Procurement Documents

Procurement documents are used to solicit vendors and suppliers to bid on your procurement needs. You're probably familiar with some of the titles of procurement documents. They might be called request for proposal (RFP), request for information (RFI), invitation for bid (IFB), request for quotation (RFQ), and so on.

Procurement documents should clearly state the description of the work requested, they should include the contract SOW, and they should explain how sellers should format and submit their responses. These documents are prepared by the buyer to assure as accurate and complete a response as possible from all potential bidders. Any special provisions or contractual needs should be spelled out as well. For example, many organizations have data concerning their marketing policies, new product introductions planned for the next few years, trade secrets, and so on. The vendor will have access to this private information, and in order to ensure that they maintain confidentiality, you should require that they sign a nondisclosure agreement.

A few terms that you should understand are used during this process; they are usually used interchangeably even though they have distinct definitions. When your decision is going to be made primarily on price, the terms bid and quotation are used, as in IFB or RFQ.

You prepared a SOW during the Develop Project Charter process. You can use that SOW as the procurement SOW during this process if you're contracting out the entire project. Otherwise, you can use just those portions of the SOW that describe the work you've contracted.

When considerations other than price (such as technology or specific approaches to the project) are the deciding factor, the term proposal is used, as in RFP. These terms are used interchangeably in practice, even though they have specific meanings in the PMBOKĀ® Guide.

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