RFI, RFP, ITT, SQ, PIN, what is this strange language? We demystify some of the most common tender process acronyms for you.
Tender Process Acronyms
A Request for Information (RFI) is commonly used by procurement to ask suppliers for information regarding the products and services they provide and information about their company.
In the public sector a Prior Information Notice (PIN) is used to alert the market place of a requirement by procurement to purchase goods and services. A Selection Questionnaire (SQ) is used by procurement to determine the merits of the markets interest in supplying the goods and services. The Selection Questionnaire asks questions regarding insurance, financial standing and previous experience. The Selection Questionnaire has replaced the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) in most cases.
Procurement use the information in the RFI, and Selection Questionnaire to pre-qualify supplier’s ability to deliver the goods and services at the desired quality and to the desired standard. Suppliers who pass this stage of the tender process continue to the next stage of the tender process.
Procurement issue documents to suppliers outlining their organisation requirements. Suppliers are invited to respond and put forward their products or services and to specify their prices. In the private sector a tender is more commonly known as a Request for Proposal (RFP) or a Request for Tender (RFT) or a Request for Quote (RFQ). In the public sector, a tender is more commonly known as an Invitation to Tender (ITT).
The RFP and ITT are instruction manuals, providing information to bidders on how to respond. RFP and ITT documents are extremely important and must be written with care and precision. Mistakes in the drafting of an ITT may result in a tender process becoming unlawful, placing the tendering authority at risk of legal challenge and investigation. Mistakes in an RFP may result in a misunderstanding between the buyer and the supplier that may damage the relationship.
A 'Bid' is an offer to supply goods and/or services at a price, quantity and quality as specified in a RFP or ITT documents. On acceptance of a bid, you are legally bound to supply goods and/or services as described in your bid.Tender processes usually begin with procurement gathering information from the market about the products or services available to buy.
In an attempt to simplify the tender process for suppliers, most public-sector organisations now use a one-step tender process known as the 'open procedure'. The open procedure combines the SQ and the ITT process together. The use of Pass / Fail criteria rejects suppliers from the process, if they fail to meet the minimum requirements.
There is a legal requirement that all ITT's must include the following four things;
Failure to include the above information can result in the tender process becoming unlawful. There are no legal requirements for the contents of an RFP but usually (as a minimum) RFP's should contain a specification and a contract.
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About the Author
Naomi Clews Consultancy
Procurement, Tendering, Business Skills