Identify and qualify potential suppliers.


Consistent with internal organizational policy, the acquisition strategy, and project scope and requirements, the acquirer identifies potential suppliers to receive the solicitation. The acquirer can identify suppliers from a variety of sources (e.g., staff, international seminars, market analysis reports, pre-established schedules).

In some organizations, acquirers may solicit proposals from a limited number of suppliers to reduce their cost and efforts for the solicitation. Acquirers should, however, ensure that they include suppliers who are capable of meeting the requirements and that a sufficient number of suppliers are included to provide a competitive environment. This competition enhances the leverage of the acquirer in achieving its objectives (e.g., providing different approaches to meeting requirements). In some cases, the organization prequalifies preferred suppliers from which an acquirer can choose provided the preferred suppliers meet the specific needs of the project. Choosing from preferred suppliers can greatly reduce the effort and time required for solicitation.

Depending on applicable regulations and project characteristics, the acquirer can determine to pursue a sole-source acquisition rather than a competitive bid. Acquirers should document the rationale for determining potential suppliers, particularly in the case of sole-source selection.

Example Work Products

  1. List of potential suppliers prepared to respond to the solicitation


1. Develop a list of potential suppliers.

To develop a list of potential suppliers, the acquirer considers which suppliers have experience with similar systems or projects, the performance the acquirer has experienced with suppliers on previous projects, which suppliers are likely to provide the capabilities needed for the project, and the availability of critical resources to staff and support the project. In addition to assessing supplier capabilities, a risk assessment is prepared on the suppliers’ financial capabilities (e.g., credit worthiness, financial stability, and access to capital and the impact to the supplier of a successful bid).

2. Communicate with potential suppliers concerning the forthcoming solicitation.

The acquirer contacts suppliers to outline plans for the solicitation, including the projected schedule for releasing the solicitation package and expected dates for responses from suppliers. If a supplier expresses interest in responding to the solicitation, the appropriate confidentiality agreements are put in place.


Typical communication to candidate suppliers includes the following:
  • Anticipated scope of the solicitation
  • Schedule for release of the solicitation package
  • Overall project schedule
  • Approach and procedures to be used throughout the solicitation process
  • High-level criteria for evaluating proposal responses
  • Required supplier qualifications
  • Schedule for the return of proposals
  • Date when the supplier must indicate if it will or will not participate in the solicitation

3. Verify participants who will evaluate supplier proposals.

4. Verify participants in supplier negotiations.