I have now been in my role at the University for approximately 18 months having landed at an organisation barren of an e-tendering system.
The University of Gloucestershire have an annual non-pay spend for goods, works and services of approximately £25m passing through its purchase to pay system. The University have a devolved procurement structure with the various business units procuring their requirements with the support and guidance of myself and 0.25 of an assistant. This worked well for regular requirements but became a challenging process to manage when it came to conducting and administrating OJEU level processes and those that were openly tendered.
Having had previous experience of conducting procurement processes through an e-tendering portal I was aware of the advantages that such a system added to the process and encountered little resistance when presenting the business case for the purchase of the system.
After evaluation of a number of systems on the market the University selected the In-Tend system on the basis that it was the lowest cost system that provided all of the required functionality. We found implementation of the system smooth and training flexible but thorough.
The system has been live since early Summer 2016 and we have now successfully conducted a number of procurement processes through it. We have 263 registered suppliers who all appear to have had no problem registering or submitting their tenders, except one who left it to the last moment to submit their tender and got in a bit of a flap. We have encountered one critical technical problem where the system did not publish the OJEU contract notice when it indicated that it had. This became apparent when the usual confirmation e-mails from OJEU failed to arrive. Once identified as an issue the In-Tend Technical Support Desk quickly identified the issue and rectified it.
Since implementation the system has lived up to expectations in delivering:
- Significant reductions in terms of the staff resources required to conduct competitive tendering processes – both the University and suppliers
- Automated publication of contract notices on OJEU and Contracts Finder when required.
- Reduced time requirements in terms of tender periods offered to suppliers
- Reduced legal timescales for tendering
- Increased transparency and auditability – improved reporting capability
- Increased security
- An audit trail of transactions – particularly indicating if/when messages are read
- The opportunity to broaden the University’s supplier base
- Assurance of equal supplier opportunities
- Improved and simpler buyer-supplier communication
- Minimal environmental impact – reduced paper
For the future the University plans to continue to build on the number of open tender processes conducted through the system and expand the use of the system by utilizing the Quick Quote functionality more fully as the number of registered suppliers increases”.
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