Request for Information
The document called the request for information (RFI) is a formal but non-committal submission to a third party vendor on the need for information to assist with a company’s project or business needs.
This is a mechanism that businesses can use to locate information on a particular subject that they are in need of. A request for information document is sometimes the first contact between two different businesses that may lead to a further business deal, but not in every instance.
The reason an RFI is sent out is so an informed decision can be made on a subject matter that there is little to no knowledge in the company at the present time. In some instances it is an inquiry to gain updated information when there is a possibility that the current data a business has might be out of date.
After the initial contact is made with a request for information, there may be further contact that takes place were interaction between the business is to take place. This further contact can be in the form of a request for proposal (RFP). This is a formal invitation for a company to submit in writing what their company will do for the business making the inquiry as part of a bidding process. This allows for a company to weigh the advantages and risks of doing business with this third party vendor.
Another common document that can follow a request for information is a request for tender (RFT). This is general what is sent out by a governmental agency and is less rigid in its structure than a RFP. This kind of request is open to all suppliers to make a submission on what they can provide to meet the needs of the proposal.
The last kind of document that may follow a request for information is a request for quotation (RFQ) or invitation to bid (IFB). This is a more in depth description of what will be supplied and for what price. Also included generally is the payment options, if any that are available.
The request for information is like the first feeler of a company’s intentions to do business with a third party vendor for supplies or services that are needed.