Request For Information - RFI
Table of contents:
What is an RFI?
A request for information, or RFI, is an inquiry made to one or more potential suppliers in order to get bids and/or other information on the products and services. RFIs are often used when there isn’t a specific vendor in mind.
RFIs typically include a detailed description of the product or service that is desired, as well as any specifications and questions for suppliers. They can be beneficial because they allow buyers to gather quotes from multiple sources without actually concluding negotiations with any of them.
RFIs can also help to identify potential suppliers that may not have been considered before. Additionally, RFIs can be used to assess supplier capabilities and determine if they are a good fit for the project. Lastly, RFIs provide an opportunity for buyers to get more information about products and services so they can make an informed decision when awarding a contract.
What is an RFI Software?
An RFI software is a tool that can be used to help implement requests for information in the procurement process.
There are many benefits of using an RFI management software, including allowing companies to track all submitted responses and use data analytics features. Additionally, RFI software can help automate the process of creating and sending RFIs. Likewise, an RFI software will also help manage the process of evaluating responses and creating a shortlist.
An RFI RFP software will also help manage the process of awarding a contract, aside from the other benefits that the software provides.
The Request for information software comes with a significant component of an RFI management process. It is built to be the right tool that saves every company time and money through lowering overhead costs, increasing productivity, and mitigating risk. The following are some of its features:
This software gets you the data you need when it's needed to be accessed, in real-time.
It lets you know the status of every request at all times. The user will be notified when they receive an inquiry when it is assigned to them and even when there's a change in the process.
The system is kept up to date with current information through its reports feature which provides valuable data about your business to help you make key decisions.
It keeps your data safe by allowing for the secure storage and management of all electronic documents through its document sharing features, this also keeps all files in one place.
When to use RFI software?
Since an RFI is only a preliminary document aimed at gathering information and educating about potential suppliers and their products or services, it should not be used in all situations. Generally, an RFI is best suited for the early stages of the procurement process. That's when you are just starting to gather information about what is available in the market.
An RFI can also be helpful if you are trying to decide between a few potential suppliers. By issuing an RFI and asking specific questions, you can help to narrow down your options and make a more informed decision. Additionally, using an RFI can save time and money by helping to avoid costly mistakes later on in the procurement process.
Likewise, an RFI is useful when the specifications for the product or service are not finalized. In this case, the request for information will help to gather information on the types of products or services that are available, as well as additional details about those offerings.
There are a few other times when you might want to consider issuing an RFI. For example, if there is a complex requirement or if you are looking for a unique product or service, then an RFI may be the best way to go. Additionally, if you suspect that there may be collusion among potential suppliers, then using an RFI can help to identify any possible wrongdoing.
Lastly, if you are considering changing your procurement process in some way, then issuing an RFI can help to get feedback from potential suppliers about how they would prefer the process to work.
Finally, there may be times when you need to issue an RFQ or even a formal bid solicitation. However, issuing RFI first will give you a better understanding of what is available in the market, as well as help to identify any potential problems or issues that may arise during the procurement process.
The process of gathering information through Request For Information software includes three main steps:
1. Define the Scope of the RFI - In this stage, you must identify any specific criteria that should be met by a supplier's product or service as well as define what other factors need to be included in the formal procurement process.
2. Identify the Information You Want - In this stage, you identify exactly what type of information you're looking for and create appropriate questions to get the necessary data from suppliers.
3. Submission process - this step includes the actual submission of the RFI to the targeted suppliers.
Once you have gathered sufficient information, then the next step is to decide whether or not you will formally move forward with a purchase. By issuing an RFI first, you can narrow down your options and make more informed decisions about the procurement process.
How to implement an RFI process?
The first step towards implementing this process is to analyze your current situation. The purpose of this initial phase is to accurately determine where you stand, how your current supplier base is performing, and what necessary steps need to be taken in order to improve efficiency, build stronger vendor relationships, and streamline processes.
The next viable phase is to decide on a pilot project that will be able to satisfy all of your goals established in the previous step.
Lastly, you will have to choose a procurement manager and/or team capable of seeing the project to fruition.
Once all of this is set up, the procurement team will need to follow these steps:
Review existing documents - The first step is always to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the information you already have. You're looking for a clear comprehension of what is required and any potential ambiguities or gaps in the information.
