Issue Date: 
Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Difference Between a RFI, RFQ and RFP

We are regularly asked what the difference is between a Request for Information (RFI), a Request for Proposal (RFP) and a Request for Quote (RFQ).

"RFX" is a term used, to refer to all 'Request For…' documents used to solicit responses, of various types, from suppliers. The three common documents are:

  • Request for Information (RFI)
  • Request for Proposal (RFP)
  • Request for Quote (RFQ)

According to the Government's eTenders portal (http://www.etenders.gov.za) the differences between RFQ's, RFI's and RFP's are as follows:

Request for Information (RFI)

An RFI is generally used when the solution to a business problem is not immediately evident or clearly defined. The RFI is used to gather information, NOT to make a selection or an award.
The Supply Chain Management Unit works with the Customer to:

  • Clearly describe the problem;
  • Solicit external expertise regarding how to solve the problem;
  • Study proposed solutions.

Request for Proposal (RFP)

An RFQ is used when the Customer understands the business problem and what's needed to solve it, including specifications and procedures. Price is usually not the determining factor in the evaluation of an RFP. Factors such as quality, service, and reputation are also taken into consideration.

Request for Quote (RFQ)

An RFQ is generally used to obtain pricing, delivery information, terms and conditions from suppliers. In this case, requestors have a clear understanding of what they need, including requirements and specifications. To procure the exact product or service needed, the Customer provides the Supply Chain Management Unit with as much information as possible, including complete specifications, quantities, and delivery schedule.

The common thread between all three types of "RFX" documents is that the Customer/Government Entity is not obliged to appoint a service provider on the results from issuing any of these requests. The best way to know that a tender award will be made is when you respond to a formal quotation or a competitive bid.

Normally a formal quotation will be for goods or services with a value of between R30,000-00 and R200,000-00 and a competitive bid will be for goods or services with a value exceeding R200,000-00.

To learn all you need to know to respond to tenders correctly, and hopefully successfully attend our How-to-Tender workshops. Visit our website www.how2tender.com to find out more and to register. For more information on the tender courses please email Werner at werner@how2tender.com.

This article was written by Werner van Rooyen, Director of HowToTender (Pty) Ltd. which specializes in tender consulting and tender training.

7 Disadvantages of Competitive Bidding

The bidding process can be very tedious sometimes. Here are some of the disadvantages of the bidding process.

1.    Leading suppliers may not tender

In Australia, for example, government procurement guidelines only allow suppliers who actually tender to be considered for a procurement decision. If the leading supplier or suppliers do not tender, the purchaser can only consider bids from suppliers who do tender. If leading suppliers are not considered, the purchaser may end up buying inferior product or service... Read More

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