RFQs Online—What Do You REALLY Think?

Request For Quote (RFQ) sites are generating more interest around machining shops and plants these days. For the uninitiated, RFQ sites allow “buyers” of services to post work online, allow prospective “suppliers” to review and “quote” on those jobs, and empower the buyers to then award jobs to one or more of the participants. RFQ models also vary in how they charge to participate and where their customer service is focused (how follow-up and post-award feedback are handled).

Request For Quote (RFQ) sites are generating more interest around machining shops and plants these days. For the uninitiated, RFQ sites allow “buyers” of services to post work online, allow prospective “suppliers” to review and “quote” on those jobs, and empower the buyers to then award jobs to one or more of the participants.

RFQ models also vary in how they charge to participate and where their customer service is focused (how follow-up and post-award feedback are handled). Some espouse the “reverse-auction” model (price as the primary awarding factor), while others promote different attributes (shop’s experience, engineering collaboration, qualifications and so on).

Confused? Well, get in line.

It’s a confusing time for these models and those sorting through them for viable business solutions.

But a few things are clear. For one, online RFQ models aren’t going away soon, whether they are unique online entities or in support of established sources’ existing bid processes.

And these models have—for better or for worse—opened up “value” for debate on many levels. Do these RFQ models lower the bar for reputable suppliers by forcing the buyer to focus primarily on price? Do these models allow buyers and shops to adequately factor the value of experience, reliability, qualifications, technology and integrity into the award process? Have these models exposed shops to valuable markets and sources that never would have been found otherwise?

These are not just rhetorical questions—we really want to know what you think about RFQ models.

As an admired friend of mine once said, online RFQ models “sure can be convenient, but (they’re) no bargain if they can’t deliver the goods.”