Request For Information

From CEOpedia | Management online

Request For Information (RFI) - is document that facilitate the diagnosis of the current state of the market offers for services in particular field. RFI is sent to suppliers to request for exact information or clarification on a product or a service. Directing RFI to potential service provider allows managers to obtain within a short period of time, the relevant information about the various market offerings. RFI is one of the tools used in the initial stage of searching for partners for cooperation. On the basis of the established service providers list containing information of the offer available on the market, managers can make adjustments of processes that should be entrusted to the service provider. In a word - RFI is a short, precise document in which reliable fulfillment does not require a decision about a large amount of time, does not generate costs and does not require coming up with strategic or creative concepts.

So what is this mysterious RFI? The RFI stage is a verification of a wide list of partners who, after the initial selection, may match the client's needs and expectations as well as the requirements contained in the tender brief. A long-list of agencies is invited to this stage, which are requested to fill in the RFI document precisely. All submitted answers are analyzed on a special evaluation sheet in terms of both experience, substantive answer to key questions, the organization of the company itself, and the quality of document responses. Finally, we select a short-list of three, up to four entities, who receive the tender brief and thus qualify for further stages of the so-called RFQ.


The RFI is usually sent earlier than the RFP. In some ways, both documents have similar characteristics. Nevertheless, the business organizations use the RFI document to require basic information from vendors. After that, the information are very useful in making decision of selecting the potential partners who will receive the RFP. Both the RFI and RFP are typically used in the first steps of vendor selection (Instructions for Preparing an RFP/RFI Using This Template, 2019).

You should also know:

  • RFP (Request for Proposal): An RFP can be based on a RFI. It requests the information which solve sourcing issues.
  • RFQ (Request for Quotation): An RFQ allows suppliers being competitive with the cost of the solution.
  • RFT (Request for Tender): An RFT offers services or goods in return for a specific tender.

An effective request

For the business organizations that do not have a formalized template of RIF, here are some rules how to write an effective request (Procore Technologies 2019), (Instructions for Preparing an RFP/RFI Using This Template, 2019):

  • Use simple and clean formatting
  • Use a professional tone
  • Follow a convention of formatting and naming
  • Ask the specific request about specific needs
  • Provide the context and your company overview
  • Suggest a solution
  • Attach documents, when necessary
  • Provide a specific time to respond

RFIs purpose

The purpose of Request for information is for getting information, preparing for an RFP or RFQ, making a strategy, or forming a database. Later, these information are useful in supplier negotiations about:

  • Finances attitudes
  • Supplier facilities
  • The supply market dynamics and state
  • Alternative strategies of pricing
  • Supplier strategic product plans

You may find lower cost alternatives, opportunities to reduce costs or strategic options by analysis of RFI responses.

Examples of Request For Information

  • Request for information on available accounting services
  • Request for information on available IT services
  • Request for information on available telecommunication services
  • Request for information on available vehicle maintenance services
  • Request for information on available legal services
  • Request for information on available consulting services
  • Request for information on available marketing services
  • Request for information on available recruitment services
  • Request for information on available medical services
  • Request for information on available security services
  • Request for information on available staffing services
  • Request for information on available transportation services

Advantages of Request For Information

  • Request For Information (RFI) is a useful tool for managers to obtain relevant information about the various market offerings in a short period of time.
  • RFI helps to create a list of potential service providers that can provide the required services.
  • RFI helps to ensure that the organization obtains the most appropriate services at the best cost.
  • RFI allows managers to compare services and pricing of different service providers.
  • RFI helps managers to make informed decisions about which providers to partner with.
  • RFI can provide the organization with insights into the service provider’s capabilities and competencies.
  • RFI eliminates the need for extensive research and allows for quick decision making.

Limitations of Request For Information

One of the limitations of the Request for Information (RFI) tool is its potential for generating an overwhelming amount of responses. Without an effective filtration process in place, it can be difficult to manage the large number of responses received.

  • Additionally, the RFI process is limited in scope and does not provide the same level of detail as a Request for Proposal (RFP). As such, it can be difficult to make a fully-informed decision based on the information received.
  • RFI also lacks the mechanism to gauge suppliers’ capabilities when compared to other industry standards, making it difficult to determine the best solution for an organization.
  • The RFI process also tends to take longer than other procurement methods, since it involves seeking out information from multiple vendors.
  • Additionally, it can be difficult to ensure that all vendors receive the same information, as the RFI process does not have a structured format for ensuring consistent communication.
  • Finally, the RFI process does not provide the opportunity for vendors to propose solutions or make counter-offers, which could potentially result in a better deal for the buyer.

Other approaches related to Request For Information

Introduction: In addition to the original use of RFI, the document can be used for other purposes as well.

  • Risk Mitigation: RFI can be used as a tool to mitigate the risks associated with selecting a particular service provider. By requesting information from potential service providers, it can be easier to compare different offerings and make a more informed decision.
  • Market Evaluation: RFI can also be used to evaluate the current market offerings. By receiving information from potential service providers, managers can have a better understanding of the available services and their associated costs.
  • Clarifications: RFI can also be used to clarify any misunderstandings between potential service providers and the company. This can help to ensure that the services and costs are accurately understood and that the company is not at risk of paying more than necessary.

Summary: In conclusion, RFI can be used for more than just searching for potential service providers. It can also be used to mitigate risks, evaluate the market and clarify any misunderstandings.

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Author: Anna Pietruszewska