Last month's column described the information needed to make a request for proposal (RFP) useful to both the company issuing it and the vendors who must respond. But RFPs and the formalized process they represent are not needed in all purchasing situations. Several other approaches are available. Which approach is chosen depends mostly on two factors: how well the company understands its requirements and how familiar it is with the potential vendors. These are summarized in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Factors Determining Chosen Approach to Purchase

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