The process is set in motion by one of two things:
- A Strategic Sourcing Services Team (SSST) identifies an unfulfilled need for a commodity/service; or
- An existing contract managed by that SSST is about to expire.
- Development of the Request for Response (RFR) - Once a need is determined, the SSST develops a Request for Response (RFR) document intended to communicate that need to interested businesses and solicit responses with pricing and other information. The RFR includes everything you need to know about the contract, including what is being purchased, when the bids are due, and often how much the state previously spent on the products or services being purchased.
- Publishing the RFR - Once the SSST completes the RFR, it is posted under open solicitations
on Comm-PASS and becomes available for all interested parties to download. RFRs for all statewide contracts and all Department procurements valued over $50,000 are published on the site. RFRs with a value of $50,000 or less may also be posted. OSD does not mail out copies of RFRs nor is it required to notify anyone that the RFR has been posted. If you want to be a state contractor, it is your responsibility to watch the open solicitation
postings. However, bidders may wish to be notified
of newly posted solicitations.
- Bidders' Conference/Questions and Answers - Once the RFR is released, prospective bidders are typically welcome to submit written questions. The RFR will indicate whether a bidders' conference will be held and if written questions will be accepted. In addition, the SSST may host a bidders' conference as another opportunity for prospective bidders to ask questions. The answers for all questions are generally posted to the open solicitation
. The date for a bidders' conference and the deadline for written inquiries are indicated in the procurement calendar included in the RFR.
- Evaluation of Responses - Get your response in on time! Responses submitted as little as one minute late can not be reviewed. The evaluation criteria is completed and finalized by the SSST prior to reviewing any responses. If your bid is submitted on time, the SSST members will review it and evaluate it based on the criteria for selection. During this evaluation process, bidders may be asked to clarify portions of their responses, or provide added documentation if needed. Oral presentations, samples of products and/or tours of facilities may be requested. The process of reviewing and evaluating responses sometimes takes several weeks, so please be patient!
- Contract Award - When the evaluation is completed, one or more bidders (as specified in the RFR) may be awarded a contract. The Strategic Sourcing Services Lead (SSSL) will post the results of the evaluation and a list of successful bidders on Comm-PASS. In addition, you may also be notified in writing whether you were selected. To let Commonwealth buyers know about the new contractors on statewide contracts (if the procurement was for a statewide contract), the SSST will publish a document called an "OSD Update". This document contains contractor contact information and instructions on how to use the contract.
- Individual Agency Purchasing
Although being a statewide contractor gives you an opportunity to sell to all state agencies, municipalities, authorities, etc., it does not guarantee you any business. Take advantage of your company's position as a contractor, go out, market and sell! The SSST will monitor your contractor performance and the level of customer satisfaction throughout the life of the contract.
- Contract Renewal
Once the initial term of the contract is over, the SSST may have the option for renewals. The RFR defines the initial contract duration as well as options to renew. It may also indicate whether new vendors may be added throughout the course of the contract duration. Renewals are not guaranteed and usually depend on contractor performance. In certain cases, if the original RFR provides for it, in addition to renewing the contract with all or some of the current contractors, the SSST may also open the RFR for new contractors if the need for additional capacity is determined.
If you would like more detailed information about the state procurement process, please refer to the Commonwealth's Procurement Information Center.