Jim Parker, C.P.M.
Jim Parker, C.P.M., Director of Purchasing, University of Utah, 1901 E. South Campus Dr., Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9351, (801)581-7241 (ph) (801)581-8609 (fax), firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: Public Sector bidding and contract management can be made more efficient and economical using a common sense approach to the latest developments in technology. This session will review cutting edge ideas that have been implemented by the State of Utah and the University of Utah to streamline operations and to improve information flow and analysis for suppliers, internal customers and purchasing staff.
Public entities most often have requirements for public bidding and disclosure. Although statutes and laws regulating public notice and advertising of bids and RFPs vary, the Internet has become a valuable tool in exposing the institutions needs to the supplier community and helping new and potential suppliers in understanding the bid process. The following are important:
Once the bid site is established, it will not be unusual to have other sites copy and post your institutions bid inquiries to their own sites. Although this may provide greater exposure, often these listings will not contain all the information necessary for a supplier to respond. It is important for purchasing managers to contact these sites if problems occur.
One of the greatest tools for purchasers to use in communicating contract information is via the web, Intranets or virtual private networks (VPNs). This is especially important in the public sector, where most of the time; contract information must be disseminated to a large number of users who may infrequently need to place orders against these contracts. In many institutions, catalogue and contract price information is a matter of public record.
In many public institutions, a great effort is required to disseminate contract information in paper form to users. Electronic contracts not only allow for tremendous savings of paper, but also allow for real time updates, convenient searches and often, direct tie-ins with contract suppliers.
With the advent of electronic signature laws in most states, and the growth of digital certificates, electronic contracts can often completely replace their paper counterparts from inception though negotiation and completion to distribution. It is important however to ensure that all records of prices, changes, etc. are stored in such a way as to be able to validate the method, timing and approval of any amendments.
Digital imaging of records has become the preferred method for archiving and accessing contracts and purchase orders for many organizations. The cost of implementing imaging storage solutions has continued to decrease. Recent innovations in technology have provided a number of new solutions for indexing and retrieval of these records.