Get better RFQ responses!

Get better RFQ responses!

We at Proficient Sourcing live and die with RFQ traffic, and it seems that the buying population would be interested in better responses.  Maybe we can help.

Most of what we see is an RFQ to manufacture or fabricate some metal or plastic part.  The RFQ wants a price and delivery for a stated quantity, and sometimes an “answer by” date is provided.  That’s about all we usually see.

It’s also useful to note the buyer’s company is not doing business with the potential suppliers we might refer, and may be completely unknown; there’s no existing relationship.

The RFQ circumstances may be anything from a minor, simple item or a vital piece of some critical assembly.  Sometimes this is not indicated, and may not be clear, either.

The main point here is there’s useful information missing which might lead to a better result for the buyer, and permit the potential supplier to do a better job.   Here are a three areas for potential improvement, and we’d surely appreciate any comments you might have on this topic.

  1. We understand the pros and cons of target pricing information. However, buyers might consider stating a price range or approximation of what’s desired.  We’ve been mystified why there’s such a range of supplier pricing in responses to RFQ’s that appear pretty straightforward, so perhaps some approximation of what a buyer would find acceptable would eliminate obviously unacceptable quotes.  No need to waste anyone’s time!
  2. We think it’s particularly useful for buyers to keep in mind what is the competitive environment in job shops generally. Proficient Sourcing exists to find NEW sources for buyers, and that means whatever you are needing is competing for shop time against existing business.  The point here is if you can give some information about the future of whatever you want quoted you might get a better quote.  For example you might suggest that if successful, this project might lead to requirements in the range of X to Y parts per year.  If the situation is not a one-off, be sure the supplier knows this.  Similarly, a shop’s current business may cause a lengthy delivery time.  If the OEM provides some information concerning due date urgency the results could improve.
  3. The buyer may have access to advantageous material pricing not available to some small job shop. In addition, the shop will mark up materials unless there’s some very unusual circumstance.  This means there may be occasions where the shop is able to do the work very efficiently, but cannot win the quote because their material price is too high.  The buyer might consider an RFQ that asks for a response with and without the buyer supplying the material.  This might generate a really good deal for both sides.

These are just three aspects that immediately came to mind as we reviewed a file of RFQ’s we’ve received.  Since RFQ responses are equally important for buyer and seller, we’d be most appreciative of comments on this vital subject.

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