“In many ways, effective communication begins with mutual respect, communication that inspires and encourages others to do their best.” – Zig Ziglar
When working with a plastics manufacturer, an important step to take for a quality, trusting relationship with your supplier is an effective Request for Quote (RFQ). A well-done RFQ shows clear expectations and provides most, if not all & more of the information a manufacturer would need to effectively quote your project.
Following the steps outlined below will help you create an effective RFQ intended to increase your response quality, shorten your time to market, and establish a good working relationship with your supplier.
Writing an Effective RFQ Structured for a Response
The purpose of writing an effective RFQ is to solicit quotes from plastic manufacturers that your company is considering as potential suppliers. Keeping this in mind, provide all the information a manufacturer would need to create an informative response. Questions you could ask, based on your company’s requirements, include:
- What are your company’s payment terms?
- Can you comply with a supplier audit?
- What are your capabilities as a supplier?
- What supply agreements do you require?
- What are your requirements to become a supplier?
- Do we need an NDA?
Defining Your Project
Don’t lose face with a potential valuable manufacturer by offering a brief greeting and then immediately demanding a quote. It’s important to get to the point, but introductions for your company & project will go a long way toward selling your partnership. Along with a preface to the company and reasoning for the project, the introduction of the RFQ should be detailed and clear, considering all stakeholder requirements.
In the body of the RFQ, it’s recommended to lay out precise quantities and timelines within the first few sentences and define all product specifications. The more specific the RFQ, the better, as it limits clarification questions and provides the details needed for an efficient quote. Details for you to clarify include:
- What do the parts do/how are they used
- Estimated Annual Usage (EAU)
- Order Quantities & preferences
- Product material/color
- Timeline of project
- Individuals involved in the project
- Secondary requirements
- Packaging requirements
- Capital expectations
- Tooling design strategy preference
- Quote deadline
- Testing, quality, and validation requirements
- Preference on manufacturing locations
- Target cost (Read more on the subject from our sales engineer)
- 3D CAD files
- 2D Part drawings
- If you are transferring existing tooling, previously acquired tooling information (See our tool transfer checklist)
- Information on secondary components or hardware
- Supplier’s ability and skill in fulfilling requirements on time.
- Qualifications of the supplier and their ability to fulfill the requested product or service.
- Clear pricing and part-pricing structure.
When clarifying the expectations and evaluation criteria in the RFQ, you should present the services and information your company needs in its entirety. It’s difficult for a manufacturing supplier to provide a proper quote when only half the services needed are requested then requesting more information after the quote is completed.
Guiding the Submission
Clear submission instructions wrap up the RFQ nicely. It is easier for manufacturers planning to bid on the project and makes sorting through bids more straightforward for your company. The submission requirements should always include:
- A well-defined deadline for submission.
- A single submission format (i.e., paper, email doc, online portal, etc…)
- Specify particular formats or labeling requirements to compare all received documents fairly.
Always include your company’s contact information and support options while ending the RFQ. Even the most thorough and thoughtful RFQs can leave questions, so a clear line for quick clarification can lead to higher-quality submissions.
Learning to write a clear and accurate RFQ is an essential skill for optimizing your business processes. And – as with most things in life – asking questions to clarify uncertainties before the final submission can eliminate potential problems down the road… don’t hesitate to ask questions!
We’re here to help. If you have any questions about writing and submitting an RFQ for your project, please reach out – we’re happy to help.