An Innovative Approach to Traditional Solicitation Methods

The National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) recently released its annual report – "Top 10 Priorities for State Procurement 2020" – based on input from state CPO’s. In a series highlighting the priorities in greater detail, we will explore how you can achieve several priorities for your organization.

Keeping up with the details of multiple procurement processes can be difficult and time-consuming, and traditional solicitation methods often mean that you select the vendor with the lowest bid but this often just leads to reduced quality and efficiency gains. Streamlining your workflow by centralizing all solicitation and bid activity could be the way forward.

With more information now available, we know that making your decision not just on price looking past just the price can result in better service and quality, and reduce issues later. With the right solutions in place, you can now extract more value from the sourcing process by collecting and analyzing past vendor data, as well as having real-time market pricing to make a more detailed buying decision.

While the procurement process is quite complex for any organization to handle, it also presents numerous opportunities to streamline processes, improve demand forecasting, increase operational efficiency, lower costs, and foster innovation in other business units.

Innovative spend management solution providers such as Proactis can provide configurable and secure, cloud-based reverse auction service to match the exact requirements of each event, for example. Online reverse auction bidders are anonymous to each other and compete in a fixed-duration, online transaction by sending decreasing offers in price until a specified end date/time, in response to an invitation to bid or RFP.

Competitive bidding should be positively encouraged, as the more competition there is, the more savings you will achieve. In order to ensure a competitive bid, at least three suppliers should be involved. Providing a clear and specific statement of your specifications and requirements, so that vendors can provide their best pricing and prevent a “no award” is vital. You only want what you need and so getting the specification right is key. The success or failure of an event can be traced back to the vendors so educating them on the tool, process, etc. will benefit both parties. It also levels the playing field, provides fair and transparent competition and all vendors can participate and compete.

As mentioned earlier, it is important to look past price, and there are tools out there that, if allowed under your policies, use a “best-value” process. This ensures that you are getting the best quality service AND price.

Innovative Solicitation Management solutions enable buying organizations to manage RFPs, RFQs and all solicitations from one platform, while managing electronic document distribution, vendors efficiently and effectively. These solutions, such as those from Proactis, streamline the bid creation to award process for a more efficient, compliant and transparent events.

For more than nineteen years, Proactis has extended in-house buyer expertise for both direct and indirect spend – even for the most unconventional reverse auction projects. The process drives operational efficiencies and additional value – freeing up your team’s time to focus on more strategic initiatives. Additionally, you only need to use it when it’s appropriate, and not be charged when not in use.