RFIs Requests For Information are a vital initial step in shortlisting potential vendors. You may already have some in mind who you prefer, however it is important to understand your options.
Vendors should definitely ask you for more information, especially if interested. Unless your initial RFI request for information really contained enough for them to assess your expectations, they will contact you further.
Your RFI should include basic details such as-
- Why you contact them,
- The general scope of what you need,
- Your general expectations,
- Basic timeline for project completion.
Vendors will have some idea about whatever you are asking for, so you should have initial replies.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from vendors, they may also help you to get to the right conclusion on what you need. They may have had similar requests from competitors on similar projects and so can make suggestions on what you need to look at or be requesting (or not requesting).
For vendors you aren’t already familiar with you should get some idea of their capabilities as well.
Purchasing Power – Request For Information (RFIs)
Why should you bother with this step?
You may not need to, but if purchasing something new or for a project, getting multiple sources of information and potentially guidance can be hugely valuable to a purchasing decision. Whether you go with a vendor or not they may give you some additional insight to consider before an RFP is issued.
You don’t want to box yourself into using your regular vendor although you certainly may not consider changing. Information on their competition and capabilities may put you in a better negotiating position.
Once you have RFI information back from vendors, including potentially good suggestions, you should start working on your full RFD. Of the vendors you have the RFI replies you should know who is capable and able to provide the quality you need.