Sometimes thought to be an unnecessary stage that adds to the overall timeline in selecting a vendor, the RFI can actually save time.
Here are some points to consider:
1. The RFI can narrow a wide field of respondents
In some instances, there can be literally scores of companies that feel that they are positioned to provide the goods/services being sought. Many, even though their capability to satisfy the requirements of the RFP may be questionable, will submit in the hope that they get lucky. An RFI can very quickly weed out those firms that are not positioned to deliver what is required, leaving a richer field of qualified respondents.
2. The RFI will ensure that there are enough respondents who are qualified
On the flip side of having too many companies respond, there is the situation whereby the RFP is written so tightly that too few companies can submit. Having only one or two companies tender can be equally problematic, especially if there are significant differences in price and/or ability to deliver. An RFI will allow for fine tuning of the RFP to ensure a response level that allows for a quality selection.
3. An RFI can actually shorten the overall decision cycle
Having ensured that the field of respondents has been right-sized, it;
- facilitates the distribution of the RFP
- allows for tighter management of the Q&A stage
- reduces the time needed to review and analyze the responses.