Procurement Planning — Key Components of an RFQ

First, we should differentiate between an RFP (Request for Proposal) and a RFQ (Request for Quote). Generally speaking, an RFP will outline the broad goals and objectives of the project, and request potential vendors to provide both details of the means for meeting those objectives as well as the costing to do so. An RFQ usually, on the other hand, provides potential vendors with a detailed listing of deliverables, including specific testing standards or metrics that must be used to produce or deploy the product of the project. When an organization issues a RFQ, it expects the potential vendors to provide a quote for services and specified project deliverables as well as documentation on how each of the project objectives will be met.

Prior to issuing an RFQ, the product or service purchaser (the organization issuing the RFQ) must fully define the external needs of the project. These needs may include a specific product, service or human resource and must be fully documented as part of the RFQ. After determining exactly what needs to be purchased, the organization needs to determine how the external resource will be acquired. Does the project require an outright purchase of a particular item? Or, perhaps the organization requires a service to be performed and prefers that the service be performed under contract. These acquisition requirements will form the basis of the vendor selection criteria, to be
used by the project manager and project team to select the vendor.

Once the requirements, selection method and criteria have been determined, potential vendors can be contacted and invited to tender for the project. The project team will need to provide these potential vendors with all pertinent project information, including:

  1. A discussion of the overall project objectives
  2. A discussion of specific deliverables, including:
    • Specific project and product technical specifications
    • Project and product quality standards and measurements
    • Project and product quality conformance methods
  3. A discussion of specific risks which may impact either the purchaser or performing organization.
  4. A discussion of the project schedule, including deliverable milestones and key project dates.
  5. Preliminary contract information (e.g. contract will be fixed price, etc.)
  6. Additional information pertinent to the RFQ (e.g. response format, file or technical drawing specifications, etc.)
  7. An overview of the vendor selection methods (including information regarding the overall process, information gathering sessions, site visits, selection schedule, etc.)

The issuing organization should also request financial or other pertinent performing organization information (e.g. details of similar undertaken projects, references, staff curriculum vitae, etc.)

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