Cornell University Ensures Accurate Vendor Information Through E-Bidding Software

The Challenge

Cornell University is among the country’s oldest and most elite Universities. This Ivy League school was founded in 1865, and consistently ranks in the top 10 nationally for its academic reputation. It has approximately 21,500 students, 1,600 professors, and 43 Nobel laureates.

Cornell University led many other institutions of its kind by implementing e-procurement bidding systems in 2004 and 2011. While these software products provided an improvement over manual processes, they were not “user friendly” and many common tasks required too many steps. This became problematic because vendors struggled to submit bids and regularly required assistance from procurement staff.

Therefore, it was time to find a more efficient software.  In their evaluation of a new system, the university hoped to find one that would accommodate their unique business needs. They wanted a system which could be easy to use for the suppliers, support the sealed bidding process as well as provide other functions such as supplier prequalification and approval.

The Solution

After an extensive evaluation of all their e-procurement options, Cornell University determined eBid Systems was the best software to fit their needs. Staff members and selected vendors tested the product and found it user friendly and efficient.

Key functionality elements of the new system, such as online bid submissions allowed the University to reduce administrative time in the procurement process. By receiving vendor pricing and answers to questions in forms tailored for each solicitation, bids could be automatically tabulated and responses easily compared side by side. “The new system eliminates manual data-entry steps and allows us to easily compare bid responses,” said Jay Porter, Strategic Sourcing Manager at Cornell University.

The eBid Systems supplier management portal, which is available from a link on the University’s website, provides online supplier registration, posting of solicitations, and allows online bid submission, eliminating paper and postal costs from the sourcing process.

Understanding that evaluating bids will always be a time-consuming process, the University uses an “invite-only” approach and is selective in the potential vendors that are invited to bid. “Some companies offered us a big database of prospective suppliers and promoted that we would see a big increase of responses by sending it out to their database,” said sourcing manager Jay Porter. “We did not see the benefit of getting lots of responses from unqualified suppliers. We love that eBid Systems lets us build our own database of highly-qualified suppliers.” With their new platform, Cornell utilizes self-managed vendor accounts, which ensures up-to-date, accurate vendor information.

While Cornell is a private university, the ability to audit sourcing activities is very important to the University. According to Cindy Jefferson, Director of Strategic Sourcing, “It is important that I have oversight into the sourcing process to ensure we are competing major procurements according to industry best-practices.” The eBid software platform logs transactions, enforces deadlines, and can seal bids to prevent premature disclosure of information. eBid Systems has helped Cornell University implement efficient sourcing, reduce manual processes and realize the full potential of e-procurement in an academic environment.