract will not automatically follow.
An example for a use of a RFI: You now are the proud owner of a used warehouse that you want to turn into a distribution center. It has some racking but you need more racking. However, you have no idea what the best layout will be needed, what types of rack you need, how much materials are needed, or how long it will take to install the racking. The existing racking looks in ok shape but you don’t know if it is safe, placed appropriately, outdated, or even needed. You will need to rely on experts to give you this information. The best practice is to get at minimum 2, but recommended to get 3 to 6, requests for information from racking manufactures, distributor, and/or installers.
You may ask, why so many? In an area where you have no knowledge, knowledge is power. How will you know between 2 suppliers that one will not overbid the materials and under bid the labor, but the other supplier will underbid the materials and overbid the labor? How do you know that the materials are the same? Does the weight vary? Did they include the weight? It is very hard to make a sound business decision based on these two requests for information. Having a pool of bids can help you see if there are major differences between them all. Having an average will direct you to what you really need.
The application of an RFI can be used on new goods for use, re-sale, packaging design, any and all services, software, hardware, equipment of any kind, actually it is limitless as to what you can utilize a RFI for in business.
Follow me onto the next blog where I endeavor to explain a request for proposal (RFP) and how you can tie a RFI and an RFP into one collective project.
SafeSourcing can help you with your needs in creating, running, and reporting on an RFI for any item, project, or industry need. We can do this all electronically in your set timeline, and report it back to you in an easy and understandable package where you will be able to see the apples-to-apples comparison.
For more information as to how we can help you with your procurement needs or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.
We look forward to your comments.