Project Management | How to Review RFI Responses

When you receive an RFI response back from your potential suppliers or vendors, the first thing you do is to review and evaluate it. Then come the questions, how do I do the evaluation and revision? And what guidelines should I follow to select the ideal supplier from the RFIs?

If you haven’t guidelines to review and evaluate RFI responses, don’t you worry about it. Here in this post, we’ll show you how you can follow the guidelines to analyze and review the RFI to slim down your supplier list.

Objectives for RFIs

Before we begin, let’s recap the goals for RFIs:

  • identify ideal potential suppliers that meet your needs;
  • slim your potential supplier list down to 2 to 3 suppliers;
  • decide whether the next step is RFQ (Request for Quotation)/ RFP (Request for Proposal) or terminate the partnership.

Get started to review RFI responses

To fully achieve your goals, you can take a 2-step approach:

1) Start from initial checks and a quick review to select likely potential suppliers, then

2) Analyze and evaluate if the suppliers meet your critical requirements to eliminate unqualified suppliers.

Step one: initial checks and reviews

The following points might not be the deal-breakers for the both sides, but they do tell a lot about how your potential suppliers work: how serious are they about the potential partnership, how organized are their company, how well can they meet your needs etc. Use them as the general filter to help you shorten your list and move on to the second step of the approach.

1) Response quality.

  • Is the RFI response in the right format as requested?
  • Is the RFI response received on time?
  • Is there any additional information except for what you’ve asked, so you can better see for yourself their qualification and expertise?
  • Are the answers considered, detailed or are they just copied and pasted?
  • Do the responses provide enough information to the questions you asked?

2) Professionalism.

  • Are the responses written clearly enough for you to understand?
  • Are there unnecessary jargon to confuse you?
  • Do the suppliers have the right resources to handle your requirements, or would they normally choose to outsource the project?
  • Who have they worked with in the similar industry or business?

3) Cooperation keenness.

  • How keen are they about this cooperation?
  • How likely will the other party work to meet your time schedule, and/or deadlines?
  • How likely would they offer additional help when necessary?
  • How much do they want to be involved in your organisation?

By this point, you should be able to slim your supplier list down to just a few prospective ones. And the next step is to run a deeper analysis and rule out suppliers that don’t meet your needs, and make the final call.

Step two: analysis and evaluation

At this point, where you have a shorter list of potential suppliers, the next thing for you to do is to run a detailed analysis and eliminate suppliers that don’t fit the job. So, where do you start?

1) Create a list of your critical requirements.

At this point, where the guidelines in step one have helped you shorten the supplier list, you should have a more detailed and specific list of requirements to better evaluation the suppliers’ qualification. This is how you can be sure that the potential suppliers meet the absolute minimum requirements.

2) Compare the RFI responses with the list.

Check carefully the RFI responses again the list that you created, and make sure that you select suppliers that can meed the needs.

3) Rule out candidates that clearly don’t meed the minimum requirements.

With the list and the comparison, it should be easier for you to decide what suppliers can be ruled out and what should be left for further scrutiny.

4) Repeat, until you make the final call.

Repeat the above steps, especially when you still have a large number of candidates, but be sure to raise your standard. Make sure that your candidates meet all the critical requirements that you have on the list.

5) Rank the suppliers.

Based on how well the RFI responses meet your requirements, rank your suppliers from the most potential to the least potential one. You can always change the list, and include some of the “runner-ups” on the list, just in case the short listed suppliers don’t meet your requirements.

6) Report on the RFI responses review

When you’ve done with the evaluation, the next step to do is to prepare a report for your analysis. The following points are what you should consider include in the report:

  • A summary of the report;
  • The comparison results;
  • Recommendations;
  • Your reasons for the recommendations;
  • What you have done to review the RFI responses;
  • In some cases, get approval to proceed with the selected suppliers, informing them what to do next together, and contact the not-selected suppliers.

Being the first step in the project process, an RFI sure does play an important role in guarding the door. So if you have any question regarding RFI, or how you should review the RFI responses, feel free to contact us, or leave us a comment below. We’ll see to it as quickly as we possibly can.

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