Request for Information (RFI)
Terms & Acronyms

What Is a Request for Information (RFI)?

What is a Request for Information (RFI)?

The world of procurement is filled with abbreviations and RFI is one of the common ones. In this article, we’ll discuss the concept of an RFI and introduce you to its role in the bidding process. Let’s dive in!


Request for Information RFI definition

An RFI, also known as a Request for Information, is a type of tender. It’s a preliminary document used in the procurement process, typically issued by a buyer looking to gather information about potential suppliers, products, or services before initiating a full procurement process. 

RFIs are commonly used when the buyer knows sort of what they’re looking for, but they want to verify market availability, explore potential solutions, or get an idea of supplier interest and capabilities.

RFIs are a good tool in the procurement process, as they provide a useful platform for buyers to gather information and assess potential suppliers without committing to any specific course of action. This allows buyers to make more informed decisions when creating the procurement.


Purpose of an RFI

Now that we have an overall idea of what an RFI is, let’s delve further into its purpose and how it fits into the procurement process. The main objectives of issuing an RFI include:

  • Gathering information: RFIs provide an opportunity for buyers to collect essential information about the capabilities, expertise, and offerings of potential suppliers. This helps buyers evaluate whether the suppliers can meet their specific requirements.
  • Exploring options: RFIs allow buyers to explore various options and potential solutions available in the market. By gathering information from multiple suppliers, buyers can gain insights into industry trends, innovations, and best practices.
  • Assessing supplier capabilities: RFIs help buyers assess the capabilities of different suppliers and shortlist those who have the necessary expertise and resources to fulfil the buyer’s requirements. It enables buyers to identify potential partners who can deliver quality products or services.
  • Pre-qualification: RFIs may serve as a pre-qualification stage in the procurement process. In some cases, buyers use the information gathered to shortlist suppliers who are most likely to meet their needs, and subsequently invite them to participate in the formal tendering process. This, however, is not very common.
  • Reducing risk: By conducting an RFI, buyers can minimise potential risks associated with selecting the wrong requirements. The process allows buyers to gain a better understanding of the market and how to design their tender to get the best proposals.



It’s important to note that RFIs are different from RFPs (Request for Proposal), which is a full procurement process involving specific project details, pricing, and contractual terms. While an RFP is more targeted, requires a detailed response from suppliers and aims to end with a signed contract, an RFI serves as an initial information-gathering tool. 



By issuing an RFI, buyers can effectively gather information and evaluate potential suppliers, allowing them to make well-informed decisions during the procurement process. This helps ensure a successful procurement where the buyer finds what they’re looking for, and issues a tender that suppliers can and want to respond to.

We hope this article has provided you with a clear definition of RFI and its purpose in the procurement process. If you want to simplify and streamline your tender bids, our AI-powered platform can help you navigate the procurement process with ease. Read more about Tendium. 


Optimise your business with the public sector with the Tendium bidding platform. Forget expensive and inefficient bidding processes. Say hello to modern, transparent and AI-powered sales to the public sector. Welcome to the future.

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