COMMBUYS is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ state-of-the-art electronic Market Center supporting online commerce between government purchasers and business. COMMBUYS is a tool that supports government modernization, strengthening the public sector’s buying power, expanding market opportunities for vendors, consolidating purchasing of goods and services with online bid management, and linking purchasing with payment to streamline business and enabling data collection and analysis to drive meaningful business decision-making.
COMMBUYS Enhancements – September 2015
The Operational Services Division (OSD) is pleased to announce the implementation of a number of COMMBUYS enhancements that will improve the user experience. Here’s a quick look at the newest COMMBUYS enhancements, along with associated training resources:
- Open and Rolling Enrollments – Flexibility to set up bids that may be opened periodically to allow new bidders to submit responses or permit the bid to stay open to enable vendor enrollment on an ongoing basis. Buyers will indicate whether a bid will have an open or rolling enrollment by selecting the appropriate option on the bid’s General tab. Sign up to attend our webinar on this topic .
- Grant-specific UNSPSC code – A dedicated UNSPSC commodity code for Grants enables Grantor organizations to clearly identify their bid posting as a Grant opportunity, making it easy to search for Grants using COMMBUYS. Grantee Organizations should add the Grant UNSPSC code their Vendor Profiles to receive automatic Grant posting notifications. Learn more about this new feature . Locate our Grant job aids in the COMMBUYS Resource Center.
- PO Print Form Improvements – New format enables buyers to provide instructions to the vendor in a new “Special Instructions” field; accommodates the name, phone number, and email address of the purchaser; removes the text box referring to duplicate invoices; and corrects formatting so all information appears on the printed form. Details regarding use of the “Special Instructions” field have been incorporated into the COMMBUYS Requisition job aids available in the COMMBUYS Resource Center. Effective October 1st, Department Organization Administrators will be able to customize the PO print form with the organization’s logo.
- RPA Release – OSD has identified Statewide Contracts (SWCs) that, by the nature of some of the items and services offered, may necessitate entering purchases in COMMBUYS after the requested items have been acquired. As of September 14th, buyers may use a new Requisition type, RPA Release, to document these SWC purchases. Learn which SWCs are RPA Release eligible, and get updated guidance on “Open Market” RPAs and the standard PO process. Link to RPA and Purchasing Guidance from an Object Code Perspective .
- New Receiving Screens – The Receiving function in COMMBUYS enables buyers to record full or partial receipt of goods and services centrally, eliminating risk associated with tracking paper records of partial deliveries and providing accounts payable with an accurate record against which to pay vendor invoices. New Enhancements to the Receiving screen streamline the Receiving process through consolidation of a series of tabs onto one screen/tab. OSD currently is offering webinars on the Receiving function. Consult the OSD Training Schedule for webinar dates and times. Find several Receiving job aids in the COMMBUYS Resource Center.
What's Next for COMMBUYS?
Working closely with the Office of the State Comptroller, the Operational Services Division (OSD) is actively planning Phase II of the COMMBUYS rollout, an interface with the Massachusetts Management Accounting and Reporting System (MMARS). This enhancement will connect COMMBUYS with MMARS to enable a seamless process from ordering through payment.
Punch-Out Catalogs: Streamlining the Purchaser Experience
Purchasing through COMMBUYS has never been easier with online seller catalogs or Punch-Outs. After selecting your items in one of the available seller Punch-Out catalogs, selections are pulled back into COMMBUYS and summarized on your requisition.
Log in to COMMBUYS and select the shopping cart icon at the top of your navigation dashboard to get started. Select the vendor drop-down menu to display available Punch Out catalogs.
Buyers may find additional guidance for using Punch Out catalog functionality through the Punch Out Job Aid file size 1MB and by accessing the COMMBUYS Punch Out Catalog Functionality document available as an attachment in COMMBUYS under the applicable Master Blanket Purchase Order (MBPO).
Enabling Complete and On-Time Responses to Bids in COMMBUYS
OSD is encouraging buyers to include additional guidance about Bid Opening Date/Time in their RFR documents to help vendors allot sufficient time when entering their quote submissions in COMMBUYS. The suggested language is as follows:
“As you review the details of the bid in the RFR document, please take note of the assigned Bid Opening Date/Time and be mindful that buyers may only consider bid responses that are complete and have been submitted in COMMBUYS by the specified Bid Opening Date/Time.
The COMMBUYS system date and time is displayed in the top right corner of the COMMBUYS dashboard. Once the system time passes the Bid Opening Date/Time, the ability to submit a quote is disabled. Even if a vendor is in the process of entering the quote submission, their ability to submit the quote ends after the Bid Opening Date/Time has elapsed.
As such, please allow sufficient time to submit your quote submission.
The COMMBUYS Help Desk often receives a high volume of calls from vendors seeking assistance as they submit bid responses. As a best practice, purchasers should set Bid Opening Dates/Times that fall on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday with a deadline of 4:00 p.m. or earlier, periods when call volume is generally lower and Help Desk staff is able to provide the level of support sellers need.
OSD discourages assigning Friday at 5:00 p.m. as a Bid Opening Date/Time.
COMMBUYS Resource Center
Have you visited our Resource Center lately? Visitors can easily access instructional webcasts and job aids on recurring buyer activities, acquire valuable user tips file size 2MB on bid preparation, purchasing, and basic navigation, as well as find current policy information and needed forms. Pay us a visit today!
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