Sunday, July 14, 2013

A tip for when you’re buying machine vision

Request for Proposal (RFP) and Request for Quotation (RFQ) are not interchangeable terms. In recent weeks though I’ve seen them used as if there was no difference, so I thought it might be useful to clarify.

Now I’m no lawyer, and these terms have specific legal meanings, so rather than have you sue me because I didn’t get this quite right, I’m going to refer you to a couple of authoritative sources.

First off, let’s look at what UC Santa Cruze say. Summarizing, you use an RFP when you want to “generate a spectrum of alternative responses”.

Then Humbolt State university - - makes it clearer still. They say, “A Request for Proposal (RFP) is used when you know you have a problem but don’t know how you want to solve it.” In contrast, “A Request for Quote (RFQ) is commonly used when you know what you want but need information on how vendors would meet your requirements and/or how much it will cost.”

Applying these guidelines to our world, if you know what you want and just need to know the price, (if you’re buying 25mm lenses, for example,) send an RFQ. But if you want ideas for how best to inspect the product you make, send an RFP to a number of integrators.

I hope that clarifies things, and I hope I never see RFP and RFQ used interchangeably again.

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