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 solicited 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) IDENTIFYING MEMBER NEEDS
NJPA pursues member participation and conducts research through our member advisory committees, which are represented by various verticals, at numerous national trade shows, and through daily member interaction.
2) RESEARCH SOLUTIONS AVAILABLE IN THE MARKETPLACE
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) REQUEST PERMISSION FROM THE NJPA BOARD OF DIRECTORS
After establishing the existence of both a viable need and a viable NJPA style solution, permission from the publicly elected NJPA Board of Directors is sought and must be granted to officially begin the development of the solicitation and overall procurement process.
4) DRAFT A SOLICITATION, PUBLIC ADVERTISEMENT AND NOTICE
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:
5) CONDUCT A PRE-PROPOSAL CONFERENCE FOLLOWED BY RECEIPT OF RESPONSES
Proposers are typically given 5-6 weeks from the start of the RFP advertisement to respond to the RFP. A Pre-Proposal Conference is conducted to answer questions. An addendum may also be issued if there are any items covered beyond RFP content clarifications in the conference, and if such items are deemed material by NJPA. NJPA uses an atomic clock to electronically time and date stamp all Proposals immediately upon receipt in NJPA’s Staples, MN office. Proposals are opened by a Contracts and Compliance Department employee at the time, date and place specified in the RFP.
6) EVALUATING PROPOSERS’ RESPONSES
Evaluation begins at the proposal opening by determining the “responsiveness” of each proposal. “Level One Responsiveness” includes:
- Timely submission
- Properly organized
- Electronic as well as physical copies as required
- Original signatures on appropriate documents
- Verification of proposer’s liability insurance
“Level Two Responsiveness” is the evaluation of the proposal response according to the evaluation criteria provided in the RFP and documented on the “Proposal Evaluation” (Form G) by the Proposal Evaluation Committee. Our typical RFP invites the widest possible variety of products and services within the scope of a proposal. 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 proposers 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 proposal 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 proposer’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 “Proposal 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) PROVIDE RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE CHIEF PROCUREMENT OFFICER (CPO)
Recommendations of the evaluation committee are presented to the CPO for final review and possible award. The CPO has the final authority to issue or deny a procurement contract.
8) AWARDING VENDOR(S)
Upon approval by the CPO, the recommended vendor is awarded a four-year contract term with one additional one-year renewal at the discretion of NJPA. The Contracts and Compliance Department emails Notices of Award and Non-Award to vendors.
9) POSTING APPROVED CONTRACT DOCUMENTS
A complete procurement file is maintained by NJPA, and contract documentation is posted on our website for review by our members.
10) DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT A JOINT MARKETING PLAN WITH AWARDED VENDOR(S)
NJPA works with both the vendor and member to educate on the benefits and uses of an awarded contract. We work with the awarded vendor(s) to educate and energize their sales and service teams. NJPA advertises awarded contracts in select national publications; produces a full-color, hard copy “Contract Directory”; maintains a website offering of the contract solutions; exhibits with vendor partners in numerous national and regional trade shows; and provides break-out meetings at trade shows.
11) REVIEW AND MAINTAIN OUR CONTRACT THROUGHOUT ITS TERM
Contracts are periodically reviewed for their effectiveness. NJPA contracts are written with four-year terms with a fifth year option at NJPA’s discretion. NJPA does not eliminate member responsibility for following the solicitation process; rather, we provide a nationally pre-competed option to avoid duplicating the formal solicitation process.