Formulate and review the questions - You may want to separate them into categories such as “known” versus “unknown” components. This will help in the formulation of the RFI. Once you've compiled a list of draft queries, go through them carefully to ensure they'll get you the information you need.
Submit the RFI - The next step is to submit your RFIs. You'll want to make sure you take care of this step because there could be a significant cost associated with preparing and submitting an RFI if done incorrectly or too late in the process. This will also help minimize unnecessary costs while getting accurate information from potential suppliers.
Receive the RFI responses - Finally, you'll receive your various vendor responses. The procurement team will need to sort through them and determine which ones are most beneficial for moving forward with a proposal. They should also take into consideration any additional information that may have been missed or was not in the original RFI document. This includes clarifying any questions that arose from the responses.
Main benefits of RFIs
There are several benefits that businesses can experience when they use RFIs in their procurement process. When it comes to RFI benefits, businesses can get quotes from multiple suppliers without committing to any of them. This allows businesses the opportunity to save time and money when obtaining bids for their projects. Among these benefits, we can include the following:
1. Gives you the opportunity to meet new potential suppliers
When buyers send out RFIs, they will be more likely to receive bids from new sources that had not been considered before. Therefore, this can help businesses expand their network of vendors as well as find suppliers that may better suit their needs. In doing so, this can help buyers save time and money, as well as ensure that they are getting the best products and services for their needs.
2. Allows you to get information about products and services
RFIs provide an opportunity for buyers to ask questions regarding the product or service they are interested in, as well as specifications and other details. Along with this, potential suppliers will also be able to discover more about your company’s needs which can help them provide a better proposal. By using RFIs, buyers are able to get more information about products and services that may have been unknown, which can help them make a better decision when awarding contracts.
3. Helps you to determine which suppliers are best for your business
RFIs allow businesses the opportunity to learn more about potential vendors before entering into negotiations with them. This helps buyers decide if a supplier is actually the right choice for their project or not. This way, companies will be able to avoid wasting time and money on unsuitable suppliers. It also helps to build better relationships with the suppliers that are a good fit for your company.
Other benefits of RFIs
Additional RFI benefits include:
1. Can help save time and money
RFIs Can help businesses save time and money in two ways. Firstly, by sending out RFIs, buyers are able to get quotes from multiple suppliers without having to commit to any of them. Secondly, by using RFIs businesses Can avoid wasting time and money on unsuitable suppliers.
2. Ensures you receive a good number of bids from potential vendors
This means that you will be able to compare different quotes and select the best one for your business. in doing so, buyers will be able to avoid choosing a supplier and then having them increase their prices after negotiations. RFIs will help to ensure that This does not happen.
3. Helps make procurement decisions
The information that is gathered from RFIs Can help buyers make informed decisions about who to award a contract to. This is because potential suppliers will be able to submit proposals that address all of the buyer’s needs and requirements.
4. Gives you an opportunity to test a supplier’s expertise
RFIs provide buyers with information on how well potential suppliers understand their needs, as well as whether or not they Can meet them. buyers will be in a better position to determine whether a supplier is knowledgeable and experienced in the product or service that you are seeking.
How can Prokuria help and why is it different?
Prokuria's online RFI software will help buyers digitize their sourcing, streamline their supplier selection, and accelerate their decision-making process. With Prokuria's RFI, RFP, and RFQ software, 84% of businesses will launch their first request for a quote within a week. In addition, this RFP management tool also provides the following features:
Audit logs - Keeping track of all document changes.
Sealed Bids - Ensuring a fair and open supplier competition with no interference in the bidding process.
Powerful Questionnaires - Text, single or multiple-choice, conditioned question, or file upload.
Supplier Engagement Monitor - Tracking supplier engagement in real-time.
Message Center - Real-time messaging with suppliers during events.
Smart Alerts & Reminders - Customizable email notifications.
Internal Collaboration - Streamlining and aligning your internal communication with all stakeholders.
Fast & Easy for Suppliers - A no-supplier account set-up private secure webpage.
Prokuria is the easiest way to issue Requests For Information. We have made it easy enough that anyone can use it, but powerful enough that even the most seasoned professional will love using it.
With our free trial, there is no credit card required and you can start issuing RFI's in minutes! If you are ready to see how easy it is to get started with Prokuria, you can also book a free demo with us, and we'll show you everything there is to know about Prokuria's RFI solution.