What Is a Request for Proposal (RFP) In Logistics?


Freight shipping and logistics are complex industries with a lot of documentation and specific terms involved. For businesses who want to start working with a third-party logistics company, RFP is probably one of the first terms they will come across.

What does RFP stand for?

An RFP stands for Request for Proposal which is a document that outlines requirements for working with another business. It is designed to help align the company’s requirements for a certain service they want to get and contains important information about the business. In logistics and transportation, RFPs serve as proposal layouts to help find a 3PL that will best meet a business’s needs. This document is vital in helping the company find a suitable and reliable business partner to place a bid. Additionally, the company that writes an RFP also includes a request for information from another party to include in the bid.

Generally, the typical RFP can be split into 3 sections:

  • Information that you provide
  • Information that you request
  • Supplemental information such as bid forms

How to write a request for a proposal (RFP)?

Provide a basic background

It is imperative to give a decent background about your company, including your current business goals, and priorities. Describe the specifics of your business and give any basic information that can help bidders better understand your distribution needs. Keep in mind that potential 3PLs are also choosing between different customers, so a clear and compelling introduction might do the trick.

Describe a problem that needs to be solved

Instead of just stating the service you need, explain what specific pain points are within your business to give insight as to why you need the service. This will provide the clarity needed to allow the 3PL to understand the specific solution your business might need, which will result in a more fruitful collaboration.

Outline the essential requirements

Once company-centered sections are completed, it’s time to outline your mandatory requirement for the bidder. In this section, you should be as specific and detailed as possible. Describe the exact services, budget range, timeline, contract conditions, and technology requirements. Also include information about licenses and certifications, liabilities, and any other essential information you will need from the bidder. This will help your sort out candidates and choose more productively.

Creating an RFP with PLS Logistics

Our seasoned account executives will work closely with you to understand your business operations. We aim to deliver transportation solutions that save you time, money, and labor costs without diminishing the quality of service.

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