How to Write an RFQ for CNC Machining Companies

Companies that have a need to contract out the manufacture of precision parts would be well advised to shop around to several CNC machining companies. CNC (Computer Numerical Control) operated machines use a computer that drives a machine tool, allowing fast production of very precisely machined parts.

In order to find the best CNC machining companies for the job, it is necessary to have a well-written RFQ (Request For Quote). An RFQ is different from an RFP (Request For Proposal) in that an RFP is a more general document put out by clients who have a vague idea of what they want but haven't nailed down the details. An RFQ is a specific document that includes all requirements of the finished pieces. When looking for CNC machining companies, RFQs are more likely to be the document of choice.

In order to get realistic and accurate bids from potential manufacturers, it is important to follow a few rules to create a well-written document.

Describe the project completely.

The CNC machining companies don't know anything about you or your project unless you tell them. If you want only local shops, say so. If you expect a certain delivery schedule, make that clear. The better you explain what you are looking for, the fewer unusable bids you'll get.

Provide detailed requirements.

List exact measurements, including tolerances, and include a diagram. If you need the part to be made of 6061 Aluminum, don't just say "metal". Make sure to differentiate between mandatory requirements and optional features. Be reasonable about the mandatory requirements as unreasonable requirements will lead to few bids and the bids received will be extremely high.

Give plenty of lead time.

Sometimes you really need a project done ASAP, but the longer lead time you can provide, the more CNC machining companies you will have bidding.

Write from the machinist's point of view.

You already know what you want, but for the best results, write your RFQ in terms that CNC machining companies can easily relate to. The more of their terms you can use, the easier it will be for CNC machining companies to relate to the work involved and provide an accurate bid.

List scoring criteria.

If you are planning to simply give the project to the lowest bidder, then specify that. If you will give weight to factors such as experience and workmanship guarantees, you will get a broader range of bids that allow you to balance cost vs. results.

Different CNC machining companies often have different specialties and experience, so putting out an RFQ can be a good way to locate the exact capabilities your business needs.

Nothing is more frustrating than the confusion resulting from miscommunication. Both sides think they have done what was required by the agreement, and yet neither side is happy. By providing clear and detailed project specifications, both you and the CNC machining companies you work with will be happier.

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