County Reduces Staff Time and Lowers Costs with e-Procurement

The Challenge

Hamilton County, nestled along the Tennessee River and home to nearly 340,000 people, recognized there was a need to modernize how it did business. The costs and labor associated with their manual procurement process had simply become unsustainable. Each month, the limited administrative staff copied and delivered via certified mail thousands of pages of documents, addenda and plans, in addition to managing their vendor lists and advertising.

As a public agency, they understood that a new system would have to be fast and easy to use for their vendors and it had to be reliable. Whether they were buying vehicles or body armor for the police force, the procurement process had to be trusted by both the administrators and vendors.

The Solution

“The transition couldn’t have been easier,” states Virginia Grosso, Purchasing Agent when talking about the move to eBid Systems.

To encourage vendors to self-register on the new, online portal, postcards and emails were sent to all existing vendors. The task of maintaining vendor information, whether it involved keeping insurance documents up to date or identifying product and service categories of interest, was transitioned to each vendor that now how access to their profile through a web portal. The customized vendor registration system also allowed the capture of supplier diversity information to determine the availability disadvantaged business enterprises for a particular commodity.

The eBid Systems platform offered centralized access to all bid postings for all vendors, and upon registering, the ability to view invitation-only requests for quote or requests for proposal. The County’s administrators were also able to access transaction logs to assess the level interest for each sourcing event, view message delivery records, and track the download of posted bid documents.

The Results

Thanks to their easily accessible public bid postings and vendor registration portal, Hamilton County now receives more competitive bids. While past bid solicitations received limited competition from local vendors, the web portal is now able to draw from a larger pool of qualified suppliers. With online document distribution, they have also seen costs associated with copying and mailing reduced by 75%. In addition, the staff time and resources they once devoted to their procurement process have been cut in half.

Hamilton County’s apprehensions about the reliability and integrity of a new online system were quickly put to rest. Whether requesting to modify a vendor registration form or seeking help regarding how to use the system, they have come to appreciate the value of software-as-a-service. “Our biggest concern was always reliability. We are so pleased with eBid Systems and how responsive their support has been… One quick call and they take care of it.”