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How to Obtain Quicker RFQ Responses

Date: 10/01/2018

Request for Quotes (RFQs) may be sent out for any type of product or service. The promptness of the suppliers’ replies varies by the ways the RFQs have been prepared, by the type of products described, by the value of the business expected, and by other factors.

A supplier may answer quickly, take a number of days or weeks, or may not answer at all. Meanwhile, the buyer can be ready to place an order, or may simply be shopping for budget information or to compare offers with what is currently obtained from an existing supplier.

Suppliers are aware of all these variables and their response to an RFQ depends both on the likelihood of receiving an order and their ability to provide the product when needed. For example, a slow response or no response may be because the supplier already has as much business as it can handle within the time required by the buying organization. A supplier may not respond because he believes there is little or no chance of obtaining the business. Preparing a bid involves a cost to the supplier, and that cost may be insignificant or amount to many thousands of dollars for complex construction contracts.

Make sure the RFQ is carefully prepared to get a quicker response. Although a quick quote may be obtained orally for shelf items or standard products, a quote request for any custom material should be documented in writing. Both the request itself and the response should be in writing. The request should indicate the deadline for a reply.

A written request should be followed up with preferably a telephone call, but certainly an email, to ask if the RFQ has been received and if the supplier expects to respond. This will reassure the supplier that you are really interested in the possibility of giving him an order. Another follow-up call closer to the deadline may expedite the answer.