Your company is beginning their search for a capable and reputable metal fabrication company to bring its next project to life. Your first step in beginning this process is to put together a comprehensive Project Request for Quote (RFQ) or Request for Proposal (RFP) so companies competing for your business can get a clear understanding of what your project is. This means organizing your project requirements, any relevant specifications and any available schedule and logistical information. When done effectively, this process helps reduce risk, increase stakeholder communication & collaboration and ensures beneficial project knowledge is shared between your company and the fabricator to ultimately deliver best value to the project Here are 6 tips on how to maximize the effectiveness of your procurement of custom metal fabrication. Provide proper drawings and specifications Knowing what you want is an important part of starting the project bidding process on the right foot. Providing proper drawings and specifications can help the responding company to accurately estimate, without having to put unnecessary buffers in their price to cover the unknown. Be open to initial discussion/collaboration Allow scope for input from the fabricator for innovation and cost saving options in your RFQ or RFP. This can really open the door for effective collaboration which drives value. An overabundance of detail in your RFQ or RFP requirements can result in the bidding company interpreting too many restraints placed upon them. This can mean unnecessary costs and missed opportunities for collaboration and open discussion. For example, you may choose a material grade that’s not perfectly suited to your project or very difficult to obtain, or over compensate on plans for a situation your company is unfamiliar with. Leaving some aspects of the specifications open to discussion means you’ll be placing some well-deserved trust in your fabricator. You’ll get the best advice out of your bidders and it will help foster a collaborative relationship between the stakeholders, which leads to increased efficiency and competitiveness. Request past project examples It’s easy for any fabrication firm to say they have ample experience in the type of fabrication specific to your project. Make sure that the responding company can provide past project profiles for at least 2 or 3 successful projects similar to the one you’re requesting bids for. Making sure your fabricator has a proven track record of success will help you to feel confident moving forward in the bidding process. Ask for photographs or applicable customer testimonials. If the fabricator can’t provide these, you’ll know to proceed with caution, enabling you to make the best decision for your project. Outline quality requirements Different applications for custom metal fabrication projects require different quality certifications and requirements. By outlining the quality requirements in your bid, responding companies can accurately respond with details of their experience in working on projects with similar requirements. In addition, speaking to quality standards that you’re unsure of can prohibit meaningful communication. Ask companies to project their knowledge of your quality requirements to gain insight to their expertise. They may well be able to provide you with additional knowledge of what is normally done in the industry. Clearly state your projects required schedule By clearly outlining your required project completion date, you’ll be proactively helping your company to weed out potential responding companies who may not have sufficient available shop space and could put your project off track and behind schedule down the line. By proposing a production timeline or schedule, companies should respond who can accommodate the projects time constraints. This is beneficial to opening communication lines between you and potential vendors for schedule visibility. Be clear about how the quote is to be submitted By clarifying how you expect a bid to come to you, your project will be able to get its wheels in motion more easily. Request that companies submitting quote proposals answer a specific set of requirements, allowing you to directly compare multiple proposals for missing information, exclusions or glaring inconsistencies. Clearly request in your RFQ or RFP that proposals be submitted to the correct department and specific project lead. Segment your RFQ or RFP into specific requests for pricing breakdowns on materials, as well as project specific safety and quality requirements. Correlate your terms at the end of your RFQ or RFP to include a standardized list of terms and conditions that the submitting company will inherently accept as a result of bidding on your project. The clearer and more regimented your RFQ or RFP is, the less risk of getting an incomplete proposal and requiring significant clarification. In turn, the more specific information you receive as a result, means you’ll spend less time wading through irrelevant information.