If you have ever worked in an agency, you know of the bittersweet RFP. A request for proposal (referred to as RFP) is an early stage in a procurement process, issuing an invitation for suppliers, often through a bidding process, to submit a proposal on a specific commodity or service. The RFP process brings structure to the procurement decision and allows the risks and benefits to be identified clearly upfront.
The RFP may dictate to varying degrees the exact structure and format of the supplier's response. The creativity and innovation that suppliers choose to build into their proposals may be used to judge supplier proposals against each other, at the risk of failing to capture consistent information between bidders and thus hampering the decision making process. Effective RFPs typically reflect the strategy and short/long-term business objectives, providing detailed insight upon which suppliers will be able to offer a matching perspective.