Users of statewide contracts are encouraged to maximize the use of statewide contracts by becoming an educated purchaser. It is important that, as a purchaser, you understand what is required from the contractor and where you have flexibility to negotiate within the contract specifications. Under any scenario, purchasers should consider the following best practices when using an established statewide contract:
Assess Your Needs – Prior to seeking quotes from contractors, all purchasers should assess their need for a specific commodity or service based on a variety of factors. For example, statewide contracts may include language that offers more competitive pricing for higher volume purchases. In addition, statewide contracts included environmentally preferable products that have been vetted by the Environmentally Preferable Products Procurement Program.You may therefore wish to contact the Operational Services Division (OSD), other departments, cities or towns to identify similar purchasing needs and, if they exist, aggregate your joint purchase.
Familiarize yourself with the Statewide Contract – It is the responsibility of each purchaser to understand what is and is not available from each statewide contract. The simplest way to access contract information is by reading the most recent Contract User Guide(s). Contract User Guide(s) contain guidance and relevant information for using contracts effectively, identify current and new contractors, and/or detail performance reporting which may impact your decision. Follow the link for all current OSD Contract User Guides.
Take Advantage of Prompt Payment Discounts – Most of OSD's statewide contracts contain prompt payment discount (PPD) terms available to all eligible entities using the statewide contracts. All discounts offered can be taken in cases where the payment date is within the number of days specified in specific Contract User Guides and in MMARS and in accordance with the Commonwealth's Bill Paying Policy-and General Payment Policies, available on the Comptroller's website. The turn-around-time for payments is measured from a) date services were rendered or goods were received or b) receipt of a valid invoice, whichever is later. When a statewide contract includes PPD terms, all departments and eligible entities are required to pay their bills as quickly as possible to take advantage of this opportunity to generate savings. OSD has standardized the prompt payment discount terms on all statewide contracts, requiring that bidders submit their discounts based on a 10 day, 15 day, 20 day and 30 day turnaround for payment.
Negotiate – Many statewide contracts contain rates that represent the ceiling or the highest rates that can be charged to the Commonwealth. Departments often have a choice of contractors on statewide contracts from which to select, with a range of rates, added-value features and prompt payment discount options. Departments are strongly encouraged and, depending on the guidance contained in the Contract User Guide(s), may be required to request quotes from at least three qualified contractors. These contractors should be provided with specifications or a statement of work clearly stating what is needed in order to see what "best value" can be negotiated for the situation.
Document – While OSD is responsible for maintaining the procurement file for statewide contracts relating to the competitive bid process and ongoing contract management, each purchaser is responsible for maintaining documentation of its transactions and experiences using statewide contractors. Documentation includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Pre-planning documents, including activities related to contractor selection and negotiation. Use the Purchase Order for Commodities and/or Services (or its equivalent) or other contract-specific forms.
- Copies of all invoices, including rejected invoices and notices to contractors with an explanation for each return.
- An accounting of all payments made.
- Copies of written notices, faxes and other correspondence with the contractor.
- An agreement documenting the receivables and deliverables within a statement of work, including information related to any service disputes, any complaints, and their respective resolutions.
- Any reports submitted by the contractor.
- Any other relevant information about the contractor and its performance.
Communicate with OSD – If you think you can get a better deal from a company that is not on statewide contract, please let us know. Statewide contractors want to be competitive and are often motivated to either meet or beat a competitor's offer. Also, let OSD know if you are planning a large purchase. OSD can often consolidate demand and leverage volume to obtain more attractive pricing. If, after finding that none of the statewide contracts meet your needs, a waiver request through OSD’s Track-It system may be submitted by sending an E-mail to the State Purchasing Agent at PurchasingAgentOSD@MassMail.State.MA.US requesting a waiver and providing justification for not using the statewide contract. Waiver request through Track-it only applies to Executive Branch departments that are required to use statewide contract.
We WANT to hear about your experiences using the statewide contracts! Any comments and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated to help OSD enhance and improve the current statewide contracts. Comments and/or suggestions about your experience using a statewide contract should be directed to the appropriate Strategic Sourcing Lead: