Transforming Procurement for Commercial Property

Jan 29, 2015 by Tim Schmidt

This year we implemented eBid eXchange for a number of property management companies including NAI Merin Hunter Codman. As a result of the success of that project, we were invited to participate in the NAI National Conference next week in Las Vegas.
At the conference, we will be showcasing how eBid eXchange transformed the procurement process for NAI affiliate Merin Hunter Codman. In this blog post, I’d like to share with you some of the highlights.

When Merin Hunter Codman first approached us, they were looking for a way to streamline the process of getting bids from suppliers. While management was confident that individual property managers were doing an adequate job of bidding projects, they worried the process was inefficient, inconsistently applied, and that there was only minimal collaboration between property managers. There was a lack of management visibility in the bidding process and few tools to ensure supplier contract compliance. As we noted in our previous post, The Case For and Against Procurement Centralization, these are common challenges for property managers without centralized procurement groups.

The first step was to create a central repository for all vendor information so that all staff could access key vendor information, including supplier performance, when making contract decisions. The central database let all property managers share information about preferred vendors and which ones to avoid. Backend tools helped staff to review vendor applications and onboard new suppliers more quickly.

The next phase of the project was to implement Advanced Sourcing to provide greater visibility for management and building owner clients into bidding supplier contracts. All new contracts start with the posting of a solicitation that is sent to a minimum number of qualified suppliers. Suppliers can review the same information, including answers to all vendor questions, and download any type of document including project specifications, building plans, and other related documents. Vendors submit bids directly into the system and bids are automatically tabulated and compared. A series of reports can be sent to building owners that includes information about the bidding process, results, and recommendations. To ensure consistency and save staff time, a series of templates were created that serve as a starting point for common types of procurements like janitorial services, landscaping, and office improvements.

In addition to streamlining the bidding and award process, Merin Hunter Codman uses eBid eXchange to ensure supplier contract compliance. Property managers upload copies of executed contracts into the central database and record key information like start and end dates, insurance expiration dates, and milestones or tasks. The system reminds staff and vendors when deadlines are approaching to make sure the contract stays in compliance.

And finally, reporting tools let management quickly verify that company standards are followed, that all contracts are being property completed, and that customers are getting the best services for the best value. You can read more about this project or others on our case studies page.