The City of Warren uses various types of solicitations in the procurement of goods and services.
Invitation to Bid
An Invitation to Bid (ITB) is sent to interested bidders for procurement of goods or services which can be readily defined and which bidders can be expected to easily identify and provide comparable pricing offers on. An ITB generally contains detailed specifications which have been designed in a straight-forward manner through a statement of requirements for the good or service, and requests a price quotation for the requested goods or services. Often there are many services. Often there are many vendors who possess the capability to satisfy the stated requirements and provide goods or services that meet the ITB's specifications.
Request for Proposal
A Request for Proposal (RFP) is similar to an ITB in that the cover document transmitting the RFP to potential bidders is the same document as that transmitting a standard ITB. The RFP differs from a standard ITB in that it typically does not detail exactly the good or service required by the requesting state agency, but instead identifies a particular problem or goal which the agency wishes to solve or obtain. The problem or goal is contained in. The problem or goal is contained in a section of the RFP called the Work Statement. The Work Statement is authored by the requesting department and is one of at least four distinct Sections which make up the RFP. The others are: Contractual Terms and Conditions, Bidding Information, and Information Required from Bidders. Additional sections may include samples, blueprints, exhibits, etc.
Bidders responding to RFPs are expected to study the problem/goal stated in the Work Statement and provide their one best solution for that problem/goal. The response which these bidders submit for this purpose is referred to as their Technical Proposal. The bidder's proposal must provide a description of the specific manner in which the bidder intends to solve the problem or attain the goal stated by the requesting agency in the Work Statement. Bidders must support their proposal by describing in their Technical Proposals their relevant experience and capabilities vis-à-vis the problem/goal. Their descriptions must include not only the capabilities and qualifications of their firm, but also of the personnel that they intend to assign to the project if awarded a contract. These Technical Proposals are typically evaluated by an ad hoc committee of city personnel chosen to serve on a Joint Evaluation Committee (JEC). All JEC's will have a representative from City Council and the Purchasing Office. In addition to these two principals, they usually have a representative from the requesting department and may have a technical representative with expertise in the subject matter.
Bidders responding to an RFP are also required to submit a separately sealed Price Proposal at the same time the Technical Proposal is submitted. Typically, however, these Price Proposals are not opened and evaluated until after the Technical Proposals have been evaluated by the JEC. The RFP process is generally more involved than the straight-forward procurement of goods and services using the standard ITB process.
Request for Information
A Request for Information (RFI) is used to solicit information only prior to the preparation of specifications for an unusually complex purchase of goods or services in which recent relevant information is not available to the requesting agency responsible for the specifications. An RFI is transmitted under cover of the letterhead of the Office of Purchasing.
The Office of Purchasing may request telephone bids because of rapidly fluctuating market prices, emergency conditions, or to expedite the bid process. Telephone bids are only acceptable at the request of the Office of Purchasing and must be confirmed in writing.
The Office of Purchasing may request bids to be submitted by facsimile machine. Under special circumstances to handle unique situations, or for those purchases made under the Quick Purchase Program, a buyer may request facsimile bids which must be followed up by submission of the original documentation, if requested.