What is an RFI?
A Request for Information (RFI) is a staged approach to procurement whereby the procurer uses direct communications with the market to receive deeper intel around the commodity they’re looking to purchase. It is commonly used when there are multiple suppliers and further information is required about their business, products, and/or services. This information is then collated to form a shortlist of candidates who have demonstrated their organisations suitability and/or capacity to respond to the procurer’s subsequent Request for Quote (RfQ).
The RFI facilitates an understanding between the buyer (council) and the industry on technology and capabilities, in-turn clarifying the requirement and positioning both council and the supplier on the same page. It demonstrates transparency in the procurement process through providing all proponents with the same information and improves council’s decision-making through offering a range of options for consideration. The options presented may also allow opportunity for innovation.
What to Include in a Request for Information (RFI)?
The RFI should follow a clear and consistent format that includes details on how you would like the suppliers to respond.
- Introduction and purpose of the RFI
Provide sufficient information about the proposed procurement activity to enable respondents to give meaningful feedback and assess the value of submitting a response.
Include detail on how you would like to receive responses e.g., attached template.
- Explanation of scope
Brief description of the goods/works/services required.
Estimated timeframes and estimated quantities (if relevant).
- Abbreviations and terminology
Breakdown and clearly define any technical jargon pertaining to the goods/services requested in your RFI.
- Template to complete
Attach a clear and simple template for potential suppliers to provide their responses.
This might consist of 1 or 2 questions related to the contractor’s capacity and capability to satisfy your request.
- Details of next steps – RFQ
Advise respondents on the next stage of your proposed procurement process and indicate key dates and timeframes for the release of your RfQ.
You may consider running an RFI under an LGP panel if:
- Your council is sourcing a new or unusual product/technology.
- You would like to quickly determine if what you need is available under an LGP panel.
- Your council is looking to define the scope of a subsequent RfQ.
For further information, please contact your region’s Business Development Manager.