Q. I am involved in a couple of technical procurements for a new 800MHz Radio System and an Interactive Voice Response system and am having trouble identifying FTA's position on RFIs. We have performed a needs assessment but are concerned that the current technology may offer features and benefits that we are not aware of. We want to provide as much benefit to our customers as possible as well as develop our specification to be as thorough as possible, we plan to use an RFI to obtain information from equipment manufacturers in order to determine what technology and features are available to us. After reviewing the manufacturers responses and presentations we plan to incorporate any additional technologies or features into our procurement technical specifications.
A. FTA has no problem with your agency doing market research via RFIs in order to ascertain what technology is available in the marketplace and to assist in developing a performance specification that would allow maximum competition. You must be cautious not to use a particular vendor's specifications to develop your specification, as this would be restrictive of competition. We would see no problem with obtaining vendor catalogue prices if they are available publicly, but we would not suggest you obtain price quotations from vendors that are based on your specific equipment requirements. Another acceptable approach would be to acquire a list of the various vendors’ customers and contact them to see what they paid for similar equipment under competitive conditions. (Posted: January, 2013)