Request for Information (RFI): An RFI is a document issued to a list of vendors to obtain, gather, solicit information on what products a vendor has to offer, or how a perspective bidder would propose to perform certain work, its terms, qualifications, and terms and conditions. RFIs are not used to obtain price.
Request for Quote (RFQ): An RFQ is a document issued to prospective bidders to obtain quotations for definitive products or services and awarded to the lowest compliant bidder. RFQs are used for purchases between $3,500 and $49,000.
Request for Proposal (RFP): An RFP is a document issued to prospective bidders based on a generalized scope of work and awarded to the most responsible bidder submitting the most advantageous and responsive proposal.
Invitation for Bid (IFB): An IFB is a document issued to prospective bidders to obtain bids for definitive products based on specifications and specific terms and conditions. It's awarded to the most responsible bidder submitting the lowest bid. IFBs are used for purchases of $49,000 and greater.
Overview of the Procurement Process: The procurement process begins with a purchase requisition, a scope of work statement (description of services), or specifications (description of goods), proposal evaluation criteria, and a recommended source list.
The information is submitted to the Purchasing & Contracts Office on a "Request for Quote" form. It will be developed into a complete Request for Proposal (RFP), Request for Quote (RFQ) or Invitation for Bid (IFB). The solicitation will include standard contract language (boilerplate), special language (terms and conditions unique to the purchase or project) instructions to prospective bidders, and any requisite technical exhibits or attachments.
All solicitations of $3,500 or greater are required to be posted to Washington Electronic Business Solutions (WEBS), which is the state's automated vendor registration and bid notification system. Purchasing & Contracts staff will process and post all applicable solicitations to WEBS.
The solicitation document states a date and time proposals (bids) are due and often has a pre-proposal (pre-bid) conference for prospective bidders. At times the conference is mandatory and only bidders attending it may submit a final proposal (bid). The conference gives prospective bidders an opportunity to ask questions and gives The Evergreen State College a chance to determine whether any changes need to be issued to the solicitation document. It is also an excellent time to conduct any requisite site visits to familiarize prospective bidders with the work site.
After proposals (bids) are received, the using department, along with a Purchasing and Contracts staff member, evaluates each proposal against the source selection criteria and provides a written recommendation for award to the Purchasing and Contracts office. The recommendation is reviewed and approved by the Purchasing and Contracts office. If necessary, administration approval may also be necessary. Once approved, the Purchasing and Contracts office awards a contract and a purchase order is issued.
After awarded, the using department is responsible for monitoring the contractor's performance, approving invoices, and notifying the Purchasing and Contracts office if problems are encountered. If the contract contains an option to renew, the using department should notify the Purchasing and Contracts office at least 60 days prior to the renewal notification date cited in the contract.
In the case of ongoing services, during the terminal (last) year of contract performance, the using department should provide the Purchasing and Contracts office with updated information three (3) to four (4) months prior to the end of the contract. Doing so will allow time for issuing a new RFP (IFB), going through the evaluation and awarding a contract once again.