Request For Information
|Request For Information|
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.
RFI and RFP
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
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.
- Instructions for Preparing an RFP/RFI Using This Template, (2019)
- Navigant Construction Forum (2013), Impact and Control of RFIs on Construction Projects
- Procore Technologies (2019), RFI Best Practices
- Sawyer S. (2001), A Market Based Perspective on Information Systems Development, COMMUNICATIONS OF THE ACM, Vol. 44, No. 11
Author: Anna Pietruszewska