Selecting Technology Vendors: Issuing RFPs

A well-executed Request for Proposal (RFP) process can facilitate efficient and effective selection of a technology vendor or group of vendors. These resources show you how.

What is an RFP?

A request for proposals (RFP) is a public document prepared by a company with the goal of soliciting the best possible product or service for their specific project or organization.  In the seafood sector, RFPs are an excellent tool for soliciting comprehensive, cost-effective bids for seafood traceability technologies from qualified vendors.

Why Use an RFP? 

Issuing an RFP for seafood traceability technologies encourages companies to outline the specific service required for their project or system, and allows companies to efficiently and effectively: 
  • discover vendors  able to meet the technical, service, and support requirements necessary 
  • solicit competitive bids, and 
  • compare and contrast potential service providers.   
An RFP effectively communicates a company’s request to the broadest audience possible, bypassing the need to research or vet individual vendor capacities one-by-one. Additionally, RFPs address the fact that few companies in existence have the capacity to implement robust, full-chain traceability within the seafood sector.  If submitted via an open platform such as TAST-T, the RFP process creates a transparent opportunity for collaboration between vendors, promoting joint solutions that combine or adjust existing technologies by utilizing or creating interoperable systems for a full-chain traceability solution.

Roles and Requirements for Vendors

The RPF process allows technology vendors to be specific in their response, gauge an appropriate cost proposal for their technology, and submit questions to the issuer for clarification.  Vendors may be asked to provide information such as client testimonials, estimated project costs, materials and processes to be used, projected timeline, and, where applicable, explain how two or more technologies might work together to create multi-node or a full-chain traceability technology solution.

Describing Business Needs

Future of Fish recommends including the following elements in any seafood traceability RFP:  
  • Clearly describe project background and goals 
  • Determine any project-specific compliance and certification needs
  • Identify Key Data Elements and Critical Control Points within the supply chain
  • Establish functionality requirements
  • Determine technology constraints and expectation
  • Articulate the desired value or values and return on investment 
For template and details regarding content, design, and dissemination of an RFP, please see the RFP Template and RFP Guide Deck.