The Value of Responding to an RFI:
Our RFP Response team has noticed an increasing trend in the formal Request for Proposal process.
They are getting more and more requests to help vendors respond to RFI’s (Request for Information).
Why the increasing trend to RFI’s when the normal trend has always been to RFP’s or RFQ’s?
An RFI is really the initial stage in the sourcing process. An Issuer needs to identify and resolve the gaps in their requirements, including any disparities, conflicts or problems that could arise, well before developing and issuing an actual RFP (Request for Proposal).
Procurement: Speaking with Government and Commercial Procurement Teams, they tell us that with rapid changes in technology and global sourcing, the importance of issuing an RFI has never been greater.
An RFI should Answer:
“What don’t we know that we need to know in order to find vendors that could potentially fulfill our requirements? Are there any new technologies or cost saving solutions in the marketplace now?”
The RFI Process is Good for Procurement and Great for Vendors:
The RFI process aids Procurement in knowing about existing and new suppliers. It helps them build a database of potential organizations and their capabilities.
Responding to RFI’s is good for Vendors. It helps them better understand Procurement’s sourcing needs, and how to become better at fulfilling those needs. Vendors can build this understanding into their Biz-Dev, R&D and other market-oriented strategies. Finally, going through the RFI process signals to vendors that they have an opportunity to be included in the formal RFP process – if they respond helpfully.
Once the RFI Responses are reviewed, this will lead to the next stage: issuing the Request for Proposal. Some RFPs will be released on public bid-portals, others could be by ‘invitation only’ to the qualified vendors short-listed through the RFI process.
Good for Business:
Vendors tell us that going through the RFI process was good for their business. It gave them more insight on their customers; helped clarify the value of their own offering; and is an excellent way to get in front of potential new customers.
It also allowed them to introduce solutions that end up being written into an RFP. Are you responding or considering responding to an RFI? Our RFP writing team can help you think through these important response strategies.