Contact us
Thank you for your message, we'll come back to you shortly.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Home   >Collaboration 101

What is RFx?

October 5, 2023

If you work in procurement, sourcing, purchasing, supply chain, or even consulting and sales you’ve probably run into the term “RFx."  You might be wondering what it means.

“RFx” is an acronym. It describes a set of document requests made by an acquiring organization during the purchase process.

The RF stands for "Request For", and x represents different requests.

What documents does the “x” in RFx represent?

In the family of RFxs, the specific types of documents can include:

  • RFI - Request for Information
  • RFP - Request for Proposal
  • RFQ -  Request for Quote
  • RFT - Request for Tender
  • RFN -  Request for Negotiation (less common)

Are these requests ordered? 

In a word yes.  Depending on where the organization is in their process (e.g., problem identification, solution exploration, vendor selection) the organization might elect to issue an RFI, RFP, or RFQ.  While the exact order depends on the specific needs and processes of the organization, we can provide a general guideline based on our experience: 

  1. RFI (Request for Information)
  • Purpose: Gathers general information about products, services, or vendors.
  • When Used: When the organization is exploring possible solutions or vendors and wants to understand the landscape without requesting specific solutions or pricing. Used early in the process when the organization has identified the problem but not necessarily how to approach or solve the problem.

  1. RFP (Request for Proposal)
  • Purpose: Solicits proposals that will meet specific requirements or solve a particular problem.
  • When Used: When the organization has a clear understanding of their needs but is open to different solutions on how those needs might be met. This might be used after an RFI has helped to identify a range of possible solutions.
TakeTurns simplifies how you work with your vendors on RFx

  1. RFQ (Request for Quote)
  • Purpose: Gathers pricing information for specific products or services.
  • When Used: When the organization knows exactly what it wants and needs specific pricing information. This could come after an RFP has helped to define the solution or if the purchasing organization is buying commoditized goods and simply needs to find the best price.
  1. RFT (Request for Tender)
  • Purpose: Officially invites vendors to bid on detailed project specifications.
  • When Used: Mostly used in public sector purchasing, it might be used instead of an RFP in situations where there are clear specifications and compliance standards that need to be met (e.g., purchases of commodities like bananas).  
  1. RFN (Request for Negotiation)
  • Purpose: Engages potential vendors in negotiation.
  • When Used: When the purchasing organization wants to negotiate aspects like delivery, payment terms, or other factors with potential vendors before a contract is awarded. This might be used after an RFP and RFQ have identified suitable vendors, or it might be used earlier in the process if the purchasing organization feels negotiation is necessary to identify viable vendors.

Remember, each type of RFx serves a different purpose and is used at different stages in the procurement process. For example, an organization might issue an RFI to understand what solutions are available in the marketplace, then issue an RFP to gather detailed proposals and pricing, and finally, an RFQ to get detailed pricing from the shortlist of contenders. Each RFx document helps in making the sourcing and procurement process systematic and transparent.


There are a lot of interesting resources on the web that are worth reviewing on this topic

  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania “Procurement Services How Tos
  • The major tech analysts, Gartner and Forrester have plenty of support for subscribers who are building RFPs and RFIs.


Recent articles