RFX, which is one of the most common acronyms in the strategic sourcing and procurement landscape, is a catch-all term that captures all references to Request for Information (RFI), Request for Proposal (RFP), Request for Quote (RFQ), and Request for Bid (RFB). The RFX process is probably one of the most difficult e-Sourcing processes to define as it can range from a simple one-time RFQ to a complex multi-stage RFI / RFP / RFQ process, depending on the needs of the project. The complexity of the RFX process is determined by, among other factors, the completeness of the requirements, the number of suppliers that have been qualified, expected competition in the supplier base, inherent risk in the sourcing effort, and projected savings or cost avoidance opportunities.
Each of the RFX types has a different primary goal. The primary goal of an RFI is to maximize potential decision points while keeping supplier evaluation costs low. The end goal of an RFP is to determine which suppliers are likely to be the most capable of meeting organizational needs and to select those suppliers that should be invited to submit bids. The final goal of an RFQ, and an RFB in the public sector, is usually to make an award decision.
The RFX process is often enabled by an e-RFX platform that enables and automates (parts of) the RFX process. Although there are distinct differences between any sampling of RFX platforms and products that a buyer may choose to review, there are a number of commonalities as well. Most platforms have a centralized data repository, templates for common bids and quotes, survey support, workflow capability, and side-by-side reporting.
For more information on e-RFX platform requirements, and best practices, see the introductory e-Sourcing wiki paper on e-RFX for Total Value Management. For tips on RFX construction, best practices, and platform selection, see the following posts.