Water Utility Achieves Sourcing System ROI in First Month

The Challenge

The Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) has been managing the water and sewer systems of the Hartford, CT region since 1929. MDC’s procurement department struggled with a manual, expensive, and labor-intensive manual procurement process, which relied on private lists, email correspondence, and persistent phone calls from suppliers.

As a public agency, MDC’s goal is to be consistently fair and transparent in their procurement process. However, their previous bidding process was involving a limited pool of suppliers vying for advantage behind the scenes. The challenge was to implement a system that imposed transparency over their procurement process, converted manual procedures to an easy-to-use, automated system and delivered operational efficiencies and cost savings.

The Solution

eBid Systems worked closely with the MDC procurement management team to deploy their integrated software with features to manage suppliers, sourcing, and bidding. eBid Systems configured their e-procurement platform specific to the needs of the agency. As part of their supplier management process, MDC instituted self-registration to eliminate the burden and expense of maintaining contact data for thousands of suppliers.

To ensure a transparent procurement process, solicitations and automated plan holder lists are publicly posted, enabling not only contractors a centralized view, but potential subcontractors as well. Once registered, vendors have complete online access to view and download plans and documents, including addenda. All of these actions are automatically logged and available for administrators to review, ensuring a consistent and auditable procurement process.

The Results

While MDC has saved over $20,000 a year in postage and substantially cut costs associated with printing and advertising, perhaps the biggest savings MDC has realized since implementing eBid Systems software is the ability to do a lot more with less time and personnel. “We were able to remove 2-3 full time employees’ amount of work,” states, Jay Sheldon Wesley, Manager of Procurement when discussing the impact of eBid Systems.

MDC has also seen a consistent growth in the number of bids on their solicitations since working with eBid Systems. Previously, 32% of their projects were single-sourced having received only one bid. By contrast, less than 5% of projects are single-sourced and over 76% of their projects receive three bids or more. As a result, costs are lower as existing suppliers had to adjust their prices to stay competitive. In addition, MDC has seen an increase in prime contract participation of Minority Business Enterprises (MBE) and Women Business Enterprises (WBE). Specifically, MBE participation rose from 5.2% to 9.2% and WBE participation rose from 6% to 16%.

With MDC set to expend more than $1 billion in the next several years to improve the area’s water quality and reinforce its infrastructure against storm events, eBid Systems will continue play an integral part of their organization, ensuring fairness and transparency for all of its 2,500 vendors.