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Request for Information Project Management Tools

November 3 2006

Request for Information – Project Management Tools

At some point in your career as a Project Manager, you will need to appoint a preferred Supplier to your project. Finding the right Supplier to deliver the right goods and services at the right time is always a challenge. To ensure that you appoint the best Supplier available, you need to undertake a formal Tender Process using these online project management tools.

The first step in the Tender Process is to document a Statement of Work (as described in our previous newsletter) which describes the procurement requirements of the project using the right project management tools. Now that you have clearly described your procurement requirements, you need to give potential Suppliers in the industry an opportunity to register an interest in becoming the preferred Supplier for the project. You can achieve this by creating and releasing a comprehensive Request for Information (RFI) document to the market.

RFI project management tools describe the process for allowing Suppliers to register an interest in supplying goods and services to the project. It also describes the information required of each Supplier to enable to project team to create a Supplier shortlist.

In summary, there are 5 key steps involved in creating and releasing an RFI:

1. Document a Statement of Work (SOW) which lists the goods and services to be obtained from an external Supplier.
2. Document a Request for Information (RFI) which describes the process for Suppliers to register an interest in supplying product to the project. It also describes the information required of each Supplier to allow the project team to determine their strengths and weaknesses and thereby select a Supplier shortlist.
3. Release SOW and RFI to the general market. This is usually done by advertising in newspapers, trade magazines and tender distribution lists. The adverts summarize the procurement requirements of the project and describe how an interested Supplier may obtain a copy of the SOW and RFI to read through. Once interested Suppliers have obtained and read the SOW and RFI, they create a formal response and forward it to the project team for consideration
4. Receive and Evaluate Tender Responses. The project team review each response and rate it based on the ability of the Supplier to meet the procurement requirements of the project.
5. Select Tender Shortlist and notify Suppliers, based on the overall rating of each response. Usually the top 3-5 tender responses will be selected to proceed to the ‘Supplier Proposal’ stage.

Creating and releasing a detailed RFI is a lot of work. To create a thorough RFI which covers all of the relevant topics, we suggest you include these project management templates tools using the following information:

Identify the purpose of the document to let Suppliers know that you want to obtain information from them to determine whether they are likely to meet the procurement requirements of the project.
Describe the Tender Process, so that the Supplier is aware of the timeframes involved in selecting a Supplier and delivering goods and services to the project.
List the information you need to understand the Suppliers Company. For instance, you may wish to know about the number of years they have been in business, the types of customers they have, the market segment they operate in or the level of expertise they have in certain specified areas.
Itemize the information needed to understand the Suppliers offering (such as the products, training and support offered) as well as their approach (such as their method for delivering products, timeframes for delivery and general pricing).
Make sure that you add a confidentiality clause describing how the Supplier should treat confidential information regarding the project.

And there you are! Armed with detailed project management tools of RFI and a formal process for its release into the marketplace, you are sure to select a high quality preferred Supplier to meet the needs of your project.

If you would like to download a Request for Information template to help you create a RFI quickly and efficiently, then please do so above.