A request for information or RFI, is usually the formal process (usually in the form of a document or questionnaire) of collecting information from a number of suppliers prior to carrying out a more formal tender process (RFP or RFQ). Typically it will consist of a list of questions that you would like your suppliers to answer in order to get a better understanding of their capabilities. The RFI process acts as a critical process that can help companies to understand a supplier’s capabilities better however is also a good opportunity to narrow down a list of potential vendor candidates for a later RFP or RFQ stage.
The RFI process can often be made complex and time-consuming however it is much simpler than you might think We have detailed below how you can take the right approach when creating an RFI from scratch with a detailed step-by-step proven process for success and speed.
Before making a start you need to understand if an RFI process is the right one for you. We have detailed two main justifications for creating and sending an RFI to your supplier(s).
Once you have decided to run an RFI you will need to work out the best way to run it in an organised and fair manner. There are two main options for you to choose from:
Depending on what you are trying to procure from a supplier is key when evaluating the above two processes for an RFI. If you are procuring a single ‘good’ and asking two suppliers about their capabilities then a traditional way might not be so bad, however, if you are inviting multiple suppliers then you need to think about the time it takes to write and distribute a good RFI and collate the responses. Digital platforms will do this work for you, and instantly.
You may not need to use every step of the below RFI process however they should still be considered.
RFI templates off of the internet are available and can be a good starting point however will very rarely meet your company’s needs. Ensure that information is correct such as dates and contact info. Cloud-based procurement software will build the RFI for you automatically. Although each RIP is unique, most will contain the majority of the following sections: