Our 11-Step Procurement Process
It is the desire of NJPA to meet our Members’ procurement requirements, but it is ultimately our Members’ responsibility to interpret local purchasing laws to determine their own ability to access and participate with NJPA contracts. Our request for proposal (RFP) process is continuously being refined to meet the changing needs of our Members. The desired result is a national, competitively bid procurement and contract process that is not only valued by Members but meets or exceeds local requirements—offering exceptional products and services from nationally acclaimed Vendors.
1) RESEARCHING MEMBER NEEDS
Carried out at numerous national trade shows, we take the opportunity to not only display our current offerings, but also listen to our Members’ needs in an effort to refine our current and future product and service offerings.
2) RESEARCHING THE SOLUTIONS AVAILABLE IN THE MARKET PLACE
Constant research helps us develop the best approach for each offering. Some industries lend themselves to a manufacturer’s response because that manufacturer provides a complete industry solution through their authorized dealers. Other industries lend themselves to a distributor response because they are able to provide the most complete industry solutions through the large number of manufacturers they represent.
3) REQUESTING PERMISSION FROM THE NJPA BOARD OF DIRECTORS
After establishing the existence of both a viable need and a viable NJPA style solution to that need, permission from the NJPA Board of Directors is sought and must be granted to officially begin the development of the solicitation and overall procurement process.
4) DRAFTING AND ADVERTISING A RFP
Our solicitation document is our cornerstone of cooperative contract purchasing. The consistency of that solicitation document, its response forms and evaluation criteria are some of our greatest assets. NJPA advertises each RFP:
- For at least two consecutive weeks in the Star Tribune
- For at least two weeks in Daily Journal of Commerce within the State of Oregon (http://djcoregon.com/)
- On the NJPA website
- On NoticeToBidders.com and on other appropriate e-commerce sites such as BidSync and Onvia
- We notify the state level procurement departments in each state for possible re-posting of the solicitation within their systems and at their option
5) RECEIVING BIDDERS’ RESPONSES
Bids are time and date stamped when receive in our Staples, MN office. They are opened and read aloud at a time, date, and place specified in the RFP.
6) EVALUATING BIDDERS’ RESPONSES
Evaluation begins at the bid opening by determining the “responsiveness” of each bid. “Level One Responsiveness” includes:
- Timely submission
- Properly organized
- Electronic as well as physical copies as required
- Original signatures on appropriate documents
- Verification of bidder’s liability insurance
“Level Two Responsiveness” is the evaluation of the bid response according to the evaluation criteria provided in the RFP and documented on the “Bid Evaluation” (Form G) by the Bid Evaluation Committee. Our typical RFP invites the widest possible variety of products and services within the scope of a bid. Our intention is to create a contract that provides the widest possible array of utility to the widest possible array of NJPA Members. We also specifically invite bidders to define their products and services not only by industry standard terms, but also in terms of the latest technological advances and its applicability and utility to our Members.
The perceived procurement value of a bid to NJPA and its Members, in the opinion of NJPA, includes but is not limited to:
- Conforming to RFP’s intent, scope and specifications
- Competitive pricing strategies
- Ability to sell and service NJPA Members nationally
- Financial strength, experience and success in the industry/marketplace
- References from past customers and prior experience with NJPA
- A clear, concise, aggressive and effective marketing plan
- Value added related products, services and technological advances
- Financing options and detailed payment terms
- Warranty, product and service responsibility
- Identifying the depth, breadth and quality of products and service offerings
Additional consideration is given to bidder’s who demonstrate “Green” and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and the ability to sell and service Canada and other international provinces.
The final evaluation is conducted using the “Bid Evaluation” form defined in the RFP. This form establishes a weighted scoring method and also provides for an optional “Cost Comparison.” This point-based system is used as a part of the final scoring and awarded Vendor determination.
7) MAKING RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE NJPA BOARD
The recommendations of the Bid Review Committee are presented to the NJPA Board of Directors for final review and possible award. The NJPA Board has the final authority to issue or deny a procurement contract.
8) AWARDING VENDOR(S)
Upon approval by the NJPA Board, the recommended Vendor is awarded a four-year contract with NJPA and is subject to annual renewals. The Contract Manager and/or the Director of Contracts and Marketing welcome the new Vendor to NJPA.
9) POSTING APPROVED CONTRACT DOCUMENTS
A complete procurement file is organized and posted on our website, offering the applicable evaluation, contract and solicitation documents where they can be reviewed by our Members.
10) DEVELOPING AND IMPLEMENTING A JOINT MARKETING PLAN WITH AWARDED VENDORS
NJPA works with both the Vendor and Member to educate people about the benefits and uses of an awarded contract. We work with the awarded Vendor(s) to educate and energize their sales and service teams.
We advertise our awarded contracts in selected national publications, produce a full-color, hard copy “Contract Directory” and maintain a website offering of the contract opportunities. NJPA exhibits with Vendor partners in numerous national trade shows and provides break-out meetings presenting information at those trade shows on contract purchasing and cooperative opportunities available through NJPA.
11) REVIEWING AND MAINTAINING OUR CONTRACT THROUGHOUT ITS TERM
Contracts are reviewed annually for their effectiveness. NJPA contracts are written with four-year terms and subject to annual renewals based on those reviews. As a result, NJPA provides a simple, structured, well-documented procurement contract in an effort to create a seamless process for all of its Member procurement needs. It is important to stress that NJPA does not eliminate Member responsibility for following the bid process, but rather, provides a nationally pre-competed option, so as not to duplicate the formal bid process.