Project bidding goes online


By ERIN MILLER

Stephens Media Hawaii

Hawaii County has a new way for vendors to bid on county projects.

The county on Monday launched a partnership with e-procurement company Public Purchase, which allows vendors to bid online for county projects, and forwards the bid information, in a variety of formats, to the county’s Purchasing Division, Purchasing Agent Jeff Dansdill said Thursday.

So far, the transition has gone smoothly, he said.

“We’re very pleased with how everything is going,” Dansdill added. Vendors “seem open to it and willing. I haven’t heard any negative feedback.”

The goal of moving to online bidding is twofold.

“We’re trying to increase our vendor pool,” Dansdill said. “Hopefully, we’ll have more vendors responding and more competitive pricing.”

Last year, the county solicited bids for 141 formal requests for bids and requests for proposals, he said. Those are for projects expected to cost $25,000 or more.

A bonus effect, he added, would be if getting the bids submitted online streamlines the process by which his staff reviews submissions.

While he would prefer all vendors to sign up for the new system, he said his office is willing to talk with vendors who feel the online procurement registration and notification system might create a hardship for them or their businesses.

Public Purchase is a relatively “mature” software, Dansdill said. Municipalities around the country have been using it since 2006.

Registering as a vendor is a two-step process. First, vendors must go to publicpurchase.com/gems/register/vendor/register and create an account. Two options exist, one that costs about $400 and one that is free. County officials said vendors do not need to purchase the costlier option, which is not required to receive notifications and submit quotes and bids for Hawaii County projects.

Within 24 hours of creating an account, Public Purchase will send an email notification. Then, the vendor must go to publicpurchase.com and accept the terms and conditions of use. Next, the vendor clicks on publicpurchase.com/gems/hawaiico.hi/buyer/public/home and selects the NIGP Commodity Codes for the goods and services the business provides. Without completing this second registration step, the vendor will not receive notifications of upcoming bid and quote opportunities.

Vendors with questions may contact Dansdill at 961-8440 or jdansdill@hawaiicounty.gov.

Email Erin Miller at emiller@westhawaiitoday.com.

 

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