Your RFP Format: Why It Matters

Why Should You Care About Your RFP Format?

PurchTips Edition #359 Click here for the printer-friendly version

Picture of Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3, author of this procurement article on rfp format.By Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

NLPA Member Question: Are there any limits for the RFP size or it will depend on the scope of work?

The ideal format of an RFP will vary based upon the situation. You should have two goals for your RFP: (1) maximizing competition, and (2) getting your “best fit” suppliers to respond. A poorly formatted RFP can cause you to fall short of those two goals by failing to get enough of the right suppliers to respond. An RFP that is too long has the “scare factor” that scares suppliers away from investing the time to respond.

Therefore, you should focus on making your RFP’s as concise as practical. This can be done by NOT including:

  • Requests for information that is not truly needed
  • Redundant or conflicting verbiage
  • Requests for information that is only needed from short listed suppliers and can be requested later

For comparison, the RFP template available in the NLPA Library has four pages plus a cover page and two exhibits.


NLPA Member Question: You have said that the “scare factor” not only applies to RFP’s, but to purchase orders, and supplier registration forms, too. What is the scare factor of a PO?

I’ve been seeing a lot of purchase orders containing way too many terms and conditions. I have seen purchase orders exceed a dozen pages, even though they were orders for the simplest products and services. This can cause delayed delivery of products or performance of services as suppliers will often seek legal review of the terms and conditions and negotiate terms with which they are unwilling to comply. In addition, suppliers can decline to do business with you. Extended terms and conditions should only be used when appropriate and not in every situation.


Want A More Rewarding Procurement Career?

How can you acquire the most modern skills, achieve better results, and prove your value to today’s employers? By earning your SPSM® Certification.

You’ll learn modern procurement skills like how to negotiate better, conduct strategic sourcing & much, much more! You’ll get step-by-step instruction on exactly how to deliver exceptional procurement results.

Download the SPSM® Certification Infopack today to learn how to get started.


Time is Running Out- Make Your Mark On Procurement History!

2016 NLPA Conference

There are less than 35 seats left for the 2016 NLPA Conference! Don’t miss out on your chance to:

  • Hear dynamic speakers providing insights into critical issues and challenges
  • Engage in workshops on the latest procurement strategies and techniques
  • Network with leading procurement professionals
  • Learn actionable takeaways that you can apply when you return to the office
  • And much more!

Reserve your place at the 2016 NLPA Conference today!

Learn More

Are You Getting The Most Out of Your NLPA Membership?

Members of the NLPA get more than just articles like this by email. As a member, you also get access to:

  • The Procurement Training & Certification Starter Kit
  • The latest Purchasing & Supply Management Salaries Report
  • Leading-Edge Supply Management™ magazine
  • Members-only webinars 10x per year
  • And more!

If you haven’t been taking advantage of these benefits, why not log in and start now?

Login Join

Copyright 2016. This article is the property of the Next Level Purchasing Association and may not be copied or republished in any form without the express written consent of the Next Level Purchasing Association. Click here to request republishing permission.

This is the Web-based version of this article. Click here for the printer-friendly version.