Published: Jan 2005
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AS WITH MANY OTHER COMMODITIES FORGINGS are produced to meet a particular need and in most organizations forging procurement is handled by a purchasing department. This group is expected to deal with all the materials, equipment, and components that are required to meet the manufacturing needs of the organization. The purchasing agent is the crucial link between the producer and the user. The purchase order (PO) is the vehicle used to convey the user's needs to the forging supplier, but before a purchase order is issued the purchaser needs to know that the material can be supplied, what it will cost, and when it can be supplied. This is usually achieved by asking for a quotation from one or more potential vendors. In U.S. Government parlance, such documents are known variously as an invitation for bid (IFB), request for proposal (RFP), or a request for quotation (RFQ). The RFP and the purchase order should be essentially the same at the very least in technical content. There may be several steps in this path and more than one purchasing entity may be involved. Quotation requests are often made to support an industrial exercise intended to confirm the feasibility of a design project and may never result in an actual purchase, but in any event the RFP should mirror as closely as possible the eventual purchase order, but taking into account changes that are the result of comments or exceptions taken by the selected supplier. Even in the apparently simple situation of the purchase of a fully completed forging, such as a forged crankshaft for a diesel locomotive from an integrated forging company, although the order for the crankshaft is placed directly from the engine builder to the manufacturer, the forge shop has to purchase materials to make the steel and the forging, as well as supplies such as nuts and bolts and oil hole plugs. From this then it is clear that not only are the request for pricing and the purchase order an indispensable part of the transaction, but the specification(s) that the forgings are made to become of major importance as well.