Go big or go home: Jumping in with both feet with bids&tenders
Online bid submissions in the first 6 months
Average bid submissions per opportunity
The Municipality of North Perth is a vibrant, growing community, offering the best of rural and small urban environments. Located in the northern reaches of Perth County in the heart of Southwestern Ontario, over 10,560 residents and 350 businesses enjoy North Perth’s small-town feel and close proximity to large urban areas. The Municipality of North Perth includes such urban areas as Atwood, Monkton, Gowanstown, Kurtzville and Listowel, all surrounded by farming communities. With a dynamic and growing business commercial sector, and an eye on the future, the Municipality was looking to improve its bids and tenders process and establish best practices to complement this growth.
We wanted bids&tenders done right the first time. We knew eSolutionsGroup had the professionals to help us standardize our procedures and train us in different bid scenarios. They could also customize the solution to meet our specific needs.
North Perth’s procurement process relied primarily on paper and many binders holding photo copies of bids, addenda, tracking sheets, letters and required documents. One staff member had primary responsibility for most administrative tasks, with two others assisting for specific types of bids.
The procurement department planned to hire a full-time resource to manage bid and tender opportunities. North Perth desired a system that would streamline the process, make things easier for staff, including the new hire, and simplify the steps for vendors. Staff envisioned an end-to-end solution that would support the Municipality’s goals of accountability, transparency, and fairness for all interactions with current and prospective vendors.
We chose to jump in with both feet and go completely electronic with eBidding. Our staff has been phenomenal. We’ve really learned a lot, and got buy-in right from the beginning, which is what we needed to make this project a success.
Growing an established relationship
North Perth had enlisted the help of eSolutionsGroup for previous online projects, including its municipal website. With the success of these projects and eSolutionsGroup’s expertise in online procurement, a project was initiated that led to bids&tenders with eBidding launching in November 2015.
bids&tenders has introduced a “green” way of processing bids for the Municipality, reducing its carbon footprint. Instead of going through stacks of paper, bids are posted online, accessible 24/7 for vendors, and scheduled to automatically close on specific dates and times.
The automatic price calculations and addenda notifications are really slick, save so much time for our staff, and ensure accuracy. These were really big wins for us.
bids&tenders tackles many administrative tasks that were previously time-consuming. The system guarantees quick bid closings and generates a summary sheet ranking submissions from lowest to highest. Prices are automatically calculated eliminating errors and saving hours of time that previously would have been used for verifying costs.
Staff has increased its productivity because there are fewer daily interruptions. Fewer vendors have to visit the office or call in with questions pertaining to awarded contracts. Some bids are also awarded sooner making the process timelier and more efficient.
A system to grow with
North Perth especially appreciates that bids&tenders can evolve as its needs change, and that the solution can be customized for specific bid types. The implementation has helped staff create consistent templates with standardized eBidding terminology - a huge plus when introducing new staff to the process. Standard templates save time as staff can copy and edit similar tenders and RFPs, rather than creating them from scratch.
We’re creatures of habit. It’s easy to repeat the same way of doing things because it’s always been done a certain way. The change is progressive, but once you realize the benefits of a system like bids&tenders with eBidding, you see how it makes sure all the checks and balances are in place. bids&tenders has not only enhanced our whole process; it’s been especially beneficial for the community and vendors as well.
bids&tenders has been a catalyst for creating other improvements. Senior staff is now taking more time to understand submission requirements and review bids carefully. Procurement staff continues to refine the procurement policy and create checklists to assist staff with creating and reviewing bids. Staff now asks, “What do we want the end result of the bidding process to be?” This type of inquiry helps the Municipality verify that it is getting the best services at competitive prices.
Long-term vendor relations
bids&tenders has ultimately been about developing long-term, positive vendor relationships. Vendors submit bids, WSIB and insurance documents, and eBonds online at their convenience, saving time and money. The Municipality now has a database of registered vendors – something it feels is priceless.
North Perth procurement staff invited a group of smaller vendors to provide feedback on bids&tenders shortly after it launched. They commented that the process was more streamlined, and “the way of the future.” Since the Municipality works extensively with engineers in the preparation of bidding documents, it hopes to conduct third-party training with this group to further its knowledge of the bids&tenders process.
Transparency and accountability are huge for us as a municipality, so bids&tenders is a perfect fit. Emails are sent out automatically and tracked for addenda, and award and rejection communications. This ensures no one is left out. The whole electronic process shows every step with a time stamp on everything – so important for our records and audit trail.
We’ve been very happy with the whole process. eSolutions made the experience very rewarding and went above and beyond to help us. They continue to answer our questions quickly and have our back. Leveraging their expertise has been invaluable and we’re already seeing the results.