A qualified vendor is:
1. A business you have done business with before
2. One you recently have had pre-qualified using a formal process
3. They come recommended
4. Have client references you can check
It is not considered a best practice to submit requests to vendors which may provide a sub-standard service or poor quality product.
Much is at stake when making a selection and product quality or best price is now no longer the only determining factor when deciding whom to award your business to. Most companies will look at your safety records, insurance coverage, environmental policies, delivery history, and payment terms and so much more so buying just on price is no longer considered the single determining factor.
Back to the RFP – a request for proposal allows your qualified vendors to make a submission or a “proposal” which they think will work based on the scenario or specification you have provided in your procurement form. In many cases the Vendor is more qualified and can put forward a better recommendation or solution than one made internally by colleagues. They are the source and often have the engineering or expertise to back up the product so it is important to factor in their recommendations. It is important to understand a RFP is not a RFQ or Request for Quote. A RFQ is generated when the Buyer knows exactly what is needed. The RFP allows the vendor to help analyze your situation and put forward a custom solution.
A RFP should include different pieces and they all vary in length and complexity. Some organization will include 20 pages of general conditions and 20 pages of special conditions and typically these instances relate to bigger cost items.
Prepare the RFP to the best of your ability, cherry pick terms from past issues, proof read, did we say proof read, invite a co-worker or third party to review the template and last have legal counsel review if the risk is there prior to distribution to your vendors.