2-43.4 Soliciting Proposals

2-43.4.1 General

Simplified purchasing allows for the use of both oral and written solicitations. However, the nature and complexity of the requirement should be the deciding factor in determining the solicitation method. Because there should be a number of potential suppliers in the marketplace for commercially available goods and services, oral solicitations typically should suffice and prove the most efficient solicitation method.

2-43.4.2 Solicitation Requirements

Regardless of whether an oral or written solicitation is used, certain elements must be communicated to potential offerors when soliciting offers for simplified purchases. The solicitations must state all factors to be considered in the evaluation as well as the relative importance of price to those other factors (i.e., price is more important, less important, or as important as the evaluation factors). Evaluation factors should be concise and consistent with the expedited approach for acquisition of commercial goods or services. At least one evaluation factor must be used (see examples below). Evaluation factors help clarify the Postal Service’s objectives for a particular purchase, may result in important differentiations between proposals, and guide offerors in the development of their proposals. (See Section 2-26, Develop Proposal Evaluation Strategy, for more information on evaluation factors.) Due to the commercial nature of the goods or services to be procured, past performance and supplier capability need only be reviewed for the selected supplier. The following are examples of evaluation factors, which, depending on the purchase, may prove effective in evaluating proposals for simplified purchases:

2-43.4.3 Relative Importance of the Evaluation Factors

Simplified purchasing solicitations do not need to disclose the relative importance assigned to the individual evaluation factors.

2-43.4.4 Oral Solicitations

Oral solicitations provide for the verbal communication of Postal Service requirements to potential suppliers without the need to prepare formal solicitation documents. Oral solicitations may be supplemented with written specifications, delivery schedules, information concerning any specialized aspect of the purchase, or any other information necessary for the offeror to provide a complete response or written proposal. Oral solicitations must inform the potential supplier of the requirements of the purchase, establish a date and time for receipt of oral or written proposals, and provide that any resulting contract will include all required clauses and provisions (see Section 2-43.11, Clauses and Provisions).

  1. The following information must be communicated to suppliers when conducting an oral solicitation:
    1. A description of the supplies or services to be purchased.
    2. The quantities needed.
    3. The contract type.
    4. The required delivery date.
    5. The complete delivery address.
    6. Any other information pertinent to the purchase, including the basis for selection of award, the relative importance of price in the purchase, and the evaluation factors that will be used to evaluate the proposal.
  2. The following information must be obtained from the supplier:
    1. Full name, address, and telephone number of the firm.
    2. Name of contact person.
    3. Type of business.
    4. Tax Identification Number (TIN).
    5. Price and technical proposals.
    6. Discount terms.
    7. Delivery date.
    8. Free on board (f.o.b.) point.
    9. Any other information pertinent to the purchase such as product literature, product samples, technical features, and warranty provisions.
  3. Solicitation and supplier obtained information must be documented and included in the contract file (see Section 2-43.9, Contract Files for Simplified Purchases for more information about contract file requirements).

2-43.4.5 Written Solicitations

Written solicitations provide for the communication of Postal requirements to offerors and should contain the same elements as oral solicitations. However, because the written solicitation is most likely being used for more complex requirements, additional elements, such as a detailed statement of work, specifications, and salient characteristics of the commercial good or service, may be required for inclusion. Written solicitations should be considered for use where solicited suppliers have not previously done business with the Postal Service, the requirement has not previously been purchased, or where participating suppliers are not familiar with Postal solicitation provisions and contract terms and conditions. For information about requirements for written solicitations, see Sections 2-2, Start Request for Proposal (RFP) Development, 2-24, Review and Finalize Request for Proposals (RFP), and 2-27, Issue RFPs and Publicize Requirements.