How do I request information on a product?

Why Information Requests?

Information Requests (IRs) allow project teams to send a message to a manufacturer requesting their participation in Portico, and to have that request be tracked to the manufacturer, to the requested product(s), and to the project requesting the information. This allows projects to see which products have already been requested and initiate any followup, and it allows manufacturers to see which products have been explicitly requested as well. IRs are issued to the manufacturer via email.

Where to Start

Information Requests can be initiated in one of three ways:

  • From a product profile
  • From a manufacturer profile ("Products" tab)
  • From a project ("Information Requests" tab)

If initiating the request from a product or manufacturer profile, you will be prompted to select which project is the context for the request. If initiating the request from a project, you will be prompted to select the manufacturer from whom you are requesting information.

Completing an Information Request

When filling out the request, you will have the option to select an existing template as a starting point to edit (and a default template may already be selected for you). These templates can be edited globally by partner account administrators, or at the project level by project administrators (see "How do I set up a project?").

As with composing an email, the request form includes a send-to field, prepopulated with any suggested contacts (see below), a subject line, and a message body. The message body in an IR may include "smart fields" such as "{Company_Name}" and "{Product_List}" which will be populated during the Preview stage. One or more products may be selected for inclusion in the product list for the request.

After the message is drafted, you will have a chance to preview the IR before it is sent. Please make sure to send the request when it is final. A copy of the message will be sent to your email as well, and your email address will be included in the reply-to field of the email sent to the manufacturer. This enables the manufacturer to contact you directly if they have questions about the product application as it pertains to your design project, if they need to clarify which product or variation is requested, or if they want to direct you to any existing listings in Portico that may be relevant to the request.

Yes. Keeping information requests in the context of a project ensures the privacy of design projects, so that a request that may include sensitive information about a project is not visible to all Portico users. If you are requesting information for general purposes, such as to build up a firm library of vetted products, or to conduct a targeted transparency campaign, we still recommend setting up a project to keep track of such requests.

Yes! In fact, this is encouraged. Manufacturers prefer to receive one request which includes all the products under consideration for a project, rather than several messages in a row for individual products. However, if you have particular interest in one product or a select few products, it is helpful to communicate that as well, as this helps manufacturers prioritize their product submissions when many are requested at once.

When initiating an IR from an individual product profile, you will still have the chance to select additional products by that manufacturer to include in the request.

No. Each information request is tracked to a specific manufacturer, and as such, each has its own contact information and product selection that needs to be edited. We also encourage a more personal style of communication which cannot be done in bulk. For example, you may wish to commend the manufacturer for product submissions already completed, or make reference to a previous connection with a sales representative. In the same way that a personal email is more likely to be read than a mass email, thoughtful communication in an IR is more likely to yield thoughtful response by the manufacturer.

When composing an Information Request, suggested contact emails may be prepopulated in the send-to field. These are drawn from existing contacts previously added by project teams or by the manufacturer, and are populated based on the following order:

  • Designated information request contacts - Manufacturers who have already registered in Portico and have multiple team members may designate one or more users as an Information Request contact, to indicate that they should be prioritized to receive future requests.
  • Previously contacted company members - If the manufacturer has not designated any IR contacts but your project has previously sent an information request to the manufacturer, the same contacts used for the most recent request will be prepopulated
  • Company administrators - When a designated IR contact has not yet been provided, and no request has previously been sent, any company administrators who have previously registered will be prepopulated.

For a full list of possible available contacts for a manufacturer, visit their company profile. From the Users tab, you can see which users (if any) have already registered for that company, and what their company roles are.

If your send-to field includes emails of users who have previously been archived, you will see a warning message prompting you to remove their email address from the request. Users may be archived if their emails have been found to be invalid (based on automated mail server messages) or if they are no longer with the company.

An alternate contact can be added to or substituted for suggested contacts by simply adding a new email address to the send-to field of an information request. This automatically invites them to join the company account when they register for Portico. When they register, a request for approval to join the company account will be sent to the registered company administrator(s), if any are available, or if they are the first to register, the request will go to the Portico support team for approval.

We recommend only suggesting contacts from the company in question, ideally to an email address with a domain that matches the company's website domain (e.g. user@acmeinc.com, for a company Acme, Inc with website www.acmeinc.com) to make sure that they represent the company in question, as opposed to third party consultants or distributors. Once registered, the company representative can always enlist the help of colleagues or consultants to complete their product submissions.

Alternate contacts can also be suggested directly via the company profile's Users tab, with the same approval process as described above.

As with any email, there are times when an information request goes unanswered, and you may wonder if it was received. The Portico support team makes an effort to monitor any errors received from information requests sent, and to notify the IR sender if needed. For example, if an IR is sent to an email address that is misspelled or no longer active, an automated mail server response will come to our support email with an error code to that effect. Our support team monitors these messages, archives invalid user email accounts in Portico, and notifies IR senders via email when an IR sent is known not to have reached its intended recipient(s).

Some users or companies may also have spam protection enabled which may erroneously filter out or block Portico messages. If you hear from a manufacturer that they have not received a request, you may wish to recommend that they add support@healthymaterials.net to their safe sender list. See related recommendations under "I'm having trouble logging in."


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Photo: Mithun