Seal Design

5 Key Ingredients For An Effective Request For Quote


RFQs can make the difference between getting a good deal and a not so good deal on supply needs. Through an RFQ, a firm communicates what they need from the marketplace. What they get back in terms of price, quality, choice and functionality is determined largely by the clarity and quality of the RFQ. Effective RFQs secure for firms the best deal available. Ineffective RFQs do the opposite, leaving firms at risk of paying too much or ending up with unsuitable products or services.

The RFQ must include these key ingredients to communicate effectively your requirements:

1. Introduction and Executive Summary

This section describes the overall requirements and expectations for the job, including the end use of the product. Overall company and market information are usually included here. This section is important, as it summarizes a lot of necessary information before diving into specifics.

2. Business Overview (RFQ Header)

The business overview includes more detail about the intended end use for the product and any standards and certifications that must be met. Order details, quality requirements and delivery information should also be incorporated. O-Rings used for a medical device require a higher standard than an o-ring being used as an industrial bumper. This is why it is critical to give a higher level of detail in the end use of the product.

3. Detailed Specifications

This section is the “meat” of the proposal. Cover all product details and requirements in this section, such as product drawings, engineering tolerances, milestones, deliverables, timelines and technical or business requirements.  Words such as “will,” “shall” and “must” specify requirements. Understand your requirements so that you are not overpaying for unnecessary features.

One of the most common cost oversights is using standard drawing tolerance blocks with rubber components. Standard tolerance blocks are very tight for rubber components and incur significant cost. Use of industry standards, like ARPM, help to reduce cost. Use a material specification that meets your requirements. If the component will never see 212F, there is no need to specify a material that meets 400F. However, if material needs to be a medical grade or UL listed, make sure this is included in the RFQ.

It is difficult to sometimes know exactly what your requirements are. You know the part objectives, but what is the most efficient way to get there?  This is a good juncture to speak with an Apple Rubber Design Engineer. Apple Rubber will assign you a dedicated engineer to review your application requirements and collaborate with you on the part design. We will advise the benefits and limitations of materials for the types of applications that you have in mind.  We are familiar with the equipment and processes that will be used to manufacture the part, so we will bring realistic goals in product design, performance, and economics to the table.

Once a working drawing is established, we can move on to first article submissions and certification requirements. The more requirements known upfront, the more accurate and competitive the quote will be.

It’s important to note that scale impacts price. Tooling costs are noted as a nonrecurring engineering charge in Apple Rubber quotations. Competitive costing is achieved when the tool size and other capacity processes match the ordering quantity. A common error we see is submitting estimated annual usage quantity for a quote.  Quoting specifically for this annual usage falsely inflates the scale and presents a non-competitive and inaccurate cost. This sets up the costing analysis based on this one-time yearly purchase when in reality, that estimated annual usage is broken up into monthly, quarterly or even semiannual purchases, resulting in smaller scales. However, smaller scale does not necessarily result in lesser discounts as long the scale matches the capacity analysis.        

Apple Rubber acknowledges the difficulty in accurately predicting production volumes. Let us know if this is the case and we will gladly accommodate a quote covering anywhere from 50 pieces to 5 million pieces. We will specify the most cost-effective price breaks and present where a larger tool will yield the most savings at a certain quantity.

4. Terms and Conditions

In this section, you can add terms regarding payments, financing, delivery penalties and other terms that suppliers need to be aware of prior to quoting.

5. Contact Information

Here, you can list company and contact information for questions and clarifications. You should also state how you will communicate any updates to the RFQ so that suppliers can verify they are responding to the most current quote.  

To achieve the most efficient response times and minimize duplication of effort, submission of historical information is critical.  It is very common for projects to get shelved for a couple of years and then get resurrected. Sometimes, a company has previously purchased the parts that you are now directly buying. This usually entails a complete change in part number, which loses the history. Any historical information related to the part will help Apple Rubber in its research.  Rather than completely regenerating the costing analysis, it may be as simple as a costing update.

By incorporating these key elements in your request for quote, you can ensure you will secure the best deal available. To get more information about part design or the engineering process, speak to an Apple Rubber engineer directly.