Request for Information or RFI

13 October 2010

A request of information or RFI is a document that is used by the business world to obtain needed information on a subject a company has little or no knowledge about. In the manufacturer industry it is also used to obtain the latest prices on commodities and raw materials that might be used in a project.

Many companies use the response to an RFI as a chance to promote a certain product line. This can be done with special incentives and discount prices. By responding to a request for information a business is showing they are interested in meeting the needs of the company that sent out the request.

The RFI is the first in a line of documents a company sends out to see what is available, what it can be supplied with and how much it will cost. Once these factors are known the next step can commence.

The step after a RIF is the sending out of the request for proposal, request for tender or the request for quotation. The exact document that is to be used is dependent on the type of business being contacted.

In many responses to an RFI from a third party supplier, the company relays the needed information about the products in question. This will include any new specifications and time tables that they will be able to meet.

What is fully understood by all parties involved is this is not a signed contract or is there any obligation by either party implied. This is just an exchange of information so both parties know the stance of the other. Typically after a set of RFI are sent out and their responses are received, the business that sent out the RFI’s will make a purchase that relies on the information that was gathered.

The RFI is a document that is sent out during the planning stage of a project. This way there is ample time for a decision on which third party vendor would be able to supply the necessary goods or services at the best price on the requested time table needed.