Handbook of Business Procedures
7.5.8. REQUEST FOR INFORMATION (RFI) - USED TO GATHER INFORMATION AND SPECIFICATIONS
A Request for Information (RFI) is used to collect additional information about features and specifications of a product or service. This process is used when the department and the Purchasing Office do not have sufficient information to develop an appropriately detailed scope of work (SOW) to be used in a subsequent solicitation. The solicitation is open to all prospective suppliers and is publically posted on the Formal Bid Opportunities website so that any supplier may submit a response. A supplier is not required to respond to the RFI in order to submit a proposal.An RFI adds time to the overall solicitation process, but can be valuable in situations where:
- additional information about a product or service is necessary before an SOW can be developed for the project.
- potential suppliers for the good or service need to be identified.
- The decision to use the RFI process is generally made through discussions between the department and the Purchasing Office. Note: Since the RFI process does not conclude with a contract award, the department does not have to submit a requisition document, and suppliers are not asked to provide pricing or delivery information.
- The Purchasing Office and the department develop a general description of the product or service that is required. Suppliers are asked to submit full descriptions and specifications of the good or service they provide.
- The department identifies a team of end users/subject matter experts to review supplier submissions. Because RFIs are not scored, evaluation team members do not have to sign a Non-Disclosure/Conflict of Interest statement.
- The RFI is posted for a minimum of two weeks.
- The department and the Purchasing Office review the submissions and use the information to develop an SOW for the subsequent solicitation.
- When the RFI is concluded, the university may or may not issue a solicitation.