Specifications or Blueprints
If the requested item is complex or requires an untested or new production process, purchasing can include additional information or attachments to assist the supplier. This might include detailed blueprints, samples, or technical drawings. In addition, buyers can use requests for quotation as a preliminary approach to determine if a potential supplier even has the capability to produce a new or technically complex item. A buyer must identify suppliers with the required production capability before requesting detailed competitive bids. Further quotation and evaluation can then occur to identify the best supplier.
If the purchase contract requires negotiation between the buyer and seller (rather than competitive bidding), purchasing sends a request for proposal (RFP) to a supplier. In many firms, RFQs and RFPs are synonymous. However, in the latter case, the item’s complexity requires that a number of issues besides price need to be included in the supplier’s response.